Build your body, not your biceps

By Ruth Davenport

OK, so Christmas is over and New Year’s has come and gone. The turkey’s history, the chocolate boxes are empty, the fridge is bare. And you aren’t fitting quite as sleekly into your Gap khakis, are you?

Time to declare war on the love handles. With sedentary days and calorie-laden goodies a distant memory, the populace gazes mournfully at their expanded behinds and firmly makes the annual resolve to hit the gym. Fitness apparel retailers smack their lips and personal trainers gleefully prepare to reap the benefits of the collective holiday-induced interest in "healthy living."

For regular gym-goers, there’s little to do but grit one’s teeth and look forward to February when all the earnest post-Christmas fitness converts realize that New Year’s resolutions are dumb. During this period, tensions in the gym run high and many a neophyte finds themself the victim of dumbbell beatings and treadmill trippings as veterans of the pant’n’puff jungle make it clear that this is not a place for the faint-hearted or frivolous. The key to safe negotiation of this critical time? Just don’t become a gym bimbo.

The road to becoming a non-bimbo (refers to both genders) is short, simple and can be safely negotiated in a minimal number of steps. The first of these is to reconcile oneself to a complete lack of regard for appearance. It’s difficult in a place where the walls are made of mirrors that draw narcissists to their reflections like moths to a flame, but bear in mind that this is a place of sweat. Makeup? Carefully styled hair? Cute outfits and overtly macho pants? Doomed to failure. Wear any of these to a gym and you’ll come out looking like a Picasso fingerpainting in a rainstorm. By virtue of being in a place of physical exertion, attempting to preserve a civilized appearance during a "real" workout is an exercise in only one thing and that’s futility.

Now that you’re messy, get educated. Gym bimbos can be easily spotted in any gym as the ones compulsively doing bicep curls. Why? They don’t know how to do anything else, that’s why! This problem could be rectified by a quick chat with the fitness instructors, but gym bimbos believe that information is for weenies. Balanced workouts? Reduced risk of injury? All concepts for weaker, more enlightened cavemen. You’d think it would be a safe bet that no one wants to deal with structural lordoses or shoulder girdle imbalances, but suggest to a gym bimbo that they try a calf raise and they’ll behave as though you’ve suggested embroidering without a hoop or something equally ludicrous. Don’t get suckered into this brawn-for-brains mentality.

Final step? Kick your cell phone dependency and leave it in your locker. Who is so important that they need to talk to you when you’re panting like a constipated Labrador? Bringing a phone into the gym is risking serious injury. Apart from the fact that gym bimbos uselessly monopolize whatever equipment they’re using while they yap, cell phones are distracting and annoying to other excercisers. Cell phones that make it to the gym too often invariably end up in a location requiring the services of a very specialized surgeon for retrieval. If you’re lucky, it might be on vibrate… then again, it might not.

So here you are: messy, prepared, educated and with nothing to distract you from taking the gym by storm. You’re a non-bimbo on a mission and other gym users will welcome you to the environment as a bonafide fitness enthusiast committed to obtaining the maximum physical benefit from your time on the Nautilus. Congratulations. All you need to do is find some motivational music, slip on your headphones, take aim and kiss your candy-cane’n’chocolate-inflated ass goodbye.

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