How to be a Recluse at the Gym

How to be a Recluse at the Gym

So you want to join a gym. Good for you! Exercise is apparently pretty good for you. Your main reservation, however, is that, like any rational person with a pseudo social anxiety issue, you want to have as little human contact at said gym as possible. Don’t worry; there are methods to obtaining a positive fitness routine without having to actually interact with anyone.

Before choosing your gym, make sure to do the necessary research. There’s probably one by your apartment that makes more sense for you, geographically speaking, but it might have an overly friendly front desk lady who thinks that the uncomfortable smile you’ve mustered up as you walk in the door is an invitation for friendly banter. To avoid her polite weather-related comments, put your iPod on before you enter the building. That way she’ll think you’re already in your “zone” and won’t chat you up.

Cardio is first. There are lots of options to get warmed up, but be cautious; the treadmill is dangerous territory. You have many feasible ways of embarrassing yourself which include, but are not limited to tripping, falling, dropping your iPod and then tripping over that, etc. Do not by any means go on the machine right next to another person. They’ll probably try to see what weight you’re putting in for yourself or scoff at how much you’re sweating while walking at only 3.5 miles per hour. Apparently they don’t understand that hyperhidrosis is a medical condition that cannot be cured and that sweating is actually really good for the body and also that they’re an asshole. Needless to say, it’s best to keep a constant seven foot radius from all other humans.

Strength training is where your diversion skills will come in handy. Weight regiments incorporate many different lifts, which means you’ll be moving around the gym, completely exposed to those looking to make “gym friends.” Gross. What does that even mean? You don’t need any of those. If you find yourself heading to the same machine as someone else and it’s too late to turn around, just hit the deck. Seriously. Pretend to find a penny or tie your shoe or do a push up. Whatever, just don’t get trapped in one of those you-go-no-you-go situations. Free weights (dumbells) are in a much smaller, high traffic area. There’s usually a huge mirror on the wall, so just stare intensely at your own reflection as people walk in front, behind, and around you. Definitely keep your headphones in, even if you’re not listening to anything.

Yikes. It’s time for the locker room. After you undress, literally run to the showers. Being naked isn’t so bad, but running into someone you know while you’re both naked is SO bad. So, so, so bad. With your luck it’ll be your seventh grade algebra teacher who is wondering what college you ended up going to and what you’re doing now that you’re graduated and finding your way in the “real world.” Get dressed in a semi-frenzied state so neighbors will think you’re late for something and won’t bother you to help them with their hard to reach zipper. When leaving the building hold your phone to your ear and say some business words like “diverging progress analysis” or “exporting the data systems.” This will get you out the door with no trouble at all.

Just another successful workout with little to no eye contact. Give yourself a high five. You deserve it.

Kelsey McDonough