Wouldn't the gym be so much better without all the people in it?

From the gross dudes who can't tell the difference between lust and disgust to the personal space invaders, trips to the gym would be much more therapeutic, well, alone...

The gym contains a cross section of people that I'd equate with Kings Cross on a Friday night. Thin, fat, black, white, brown, chatting, silent, moaning, lean, long, lanky, petite, those carrying lots of weight and those hands free. This is both its best and worst quality, being consumed with a wide selection of Queen Mary’s student body.

I confess I am a gym bunny. I go every day because it’s become completely habitual, and drinking guilt levels rise up if I don’t. I'd say there's nothing like running until you feel sick but there is – you can sit and eat a tub of Ben and Jerry's, but where's the challenge? And as I'm very competitive – and an idiot – trying to keep up with the bloke running at 17km/h on the machine often seems plausible.

But daily the same things irk me. In a similar fashion to the library during exam season, the basic irritations of the air-conditioned dreamscape never fail to escape my notice. Sadly my observational habits are too finely tuned to dissolve. Sometimes it’s funny – those that are surprised when the PowerPlate vibrates, shocking as that may be, tickle me – the smelly men who think that one glance in their direction means they’re Ryan Gosling are temporarily amusing, and the American associate students with their socks pulled up look like they’re off to Wimbledon. Bless them. But it’s those that saunter around like they're Jessica Ennis that piss me off the most. And the blokes with weightlifting gloves on that have clearly never seen a dumbbell in their life. I mean, really? Those that read – textbooks, their Kindles (boo hiss) or magazines, I have no connection with. I just don’t understand it.

A recent experience set me off guard a bit.  I was rowing in the normal way that I do every day, on ‘my’ machine – it’s in the right place for idle I’m-bored-at-3k people watching and positioned so I can watch The Chaser (ITV, 5pm).  Following last year’s elbow-knocking incident with a hunky economist, I found my Safe Zone. Usually it’s not surrounded by anyone. But not that day. A bloke I’ve never seen before – the cheek of it! – thought he’d come and do his workout next to me. I was stressed to the max and unable to get into my zone for three kilometres before he finished up and left me in peace. Never have I been so happy to see an empty seat. The incident led me to think this week that I might be a little claustrophobic, or just a complete nutter. Either way.

The gym is a thinking place, one where I allow myself to be lulled into a comfortable pace by embarrassing iPod playlists. There’s no place for Death Cab in the gym, it’s the dregs of the music industry that make themselves known. Oddly the sweat box is often where I formulate ideas; running has a neurological effect akin to the tidying of a desk, or doing the washing up. Or maybe I'm just really weird. But for me, the gym isn't a place for conversation or mixing with friends. I once went accompanied by a classmate – I couldn't concentrate, the competition got too much for me. And it’s certainly not for public display of affections as I learnt last week, watching a couple do sit-ups together, kissing as they sat up straight. No kidding, I had to excuse myself from the mats. Get a room, very far away from me, if you please.

So maybe I just need a home gym, or to chill out a bit. But as we all know none of that’s going to happen, the workout irritations will continue long through my life. If someone wants to invent some human blinkers, I’ll be the first in line.

Eleanor Doughty is a second-year student at Queen Mary, University of London. Follow her on Twitter here. She probably won't follow you back.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - IT

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Computer Futures has been est...

Early Years Foundation Stage Primary Teacher in Lytham St.Annes

£80 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Early Years and Foundation Stag...

KS1 Primary Teacher Jobs in Blackpool

£80 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Preston: KS1 Primary Teacher Jobs in Bla...

Supply Primary Teacher Jobs in Blackpool

£80 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Supply Primary Teacher Jobs in ...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf