The Shitty Workout

By Matt Dionne

During high school I used to work out at a gym near my house in Ottawa. It wasn’t the best place to work out by any means (although, since being introduced to the York University gym, I now have a new appreciation for it), but somehow I got roped into a one-year membership by one of the sales reps.

The gym itself wasn’t bad—all the equipment was brand new and they replaced it every year, but it was always so crowded that a workout that should take between 40 minutes to an hour could take as long as two-and-a-half hours just because of how long you had to wait for equipment.

Wednesday was legs and back day, and one particular Wednesday I was waiting to use one of the squat racks. The guy using the rack was squatting two plates, which is a respectable 225 pounds.

“How many more sets do you have left?” I asked, as he stood by the rack, wiping his face with a towel.

“Just one more,” he responded.

While I waited, two girls walked in wearing nothing but sports bras and very short compression shorts. They had makeup on, and I concluded that they were more concerned with meeting guys (or girls?) than actually working out. This particular gym had a lot of instances like this. At least once a day I would catch a glimpse of an extremely muscular guy (with very tiny legs, as if someone had combined the Hulk’s upper body with SpongeBob’s lower body) who would talk to a girl wearing a lot of makeup and very few clothes. These encounters would usually end with the two leaving together.

“His legs were shaking ominously.”

On this particular day, it appeared that the guy using the rack I was waiting for wanted to be one of those guys. So he added two plates to each side of the bar, which is nearly an increase of 200 pounds, and attempted to finish his last set. Next, he started making loud grunting noises while he adjusted the bar. People who do this often say it’s to hype themselves up, but really, it’s to make sure everyone notices they’re about to lift a lot of weight.

After gaining everyone’s attention, this guy attempted to do his set with 425 pounds on his shoulders. He managed to complete one full rep, but as he finished, his legs were shaking ominously. During his second rep, he was able to get into a full squat position, but he started to struggle while trying to get back up. As he floundered with the weight, his face started to turn red and a vein in his forehead began to bulge aggressively. He let out a cry of determination and finally managed to stand up straight. 

Then he fell forward and passed out.

I immediately rushed over and lifted the bar off him. I tried to ask if he could stand up, but he was unconscious. Suddenly, I noticed a revolting smell. I sniffed around and realized the odour was coming from the unconscious lifter. While he was trying to finish his rep, he shat himself.

When the paramedics arrived, I let them know what happened as the guy was still unconscious. After they were satisfied with my story, they strapped him onto a gurney. He came to while everyone watched the paramedics wheel him out of the gym. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get either of the girls’ phone numbers.

Copyright© 2020 by Matt Dionne

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