June 28, 2012

The Monster in the Basement


Recently a creature has been frequenting our basement and I'm not quite sure what to do with it.

It's loud and annoying and a little bit scary. It grunts and gasps and barks and yelps. It thuds and slams and even shrieks.

The beast cackles and guffaws and makes sudden explosive "HA!" and "YEAH!" sounds. Worst of all, it sings off-key, loudly and nonsensically, because it has on headphones and can't hear itself and also can't remember lyrics so it makes shit up. The creature also sometimes takes off its shirt when it gets hot and prances around in indecently in just a bra. Well, two bras, actually, because it doesn't like to bounce.

Yep, as you may have guessed by now, the monster in the basement is... me.


The good news, is that all the racket I make when I'm down in our basement DIY home gym, listening to my favorite playlist and dancing on the elliptical, is just the sound of enthusiasm and energy! I am not in pain or being attacked by zombies even though it may sometimes sound that way. But when the music wells to a chorus and my brain chemistry reaches the "Explode!" stage, I find it difficult to contain myself and I act like a crazy person.

Note: this ecstatic and ridiculous state doesn't happen every time, but only after a LOT of coffee and when awesome songs come up on my playlist.

Our home gym space, which we only have in the summer, is relatively private, so I can get away with being a total asshole. The Lobster is not nearly as obnoxious, but she too likes to sing along to headphones.

The problem? I need to return to the neighborhood gym in the fall. At some point, I'm going to have to lock this monster deep within in the basement of my mind, and stop indulging in grunting, gasping, yelling, singing, or inappropriate butt-wiggling when I work out. (I'm pretty sure that I can at least keep the beast fully clothed). I'll have to go back to silently mouthing along to songs, and I'll tone down my dancing a few notches, and I'll just be somewhat weirdly over-enthusiastic in a quiet way.

Because while I know first hand the joys of making noise while exercising, I can also work myself up into a lovely state of umbrage when others make excessive noise in gyms... slamming down their weights, having loud cell-phone conversations, grunting, singing, etc.

Is there any point to this blog post? Er, not really!

I guess I'm just curious:

Does anyone else have a beast within that likes to get a little crazy when exercising in private?

And does anyone else find it annoying when others make a lot of noise in public spaces?

Monster image found at Maria Brophy's site.

38 comments:

  1. I would think it was awesome to watch someone sing and dance while workout. How fun! It would break up my workout to see it, rather than the drones running in unison on their treadmills. How boring!

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    1. I do find the Drone thing pretty funny... glad to know that at least some people aren't upset to see someone dancing like a fool on exercise equipment!

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  2. Unfortunately, my embarrassing monster shows up at the crowded gym. SHOO SHOO!

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    1. I bet yours is at least a witty monster with a wicked sense of humor. Does it have its own blog?

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  3. Count me among those who don't care for noisy folk. I'm all for enthusiasm, don't get me wrong. But I do not want to overhear someone's phone conversations. Except for those days when I am out specifically for overhearing stuff to get ideas.

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    1. Love that your writing necessitates snooping! Suspect you are quite the spy.

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  4. I don't mind when people sing along to themselves or grunt a little bit. I also don't mind it when people get a little chatty. As I've become the commitment to health and fitness (about 6 weeks now), I realize that the gym is basically the only place I go during the week. It's replaced my going out to eat which kinda cuts down on the social life. Everyone I've interacted with at the gym is friendly and motivating and patient when I'm pushing out a few extra tough reps. I much prefer positive interaction to silent drones at the gym.

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    1. Me too, don't mind the friendly chatty sorts. It's the yellers and tuneless singers and whistlers that make my hair stand on end.

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  5. My beast just likes moving fast and hard, but quietly.

    So there's no setting up your own gym when you head back to the other side of the country?

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    1. No room, alas... plus, our downstairs neighbor already thinks we sound like a herd of rampaging rhinos when we are tiptoeing across the floor over wall to wall carpeting. Sigh.

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  6. I don't mind hearing a second or two of someone singing along with their ipod. Occasionally that's what happens during a ride on the bike trail. In the gym, I dunno. I can't stand it when my husband sings along to songs I like in the car. Sometimes it makes me howl in protest.

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    1. I agree about trailside singing... in my mind, singing along by someone traveling in the opposite direction... no problem! I've been caught myself thinking I was all alone. But if someone were to be riding or walking nearby in the same direction I'm traveling, belting out off-key pop song renditions for an extended period of time, that would BUG me.

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  7. I HATE training on my own so I never do it. I always either jump into a group training session or make a friend train with me, so I can't speak to the "crazy private workouts" thing.

    As far as other people's noise; it's all dependent upon the context of the training session and their attitude. If they're genuinely working hard and the noise is a byproduct of their effort, then no problem.

    If they're grunting for attention and strutting around puffed up and pretending they don't care that people are looking, then they are a T-O-O-L.

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    1. They should have a special "T-O-O-L" box for folks like that. Big mirrors inside so they can stare at themselves, and totally soundproof.

      :)

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  8. If someone saw how i acted in my home gym or really anywhere in my house they would probably call the authorities. I threw my back out while acting like an ass on my exercise ball. Apparently It cannot be ridden like a pony. I also slipped off the eliptical a while ago while pretending to hurdle an imaginary thing. It really hurt and I fell so loudly that hubs ran downstairs to see if I keeled. I promised to stop fake hurdling.

