The Hazards of Weekends at the Gym

I have a membership at a gym. I think we used to call them health clubs, and maybe we still do. Mine is called a gym, however, but it’s still a health club, at least as far as I can tell. I try to get there 3-4 times a week, usually on weekdays, but sometimes on the weekends.

Weekends at my gym are different than weekdays, at least at the times I go–always at some point during the day, as opposed to in the evening. The first thing I notice about the weekends that makes them different is that there are more men. That makes sense. Most men have day jobs, so can only get to the gym when their jobs don’t demand that they be at work.

OK–so more men at the gym. That means more of the machines being used and definitely more free weights being lifted. Women seem more attracted to various classes–yoga, step, cardio, body sculpting, but men like the machines and they like to lift weights. Nothing wrong with that, of course, and we’d all rather see men that are physically fit, so it’s good that so many are at the gym.

I have just one complaint, however. Men make a lot of noise. Not the kind that women make–that is mostly chatter, although at my gym not too many women get into chatting. Women at my gym seem to be on solo missions and don’t stop to speak, let alone chat.

The kind of noise that men make is in the form of grunts and groans. What I want to know is, is this necessary? Do they need this vocal reinforcement to their effort to be sure to get the last ounce of power summoned and applied? Heaven help us if this is the case. Women don’t grunt and groan. It seems more likely that the men want to call attention to their self-assessed super human strength and that these are supposed to be animal noises–you know, the calls of the wild–supposedly calling attention to the fittest and strongest. This doesn’t work for me. Maybe I’m not wild. It makes me think men are showing off, but in a way that makes them look–rather, sound–a bit ridiculous.

From what I hear, all the grunting and groaning is more than slightly overdone. I hate to say what it really sounds like–and the visions that it conjures up are ones I’d rather not consider. It sounds nearly obscene. I know what you’re thinking about the location of my mind at this point, but let me just say that my mind is not what started this.

I think men may like the sound of groaning especially. In a past life I was married and whenever my husband took to his bed, suffering from something as serious as a cold, he groaned. I mean he really went at it, and the groans became moans. I wouldn’t have believed it had I heard about it second hand, but there I was, witnessing a grown man, lying in bed with a common cold and moaning as if the next breath would be his last. I had to leave the room.

When I hear a man grunting and groaning at the gym, I try to get as far away from him as possible, try not to grind my teeth, and then I plug in my headphones to whatever alternative noise I can find on my radio. I’d even take rap music over grunts and groans, and that is saying a lot.

So, is there any hope for improving this situation? Maybe I should ask a man. Well, I did that and of course he didn’t see, or couldn’t hear, the problem. Did you know that hearing loss is more prevalent in men than in women and that noticeable differences between the genders is seen as early as age 18? That may be the best explanation I can find, and given that, the answer to the improving-the-noise-on-weekends-at-the-gym question is most likely ‘no.’ Guess who’s groaning now.

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