I admit there’s one part of the gym experience with which I have no experience: aerobics classes. I’ve always figured that my own training is far more intense than whatever workout the instructor regresses to the mean. I’d also rather control my own pace and intervals of rest. Regardless, I do spend a great deal of time in the aerobics room – the mirrors and wood floor create the perfect environment for jumping rope. And whenever I jump rope prior to the start of an aerobics class, I am a witness to some incredibly bizarre behavior.
First of all, many members turn their aerobics class into a major half-day activity. People start showing up nearly two hours early to reserve their favorite spots on the floor, marking their territory with the full aerobics complement of step, weights and mat. The scene begins to resemble the unwashed crowd waiting outside early on Black Friday morning. One woman sits atop her step with a book; another naps along her mat. I’m sure that soon someone will whip out a portable stove top and begin cooking breakfast.
I can only assume that the line of sight to the instructor or to the mirror is the cornerstone of the entire enterprise. I have watched one woman on several occasions move her aerobics gear as close to the front of the room as possible – where I happened to be swinging a thin plastic tube at multiple revolutions per second. Even as my rope is smacking against her step, she continues in oblivion to load the rest of her gear into position. When she comes back for her class an hour later, her equipment is mysteriously touching the back wall.
This morning, I watched the level of aerobics egocentrism reach a new high. A guy setting up his station decided that the aerobics room dumbbells weren’t heavy enough for him. So he went out to the regular gym dumbbell rack, helped himself to the pair of 20s and 25s, and walked them back to his station. These community dumbbells, useful for bicep curls, forearm work and shoulder laterals, began collecting dust on the floor of the aerobics room – an hour before the class even started.