Friday Funnies – Why Do People Grunt at the Gym?

gymKEEPING FIT IS  VERY MUCH on my mind lately, in fact, it’s become a daily  mission. Okay.. obsession. You may have noticed from my tweets that I tend to set a daily fitness goal for myself. This can be challenging as there are chocolates to devour, there’s laundry to toil over, cat poop to scoop, research to research and that’s not even getting anywhere close to the shower or penning a post. Or plucking those evil lady mustache hair threatening to embarrass the hell out of me under the harsh light of day.

I’m in the middle of reading the  book on 50 plus fitness called ‘Younger Next Year for Women‘ and that’s where I’ll likely stay until my next long flight alone. That’s only time I’m able to sit still long enough to read. By the time I reached the middle of the book I was entertaining visions of myself convulsing with a coronary from all that creamy chocolate.

Cocoa addict that I am I naturally stepped away from the cursed book. I also vowed to religiously exercise six days a week for at least an hour or bust, how else could I justify my secret chocolate stash? I also have a thing for red wine and champagne. Cheetos too.

My attention span being mighty short, diversifying my workouts is the only way I can motivate myself to maintain my girlish figure. The workout interests come and go like the tides, lately it’s a combo of hiking, swimming, sweat-bath Bikram yoga detox and belly dancing with smatterings of rock climbing and stand-up jet skiing. Oh and choosing from a wide variety of organic dark chocolate bars helps my brains sweat.

The problem now is that I have to consider the bloody bone density issues related to menopause.

gymApparently there is no escape from weight lifting to improve bone density and unless I want my bones to end up as a pile of sawdust I can no longer ignore this cruel truth. It’s time to admit how much I abhor huffing and puffing in front of everybody at the gym. This will not be easy, I’m very hard on myself.

Plus I cannot stand the sound of red-faced people grunting and heaving around me. Grunting at the gym is somehow a sign of weakness to me.

Defeated, I pull up my pretty ankle socks and head for the grunt factory gym. As I quietly practice some lateral pull-downs my ears are accosted by the sound of a middle-aged slender, hairy man in a bright yellow jersey and white tube socks laying prone, he is rolling his calf muscle atop a foam roller and, UHH, grunting like a farm animal. Why? He’s not even exerting himself. Is he moaning along to the music on his iPod shuffle?

Moving on to the leg extension machine I’m desperately attempting to keep both my count and my mind from wandering to the numerous aural distractions. My attention is suddenly sucked in by a rail-thin older gal straining away on some mystery machine. She is counting out her reps in a whisper so loud that one can probably make it out at the bottom of the gym’s outdoor pool. Which is where I’d much rather be.

Eleven… twelve, fourteen… fifteen.. God help me, she can’t even count. Each count is, of course marked by, yes, a grunt.

Next I stretch out on my mat to suffer through sit-ups and I cannot help but be fascinated by a willowy iPod wearing twenty-ish brunette. After performing a curious routine involving squats whilst bouncing a medicine ball heavily on the floor and… you guessed it, grunting, she lays on her back and proceeds to lift up one leg at a time. Surely this cannot be as taxing as the ball bouncing but noooo-oooo, after holding her breath with each leg lift she exhales a resounding ….UUUHH!

“For the love of Pete,’ I silently beseech her, “put a sock in it, girl!”


No wonder so many folks wear iPods, it’s to drown out the sound of you-know-what. The battle of trying to make the best of my weighty gym chore is futile, the cacophony of grunts has gotten the better of me and I skulk off to get some fitness advice from the hunkiest Hawai’ian fitness instructor I have ever seen in my life.

This is sure to cheer me up.

Pleased as punch with myself at getting Hawai’i’s attention I observe closely as he demonstrates how to relieve knee tension by massaging his inner thighs on the hand rails of a treadmill. Sounds kinky, does’t it?

Following his lead I sling my leg over the hand rail and begin to move my inner thigh over it, looking for muscle knots when suddenly… AAAIIUUUHHHHH %$#&*@@##$%!!!! followed by “Sonofabitch that hurts!!!!! 

Whoops, that was yours truly. I must’ve hit a sore spot.

Feeling all eyes in the gym upon me after this megaphonic outburst of expletives and grunting I sheepishly apologize, “Um, you don’t speak French do you?”.

I’ve since switched to hiking with a 25 lb weight in my backpack to ward off brittle bones.

If a gal grunts in the forest, does anybody hear?


gymEsmée SJ