    When I catch people out in the woods singing or dancing I always call them on it in a friendly way. Best to own these things. Anyone worth knowing MUST have some sort of personal hyjinks. If someone catches me, I beat them to the call and call myself out.

    In the gym I do not want to hear you sing but I enjoy laughing at your grunting. Don't be mad. If you are getting all animal in public, I get to laugh.

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    1. You cannot ride an exercise ball like a pony? Damn! (Wish i could have seen that!) You crack me up.

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  9. I remember once at the gym watching quite a moving documentary (Go back to where you come from - it's brilliant) and I was pretty much in tears at one point. I have also been known to laugh out loud or gasp loudly at what I am watching. Can be a little embarrassing but ah well...

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    1. Good for you! I never really thought about the tear-jerker at the gym problem. I have exercise-induced ADD (a diagnosis I just invented) so I can't follow plots. Great that you can lose yourself in onscreen drama, that reflects an awesome power of concentration!

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    2. Hey Ruth.

      You wouldn't believe, once i was across from the same situation. And i really feel very embarrassing that time.

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  10. Metallica, TRX and my basement turn me into a scary workout monster.

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    1. Ooh, would love to see video. RRarrrwww!

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  11. I am lucky that I work out in the wee hours when few are around. I don't grunt per se BUT I do a lot of the heavy breathing - like when a women is in labor. I don't know that first hand but I have seen enough shows! ;-)

    I am not a fan of the heavy grunters especially when it seems for show or no need. I totally get those last couple reps when a person is lifting super heavy for them BUT personally, I think a lot of the guys I see do it for show! ;-)

    Try my hard core breathing technique - ;-)

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    1. Well whatever you're doing it's working! Heavy breathing sounds totally appropriate for the ginormous weights you can lift.

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  12. It's so good to hear that others get a little psycho with their private workouts too! And when that magical moment happens where the beat of the music matches my workout tempo...I am badass...at least in my mind. Grunting and loud breathing...is expected in public gyms, I think, but loud, personal conversations on cell phones, NO WAY. Not anywhere for that matter. People who lack self awareness puzzle me.

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    1. I think for some people cell phones come with imaginary invisibility cloaks that render conversations inaudible to others nearby no matter how loudly they're conducted.

      (I'd get even more judgmental if I hadn't caught myself a time or two talking more loudly than I'd realized. But outside, not in a gym!)

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  13. I don't want to hear someone else's inner monster go outer, but I certainly have my own. LOVE singing at 120 decibels. It's all very hypocritical. But I don't bring it out in public. Very much.

    Our dog... Emma--the Divine Ms. Em--just lets it go. When she scratches or licks herself, she makes SCREAMING noises. The rescue where we got her warned us of this and said she's been checked by the vet and is healthy. Just seems to want to frequently relive the deli scene from "When Harry Met Sally". When it's a dog (not just any bitch), it's hilarious!

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    1. Your dog sounds absolutely hilarious. Glad she has such a good time though I imagine it could take a bit of getting used to!

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  14. For some reason, the only thing that really annoys me at the gym is someone talking on their cell phone.

    We have a lot of grunters/moaners in the rock climbing gym and I affectionately say that they're getting their "Serena Williams" groove on.

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    1. Ah that's a great way to think of it... just a bunch of Serena's getting their groove on!

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  15. I never go to a gym but I find loud cell phone talkers quite annoying. Especially when it's hands-free and I think they're talking to me. ;)

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  16. Ha! I loved this post.

    I am not a gym person, but in the class I go to I don't care about "effort" noises. What I REALLY care about is the ones that take a phone calls during class or talk loudly to their neighbor the entire time. How are they even getting a workout?

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  17. Exercising in private it the perfect time to go braless.

    I find the sounds and the people at the gym amusing...I have little nicknames for them and sometimes when The Boss goes alone, I quiz him on who was there and he knows the names! We have Mr. Smashy, Hissy, Hat Guy, The Rooster, Mr. Flops (he always wears flip flops, Firefighter Lady, Pumps Iron While She Runs Girl...and that is just a few of our gym friends!

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  18. Using public transit has reminded me how to tune out almost everything. Of course that is while reading a book, I am not sure how well I would do actually trying to work out as I have never stepped foot inside a gym. I don't count school gyms here as our vote is always in one school gym or another ;)

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  19. Definite yes to number two!

    That's what basements are for. We have no basements in Florida. A basement would quickly become an indoor swimming pool, lol!

    Had one in the Midwest where I was raised. My brother and I made plenty of noise there :-)

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  20. When I'm skating on a freestyle session we take turns playing each person's music. When your music is on you have the right of way and skate your program as expressively as you can (when you compete you get points for that). Totally different vibe from the gym, I'm sure. When it's other folks' turn, their music is generally good stuff-- classical, movie themes, possibly a few show tunes. Ear buds or cell phones on the ice would be a very bad idea.

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  21. This makes me want to work out with you SO BAD! I even make crazy noises when working out, er, not alone:) Bring on the monster noises!

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  22. I'm all about the at home workouts too...I put together a piece on how to turn a water jug into a vital piece of home gym equipment...thought it fit nicely with your post above. If you're interested check it out: http://blog.shareitfitness.com/2012/athomeworkoutsecret/.

    Great blog, I've been a lurker for a while but will definitely be back to check out more of your stuff.

    Matt

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