November 07, 2008

Treadmill Rage

This Guest Post was written by Charlotte Anderson over at The Great Fitness Experiment, which as many of you have discovered is one of the best fitness blogs on the planet. Charlotte also blogs at Huffington Post and she's been on TV and seems generally to be headed for a Bright Shiny Future. I can't help but find myself insanely jealous filled with admiration! And today she has a fun Quiz for us. Enjoy!--Crabby

Guest Post by Charlotte Anderson

You've heard of "road rage." But have you, or anyone you love, been a victim of Treadmill Rage? Have you ever felt a murderous impulse rise as you watch the two giggling teens monopolize your favorite machines for an hour without even having the decency to break a sweat? Take this test to find out!

1. Have you ever fantasized about chucking a dumbbell at someone on the weight floor?
  • Was it a slow-moving grandpa or a confused lifting newbie? -5 points.
  • Was it a meathead carefully monopolizing every piece of equipment on the weight floor (signaled by him placing exactly one item of his squarely in the middle of each bench and then walking territorially around the room surveying his domain)? +1 point, +3 if you actually hit him.
2. Have you ever had the urge to stick your arm out and clothesline someone running on the track?
  • Were you bitter just because they are faster than you? 0 points just for considering it (we're human after all) -3 points if you actually did it. You jerk.
  • Was said runner passing you on the inside? While screaming "Outta my way, I'm doing Fartleks!!"? Did she catch you with an elbow? +1 point for fantasizing, +5 if you actually throw your arm out - congratulations, you just made the world a safer place. You're like Superman. Someone give you a medal. And a cape.
3. Your favorite cardio equipment is taken. Do you:
  • Find something else to get your heartrate up? +3 for being flexible - yogis have nothing on you.
  • Sigh loudly & tap your feet while looking impatiently from your watch to the display on their machine? 0 points if the display reads 0:03:42. You want your own machine? Buy one. +1 points if the display reads 0:47:21. They're obviously going the full hour. Nobody stops on a "weird" number. +5 points if the display reads 3:25:54 and you give them a pamphlet on exercise bulimia - you good citizen, you.

4. The girl at the front of your aerobics class is obviously new and lost.
  • Is she just using the mirror to do her hair? +1 for staring, hoping she gets the hint to actually move her body. It's cardio Barbie. +2 if you run up to "help" her and then style her as a Muppet. The whole class will thank you.
  • Do you ignore her? 0 points. You're no hero but at least you refrained from rolling your eyes at your friend. In the mirror.
  • Do you give her a little encouragement during the water break and maybe help her nail that tricky part because, hey, at least she's making the effort to exercise? +4 points. Can I be in your classes??
  • Do you Carefully move up on her until you're breathing down her neck so she knows she's in your space? -3 points. It's not your spot. You don't have a spot. Nobody does except the teacher. And dogs. And then laugh loudly every time she makes a mistake? -10 points. You sociopath.
The Cure

Treadmill Rage is common. We've all felt it. Hopefully we didn't act on it (unless you have a really good reason, see list above). But giving in to your violent impulses really won't increase your calorie burn. Much.

Do you know what is much harder? Being nice. For some reason it doesn't come naturally to most of us, especially if we (ahem, me) are competitive. But being kind and forgiving is actually much better for your health. Besides adding up to 5 years to your life (see? You'll outlive all those jerks! That'll teach 'em!! Oh, wait...), being chill helps ease depression & anxiety while helping you heal faster from surgery, increasing your life satisfaction and giving you a happier outlook on life.

For a great example check out what this biker does when confronted with inconsiderate drivers (thanks for tip TJ!!). Truly this is a great story and if nothing else will help you pay more attention to who's in the crosswalk. He's one creative and gutsy dude:)

Tell me if you've ever been a victim or perpetrator of Treadmill Rage! Don't worry we won't judge or laugh. Much. ;)


  1. Does wanting to beat the tredmill with a crowbar count? No? Dang. I used to get irritated when I coudln't have "my" machine, but I just do other things (walk or videos) to make sure I can work out when I want to. I never wante to hurt the people though...but, I have enough road rage to make up for it!

