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?
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face
books
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' is based on historical events
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
filmSir Ian McKellen will play retired detective in new film
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
'Molecular Man +1+1+1' by Jonathan Borofsky at Yorkshire Sculpture park
tv
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Foundation / Year 1 Teacher - Long Term - Salford

£90 - £130 per day + competitive rates, pension scheme: Randstad Education Man...

SEN Teacher

£120 - £140 per day + ?DOE: Randstad Education Maidstone: SEN Teacher Kent

Year 5 Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are looking fo...

Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: KS2 Supply Teacher Position avai...

Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil