Being an Introvert at the Gym

Walt - July 24 2015I want to preface this post by saying that I’m an introvert. I have a tendency to keep to myself in most social situations, right up until that moment when I let you into my little comfort bubble. Once inside, you get a front row seat to the craziness that spins around in my mind.

It probably sounds strange that a quiet guy, such as myself, would start a podcast where the world is invited in to join me. I suppose recording without an audience relieves the social anxiety. Despite being quiet, I really do enjoy conversing with other people, I just won’t put forth much effort in starting that conversation until I feel comfortable. It’s a strange cycle but it works for me.

When I’m in the gym I tend to do my own thing and avoid conversation. Again, it isn’t that I don’t want to talk to other people, I’m just a quiet guy that is focused on my own workout. In fact, when the gym staff is making the rounds and talking to my fellow gym-goers, I actually look forward to a little small talk between sets. When that small talk doesn’t come I simply chalk it up to having some form of male-gym-goer resting bitch face and laugh it off.

Definition from the Urban Dictionary
Definition from the Urban Dictionary

Ever since I began Starting Strength, my time in the gym has been focused to only two pieces of equipment. Since I’m not walking around the gym going from one piece of equipment to another, I don’t expect to run into any spur of the moment conversations. I leave my bluetooth earbuds in and go about my business on the treadmill and inside the power rack.

Yesterday things were changed up a bit. Starting Strength called for a modification to the routine and I would be doing a Power Clean for the first time. Instead of doing them in the power rack, in the free-weight area of the gym, I moved into the Cross-Training Room. Weights in this room are meant to be banged around and if I got noisy or dropped a loaded barbell, I wouldn’t disturb anyone.

Walt - Squats - July 27 2015

When I entered the room there was one other person inside. He had his back to the door, performing Deadlifts, so I grabbed a barbell and began adding a little weight for my Power Clean. As I was bent over, adding weight to the bar, I noticed that he was standing off to the side and talking to me. I popped out my earbud and engaged in the conversation.

“So, how much weight have you lost?” In any other place this would be a taboo way to start a conversation but I was happy to answer him. I’ve lost 25 pounds so far. We got to talking about how exercise was the easy part of getting in shape and joked about a couple of things. There were a couple of awkward moments but it was nice to have a chat between sets.

The guy seemed genuinely impressed at my weight loss and commented that he would have never guessed that I was standing in front of him at 240 pounds. We talked about goal weights and he suggested I try for 225 pounds.

I honestly don’t know where my goal weight will be but at the moment I’m just enjoying being active and getting stronger. The weight loss will come and I’m trying to not to stress over it. He suggested I give a certain protein supplement a try (I can’t remember the brand) and also suggested I try a pre-workout supplement called Knuckle Punch (made by the same company).

After about 10 minutes of talking between sets, he moved back into the free-weight section of the gym and I finished up my Power Cleans. It was the first time in nearly three months of going to the gym that I had a full blown conversation in the facility and it was a nice change of pace. I’m not saying that I want to chat it up every time I’m in the gym but it almost makes me want to be a little more outgoing.

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