Men are from Mars, women don’t waste time during workouts

This morning, I was meeting a friend for breakfast at 7am, which meant I had to get up at 5:30am to get a decent strength training workout in. My gym is pretty empty at that hour on the Friday of a holiday weekend, so I had the opportunity to really observe the two or three people that were there. Now, beyond the obvious observation that more women do cardio and more men do weights (I am a total sexist about this and have to suppress a giggle whenever I see guys under the age of 60 on the elliptical… man up and do some time on the treadmill!), I had a new revelation this morning while in the weight room.

I should first preface this by explaining that I tend to do all my strength training in circuits. I pick two machines for three sets of 15 reps on each, swapping machines between each set. NO idea if they work opposing muscle groups or not; I usually just pick two machines that are near each other but don’t seem to do the same exact thing. Because I’m working different muscles, I don’t need to rest in between sets, which means I just bounce from one machine to the next. I’ve seen this technique recommended a lot over the internet (usually by trainers who tell you to work opposing muscle groups and all that, but I ignore that part). It’s great partially because it’s a timesaver, and partially because it can turn an otherwise dull weight training session into a sweaty, cardio, calorie-blasting workout. Woo hoo!

However, while I’ve seen a lot of women employing this technique (or other forms of a “get in and get out” approach to the weight room), this morning made me see clearly a tendency of men that wasn’t quite so obvious before. You know how sometimes you’re waiting to use a machine and it’s really annoying because some guy is sitting on it for several minutes but not using it? Or worse, putting his towel on it and standing somewhere idly nearby? That’s because MEN DON’T WORK OUT MOST OF THE TIME THEY’RE IN THE WEIGHT ROOM.

I was watching the guy who happened to be in there with me this morning, and saw that I was getting through three or four sets in the time it would take him to do one and move on to the next. I didn’t count his reps, but when we were both lifting at the same time, mine were slower than his… so it’s not like I’m Speedy Gonzales busting them out. It’s that in between sets, he’d sit there for a while, wander around the weight room, stare out the window, look at himself in the mirror, etc. As I noticed this and thought about it, I realized that it’s what I’ve seen a lot of guys doing in the weight room.

Why is this applicable to me? Because in the firm fitness league (which ends today, which I am sadly not winning), we get points based on how many minutes we do of different exercises. I have long been wondering how so many people have workouts logged that are like, “90 minutes of intense strength training.” Now I know, and I say, intense? BS.

My question is this: what do all you guys think about when you’re just standing around in between sets, and how do I get in on this game? Do I need to just make to-do lists and write blog posts in my head, or am I allowed to bring a book to read during the downtime? The last fitness league was for our Enterprise industry practice, but in two weeks we start the Financial Services fitness league… I need to have my techniques down by then. Four hour strength training marathon, here I come!

Comments

  1. Hahah love this post. This is so true. I think some guys lift some weights for a few minutes to get that muscle burn going and then spend the rest of the time staring at their “pumped up” arms in the mirror. And make a lot of grunting noises like they’re really working hard.
    90 minutes of strength training means you probably had no plan for what you were going to do at the gym.

  2. I just love this. I worked at a gym for years and observed this phenomenon many times :)

  3. You are so right! I haven’t been to a gym in a while but I used to work at one and that was exactly what I noticed, too! Women are most usually about working out hard and getting the hell out. Men, seemed to work a bit, wander around but leave their towel on the machine, pump a few more, wander around….

    Love it!

    Btw, I read your recap of Steamtown–thanks–I’m doing it next month and it was a good reminder of the course.

  4. I have noticed this too. Also, during prime time at the gym they seem to wander around the gym in packs. Each person in the pack will do a set, then they’ll stand around and talk for ten minutes, then they’ll each do another set.

  5. Haha, this is totally true – I’ll be the first one to admit it. Any time I would go to the gym with a girl they would always give me shit about all of the standing around I’d do

  6. i know what you mean. but then i also wonder how some of them get the huge muscles, even when i don’t see them actively lifting. that must mean they spend A LOT of time in the gym–time i’d prefer to spend doing something else than hanging in a stinky gym.

  7. Very interesting observation!!! You are absolutely, oops sorry – absolutly correct! I do notice guys do a lot of dilly dallying and chit chatting in the weights area. Fascinating!

    I need to be like you and do circuit training. I normally take breaks between sets (reasonable breaks!)

  8. Oh my gosh, this is totally true! I can get tons of stuff done in an hour jumping from machine to machine while the guys will get just a couple done in the whole time I’m there. I don’t get it! I always wonder why they don’t just wanna get it done and get home or to work. Why waste so much time?!

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