Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Comments redux

Let me say right off that I love the gym I go to. It's relatively small, rarely crowded, and pretty friendly to women. After a long day like today (at work from 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM), it's really helpful to get sweaty while reading a fashion/fitness/gossip magazine.

Today, though, I noticed something. In a re
cent issue of Shape, the two "success" stories both included anecdotes about nasty comments. The first woman was told by a snooty salesperson that she was "already wearing the largest size the store made," and was so devastated by the thought of shopping in a plus-size store that she decided to change her ways. The second woman went to a family reunion, only to have her grandfather-in-law say that he "couldn't fit his arms around her" after he hugged her. In front of the rest of the family.

I'm not bitching about the magazines themselves. If I really didn't like them, I wouldn't read them. Weight-loss stories can be inspiring for people who are trying to improve their health (although I wish the focus was actually on health rather than weight loss). But the point is that these women were shamed into losing weight - one by a person who had no business passing judgment and one by a family
member. Thing is, shame is not an effective weight-loss method.
This is a slow loris. Why? Because this post is long and I like primates.

Something else happened at the gym today. I was well into some cardio on the bike a when I finished my magazine. I took a break and went to find another, trashier if possible. As I looked over the selection, a trainer drew me into a conversation about why people get personal trainers. I replied with a polite smile and nod.

Then he said, "You know, if you're doing cardio correctly you shouldn't be able to read."

I gave him my sweetest, fakest smile and said "I know." But once I got back to my bike I was too angry and upset to go on.

I tried to think about why I was so angry, and I talked to Jim about it to get his perspective. First, I know he is probably a nice person and just wanted to give me some advice. Second, I really think you can use cardio machines correctly and manage to read, say, People. Also I was literally dripping sweat when he said that to me - do I look like I'm doin' it wrong? And finally, as Jim pointed out, a lot of personal trainers think everyone (I would say every woman) has the same goal - to thinner. The guy had no idea why I was there (to get sweaty and read a bad magazine), and because of that, he shouldn't have said anything.

Buddy, if I wanted your advice, I'd pay for it.


Cammy said...

I think it was an asinine comment. Sorry about that, Lisa, that deserves to be stomped out of your thoughts. And FYI I refuse to use a machine at the gym that does NOT let me balance a book.

ola said...

I think there is no correct or incorrect cardio if it doesn´t hurt you and makes it feel you good!

I´ve read like 1/3 my books on exercise bike, obsessing -definitely not good cardio; my mum reads newspaper and cycles just 10 or 15 minutes every morning and she loves it -good cardio.

But I can imagine too well how I feel crappy and not fit enough etc. after comment like this.

I Hate to Weight said...

i bet the guy was just selling his services. some poor women are so insecure (me?!) that we'd immediately sign him up for multiple sessions.

sounds like you're doing a great job on your own, thank you very much!!

Sarah said...

I agree--what a stupid, thoughtless unsolicited comment. If it makes you feel any better, I plan my gym visits around my favorite Bravo shows since I don't have cable.