  2. Wow - I should have read his post before posting the above! It's easy to yell and blame other people - especially considering the stress that we all go through day to day without knowing (or using if we do know) a proper outlet. Probably why I don't get too ticked at the person when I'm at the gym (exercise = outlet for anger and stress) - now driving? I'm actually working on it (by taking deep breaths, reminders that I won't care in about 15 seconds, etc.). It just hard and takes a while).

  3. I laughed at the treadmill quiz, but that link to the cyclist was kinda scary. I understand why he does it -- if you can make the motorist see you as a person rather than a target, you're much less likely to get killed -- but I wouldn't do it. Approaching someone who's angry, feeling cornered, and has a big nasty metal machine that can kill you is a bit dicey.

  4. I'm not a rage-ful person in general. A lot of my workout anger stems from being a personal trainer. I work out at my apartment's gym so that when I'm at gyms I work at, I can stay approachable to members.

    One woman overheard me talking to the owner of one of the gyms I work at on the phone. Now whenever she sees me there, she tries to hit me up for workout advice. Even when I'm too out of breath to talk.

    And others have heard these conversations, so there are one or two more who will try to talk to me about how they can get a six pack, or whatever.

  5. The only thing that really gets me pissed at the gym is when someone put their water bottle or towel or something on a machine, hovers around it, but doesnt USE it.

    Kelly Turner

  6. Treadmill? Treadmill? Cardio machines? Nah - those gym bunnies are welcome. Now, if they were trying to take over something that spelt FUN.... hammm... well that might just be another story!

  7. Hehe so cute.

    This is why I don't use the gym:) (can't.. control... treadmill... rage...)

  8. Great stuff!!

    OK, I'll tell you about an indiscretion of mine!

    While I was studying in France, I used to run at the local park. As it turned out, they were doing some construction at one point. This required a wooden tunnel to be used to gain access to and from one area of the park. One day as I was running in the tunnel, as far to the right as I could, some man was walking right down the center of the tunnel, and wasn't going to give me 1/2 of the path. As I reached him, I did a Muay Thai elbow strike to his chest with my left arm! I believe he was more polite in the future.

  9. There was a girl in advanced step class one day that actually helped me out. I couldn't figure out this "sliding door figure 8" move and the teacher was a substitute who wasn't very clear, so this girl saved me from another 20mins of embarassment and frustration.

  10. After an hour on the treadmill, I like to drink my weight in Jagermeister to rehydrate and then make fun of celebrities on the TV.

  11. Fortunately my gym has loads of cardio equpment so I usually don't have to wait, but I do have a "favorite" and get a tiny bit put out if someone is on MY machine. Because I am 6 years old I guess.
    WHY, when there is an entire row of empty machines, does someone get on the one right next to me? Why does this bother me?
    A gym I went to years ago had one of THOSE GUYS...who owned every piece of equpment because he touched it. grrr.

  12. Well, I have a treadmill at home, so no worries there, but I tend to be maybe not always so great in the weights room at the gym. People just do the silliest stuff. There was an incident this week that caused me to be less Buddha-like (snort!)

    Really, I have no problems with guys dropping their weights, but tossing them aside is a bit much. My leg was mere millimeters away from getting creamed by a strongman doing presses with 85 pounders - he got this little horizontal motion thing going and the dumbbells flew a good 3 feet to the side where I was doing some split squats and couldn't move fast to get away. Scared me. I said something not nice.

  13. My modest little gym is downstairs, so if the treadmills are busy, I either get on something else or go back upstairs to my apartment and hopefully don't rationalize not working out after all since the machines were busy. So no rage there...

    I do however have sidewalk rage. There are only two things that get me, though:
    1) Tourists who are walking three or four abreast -- slowly -- and don't make room so that you have to jump off into the gutter, risking life and limb, and
    2) Smokers. If you're a NYer or have at least visited, you know that walking down the sidewalk in the really busy places in the city can be a pretty significant secondhand smoke experience. I think they ought to ban smoking on the sidewalk in NYC.

    (BTW, thanks to all who checked in yesterday for moral support in the whole kidnapping saga! It did end well.)

  14. My treadmill rage is usually just directed at the treadmill - not at people using them. Why doesn't it have scenery?

  15. My treadmill rage consists of daydreams of putting chokeholds on people who INSIST on talking on their cell phones while on the treadmill, elliptical or arc trainer. I actually had someone on the elliptical next to me DROP their cellphone under my elliptical then ask me to stop my workout so they could get it. AAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!

