I love working out. If I’ve had a bad day, if I’m upset about something retarded or if I’ve just had one too many cookies, then there’s really nothing more I like to do than changing into workout gear and hitting the gym. It’s such a huge part of my routine, that I don’t know what I’d do if there wasn’t one around.
To be fair, the girls gym at LUMS is pretty equivalent to there not being one at all. To my despair, the equipment is old and creaky, there is just ONE treadmill that’s been around for a while and has scars to prove it, and there’s really not much else it has to offer. It’s a far cry from the facilities of Fitness First but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. The summer is an especially bad time to go to the gym here, its stuffy and moldy and it definitely tests my lung capacity but thats still not the worse part of it all. What I hate and absolutely CANNOT stand are the AUNTIES that descend upon the tiny, under-equipped gym, dressed in their shalwar kameeses, which they see as perfectly acceptable workout gear. Dupattas fluttering by, they’ll hog the treadmill in an effort to lose the post-natal flab they put on about a decade ago, not realising that chappals and flip-flops are actually not effective footwear for the gym!
They’ll stroll on the treadmill for a handful of minutes, huffing and puffing, holding on to the sidebars as if their lives depended on it. Clearly no one’s ever told them that letting go of the sidebars and using your arms actually helps burn 30% more fat, and no, walking at the same pace as a languishing tortoise does NOT count as ‘brisk walking’, aunty jee. And can someone please tell me how it helps to bring your kids along to the gym? All they do is run around as if on steroids, shrieking and shouting, being annoying little brats and fiddling with the equipment while their mothers ignore them. You go to the gym to focus on yourself and work on getting better, and when there are little pip squeaks all over the place, all I can focus on is resisting the urge to strangle them. Not only is it irritating for everyone else, it’s also pretty stupid, considering the lack of safety involved but honestly, that was the last thing on my mind the other day when there was this little 4-year old girl at the gym with her mommy. There I was, out of breath and just off the treadmill, about to stretch my quads and suddenly this THING appears right next to me out of nowhere and wouldn’t move! I was accidentally about to kick her (or at least, I would have called it an accident LATER) because it was as if one of the girls from ‘The Shining’ randomly turned up next to me!
Completely exhausted from their 5-minute routine on the treadmill, they’ll fall on the floor mat as if they’ve just run a marathon…twice. I’ve even seen some that don’t bother with the walking at all and just come to the gym to fling down on the mats and start doing crunches like crazy, as if they get paid a dollar for every single one they do. I’ve always wanted to make them stop, give them a good shake and tell them there is NO SUCH THING as spot reduction! The belly flab you have for the past 15 years after having 4 kids is NOT going to go away only if you keep doing sit ups! It’s especially not going to work when your technique is all wrong and no, the point is not to lift your neck up, its to list your abdomen. Yet they’ll go on nonetheless, all the while complaining and whining about how its just SO hard to lose the tummy and, oh my god, you MUST try out this new recipe for butter chicken that I found on Masala TV.
Oh and let’s not forget the ‘stretching’ some of them like to do. Self-proclaimed Jane Fondas, these hefty aunties will come to the gym all pumped up with adrenaline (or parathas) and start moving about in strange ways that would probably even surprise the cast of Cirque du Soleil. Thy’ll raise their arms, only to drop them again ath the blink of an eye, and repeat the sequence over and over again, mixing in a little windmill movement here and there. Yes, because acting like an air-traffic controller will definitely help tone your arms better than a few sets of bicep curls and tricep dips, right? Apparently so, because these aunties go wild with his thing, and with the loud palette of their shalwar kameeses, even the neon jackets of actual air traffic controllers pale in comparison.
What’s even funnier than aunties at the gym are aunties trying to do aerobics! I agree, some of them can give Shakira a run for her money but that ould be the mod-squad yummy mummies who have too much cash to burn and time to spare with their kids at boarding school. What I am talking about are the PROPER aunties, the ones who squawk over paying 15 rupees per kilo for aaloo and who rummage around in their outdated bags for all the coins to get rid of while at the cash counter, and of course the ones who think they live for the sole purpose of fixing up Shaheena’s cousin’s daughter with Ghazala’s green-card-holding brother-in-law’s daughter’s friend’s neighbour. These aunties are a laugh and a half when it comes to synchronised exercise, feet stomping and hands flailing, they’ll think they’re doing it just right when in fact, they missed every beat and oh yea, the song ended about a minute ago.
Maybe I am being a bit harsh, but I have suffered silently for far too long. This ends now! No longer shall I remain silent, waiting for the treadmill to be free, while the aunty on it dilly-dallies on it while talking to her husband’s sister on the phone about last night’s episode of Malaal. No longer will I just watch and wince while so many of them cramp their necks and injure their back muscles while doing rapid-fire crunches. No longer will I simply shake my head and wish I were at my old gym again when I see a herd of aunties trying to do whacked-out acrobatic moves because they heard from someone’s someone that it really helps. Last but not least, next time there’s a kid at the gym or even a suspicious looking youthful midget, I am so going to tell it to go play outside!