Things I’ve learned from going to the new gym
Published: Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Updated: Thursday, January 27, 2011 12:01
Hi, you might recognize me. I'm that kid whose New Year's resolution was to start going to the gym.
There were a few thousand of us three weeks ago. Now, I'm one of the few dozen remaining.
During my short time at the newly revamped UCF Rec and Wellness Center, I've learned a lot.
For instance, gym fashion. When I first started going to the gym, I wore an old UCF giveaway T-shirt and a ball cap. Boy, was I out of place.
I quickly learned that it's all about the sleeveless look. There's an art to cutting the sleeves off your T-shirt. I'm not a master yet, but it involves just enough from the sides to show your lower ribcage, and just enough from the front to show a little bit of nipple.
Greek letters on the front of your shirt are a must. It's important to establish your fraternity's presence in gym, just in case some other fraternity thinks yours is soft.
For girls, don't even bother using the upstairs treadmills unless you've got enough makeup on to double as an aXis Magazine model. Remember, the gym is more than just a place to work out; it's a place to look hot.
I've also learned how important it is to stare at yourself in the mirror when curling.
Pull the bench as close to the mirror as possible, grunt loudly so everyone can see how much weight you're lifting, and practice your curl poses as often as possible.
As for curling, it's by far the most important exercise at the gym. Some people use the squat rack to squat. Those people are wrong. The squat rack is for curls. Curls get girls.
I learned that the gym, despite blaring Top 40 radio all day, respects quiet time.
One day while deadlifting, a helpful gym attendant informed me I was making too much noise. I respect all my fellow gym-goers who were reading books or studying calculus while weightlifting, so I stopped my exercise.
Gym attendants are always there to help. When a machine breaks, they make it their first priority to fix the problem. One of the assisted chin-up machines broke last week and it only took the staff eight days to get it back in working order. Talk about efficiency!
The employees also warned me of the dangers of overhead pressing. Forget benching with a thumbless grip, or dumbbell Olympic lifts in the middle of a crowd, or leg presses in the Smith machine. The overhead press is clearly the most dangerous weight lift around, and we're fortunate that the gym has outlawed the exercise altogether. Just another instance of UCF looking out for our safety.
Speaking of safety, proper weight-lifting form is mostly unnecessary. Angrily jerk your back on most lifts, and make sure your buddy spots you more than 50 percent of the weight. A key tenet of weightlifting is not to settle for what you're actually strong enough to lift, but to cheat in order to lift a weight clearly outside your ability.
With all the wisdom I've gained in less than a month at the gym, I leave you with some parting tips:
Use machines as often as possible. Carry your protein powder everywhere. Never wipe down your weights when finished.
And most importantly, call everyone "bro."