  16. I have my own treadmill. :)

    It does piss me off sometimes though... sometimes I accidentally pull off the safety magnet during my workout and the damn thing resets instead of just pausing. It's massively annoying. Also, my hip keeps getting sore after I've been walking for a while (20 minutes or so). :(

  17. so funny! NO gym in this itty bitty small town! OMG.......what will be next?!

  18. Yep, I'm more along the lines of taking out my aggression from work out on the treadmill. Sometimes I get antsy at people but never really feel *rage*. I'm lucky that my gym is usually fairly slow when I go, I've maybe skipped a weight machine or 2 because they're occupied (and then go do something else instead) because I'm not going to wait for it, but the last thing that even annoyed me was the girl sitting on the step of the assisted pullup/dip machine waiting for her boyfriend to finish squats. :P Machines are for using, not sitting. I know I could have just asked her to move, but...whatever.

  19. I think people should always be as polite as possible at the gym. It can be a very intimidating place, and not everyone has gone to a gym his or her whole life and knows the rules. If someone is doing something annoying out of ignorance, it is your responsibility to kindly correct his or her action. To the massive bodybuilder who thinks he owns the place who should know better since he's been to the gym his whole life, I say, "Excuse me, I would like to use this bench, could you be so kind as to use your well-sculpted biceps to lift this barbell off of it for me. I'm afraid I'd get a hernia if I tried. Obviously I need to use it more than you do." You never know, one mean word to someone at the gym might scare him/her away from there forever. You don't want to be responsible for that, do you?

  20. Never really had a problem with treadmill rage, although I have had a couple of times I got a bit bothered with other people.
    The first is when I had clearly saved a bike for RPM (spin class) with my water bottle and towel 15 minutes before the class was to start. I left the bike room to go sneak in some extra cardio before the class started and when I came back, some girl had taken "my" bike! I looked at her, looked at my towel and said, "that's my towel". She just said sorry but was clearly not going to get off.
    Then there was the lady in my Combat class who had the nerve to tell me I was "too close" to her when the class had not even started! I wanted to show her how close my foot could come to her face after that!

  21. I've never gotten angry at anyone in the gym. There's plenty of equipment so waiting is usually not an issue. Also most people mind their own business so that's not an issue either.

    Someone would have to deliberately go out of their way to be a jerk in order to piss me off in the gym because honestly I'm too exhausted for anything else.

  22. Great guest post. Charlotte is great.

    I think we've all experienced treadmill rage at one time or another. My rage generally comes from treads with belts that need to be replaced or clank really loudly. Drives me INSANE.

  23. love this post! I definitely used to be a treadmill rager but now (as I get older and wiser, ha!) I take more of the softer approach.

    But occasionally I might have a clothesline thought or two.... :)

  24. Generally, I confront who/whatever caused my anger, not a convenient substitute.

    I think this treadmill rage is akin to road rage. Misplaced anger. Having said that I work out in the nicest gym with the most polite members imaginable.


  25. I left my old gym because of the clientele--it was the cheapest gym in town. No one wiped their nasty sweat off any of the machines, there were grunters, strutters, monopolizers, groaners, yellers. But really, the sweat thing made me want to tear my eyes out and soak them in lye whenever I saw it. Maybe I just need my own gym someday.

  26. I have a treadmill at home because when I go to the gym i find that i'm always comparing myself to others or getting annoyed by those who "hog" the machines. I just try to avoid it altogether and get my workouts by taking long walks, especially since the weathers been so mild. I've also started using these great biker shorts I ordered through because they help tone and firm by skin while I'm at work, or just going for a walk. They are made from this great fabric which takes the shape of your body and can be worn comfortably under any outfit. You should really give it a try and that way you can avoid the treadmill stress for good.

  27. it's trying to keep up with the person next to me that kills me. Even if I've been on it for an hour, if a young whippersnapper gets on and starts sprinting away I just HAVE to turn the speed up a couple of notches!

  28. I am not a big fan of the treadmill but it is a good tool. It is more effective to jog outside or on a track than the treadmill anyway.

    I hate when someone is on the treadmill walking for an hour straight at 1.0 slower than they normally walk.


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