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7 Thoughts You Have at the Gym When You’re Not Athletic

For girls like me who’d rather spend an afternoon napping than jogging, going to the gym is an experience in itself. When we swipe our ID and try to remember where the equipment room is, we sweat for an entirely different reason than most of the people there. Here’s what goes through the mind of a not-so-athletic person when they step into the gym…

1. Where the heck am I?

When you don’t frequent your school’s workout facilities, you just don’t get used to the building layout. Sweaty guys and girls in intimidatingly good-looking workout outfits pass you on the stairs as you peek around the gym, just trying to spot a treadmill or bike. Finding your way to the right room is half the battle.

2. Why aren’t there any open machines?

You expected at least a couple open workout machines in the corner, hidden away so people wouldn’t be watching as you took a water break every 3 minutes. You’re about to leave and attempt to find the indoor track when you spot a girl stepping off of her elliptical. You try to not be awkward as you walk over and claim it, ready to do this.

3. How does this work?

You finally made it to a machine, and now you’re even more lost. What do all of these buttons mean? What’s the difference between incline and hills? Most importantly, where’s the start button? You think everyone is staring at you and judging your lack of fitness machine expertise, so you just press a somewhat-green button and feel your legs start to move below you.

4. I don’t think I can do this.

You’re only a mere 6 minutes and 33 seconds into your workout (as the annoying timer has told you) when you already feel the need to take a breather. You slow down and chug some water, in awe of the person next to you, who hasn’t stopped yet. Your goal is 30 minutes, but at this point you might only make it 10.

5. Maybe I’m athletic after all!

At this point, you’ve made it a full 15 minutes without collapsing, so you reconsider your athletic achievements. You decide to carve out a few afternoons a week to continue your newfound workout regimen. You ponder this new lifestyle for just over 45 seconds until you get a cramp.

6. Al…most…there…

The timer tells you that you can make it, but your heart rate tells you differently. As you push through those last few minutes, you catch a glimpse of your reflection and decide you can never go to a public gym again. Maybe you’ll become one of those people that runs by scenic paths, or does yoga in their living room. This public exercise life is not for you. You decide to stop at somewhere during the 29-minute mark because that last 30 seconds might kill you. You’re ready for the couch:

7. I feel great! 

As much as we’d like to deny that working out makes us feel amazing, even us non-athletes can’t hate on endorphins. We glide home to our comfortable beds feeling that chill of burned calories on our thighs, happy as a clam. We ignore the fact that we only feel this way because we went to the gym, and we’ll forget it as soon as we press play on our Netflix screen.

What can we say? Working out isn’t for everyone. 

Meredith is a senior completing a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in Communication Arts and Gender & Women's Studies with a certificate in Digital Studies. She moonlights as a freelance portrait photographer, and you can find her work at meredithmariephotography.com.
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