A Plea to Old People at the Gym

Due to a variety of reasons (upcoming beach vacation, an uptick in free time, wishing to not be winded just by watering the garden, giving up on folding laundry because my arms got tired), my training-partner-for-eternity, XFE and I have been working on our fitness. Like, really working on it. Like, ordering overpriced paleo food from a food delivery service and giving up alcohol during the week. We’re talking a serious amount of dedication from two (ok, one) major couch potato. (Mmmmm, potatoes…..)

Prior to this latest round of fitness fanaticism, I had been going to yoga, albeit, pretty intermittently. Or, as XFE describes it: “napping with old people,” which is a completely accurate description.

And in the middle.

We do live in an area called “Old Town,” by the way, so yes, I am usually one of the younger folks at the 9:30 a.m. or 1 p.m. yoga classes at the Old Town Sport & Health Club down the street from my house. Not a lot of hip, urban professionals around during those times of the day. Just me and the old folks crew, many of whom use that time in yoga class to do whatever the hell stretches or poses they want to do. I’m pretty sure the instructor is just there to make sure no one seriously injures themselves.

In fact, many of my fellow old stogey yogis stick around for the class that follows, which is called “Fusion Stretch.” I have not taken this class (one one-hour stretch-and-nap session per day generally does me in), but the class description promises a “fusion of stretching and stability work….for a relaxing, yet invigorating experience.”

No, with XFE at the helm, we’ve been pushing our out-of-shape (unless you count round as a shape) bodies to their brink. XFE’s favorite form of torture is the innocently sounding, “Club Strength,” which we go to on Saturdays. Because, who doesn’t want to almost throw up without drinking before weekend brunch?


The name is mostly deceptive. As at a normal club, they do play loud, thumping, repetitive EDM music, but mostly I think it’s to drown out the moans of the victims, erehm, I mean, participants. And, as at a normal club, there is a lot of sweating in skintight neon and black lycra as people kick and thrash to the incessant beat of the music, but that’s pretty much where the comparisons end.

It’s actually a game of “get all the gym equipment you can find and set them up in front of you so we can use them for precisely one exercise and then run to put them all away again.” Exercise mat, check. Bench with risers? Totally, and be sure to get extra risers just in case. Dumbells? You’ll need three sets of those. Barbells? Yes, and better grab some extra plates in all of the sizes available. Kettle bells? Sure, go on a scavenger hunt for a few sets of those. Gliding discs for push-ups? Most definitely. Some curved board thing for sit-ups? Absolutely. This gym has invested heavily in tons of random equipment and we’re going to use it all for this one class.

The strength part of the name is also a bit of a misnomer. I’m actually not sure what everyone else is lifting (I’m a pitiful 7.5 pound dumbbell girl myself) but none of us—not a single one—look like we have any strength to us. We’re all struggling, as far as I can tell. I know my limbs feel like limp pasta after every one-hour session.

(To read an even funnier post on misnamed gym descriptions, go here.) But then come back, because I have a serious bone to pick).

But that’s fine. The thing I want to address today is an issue that is so distracting, it actually motivates me to go to the gym, just because I can’t wait to see what visual affront will come up next.

I’m talking about workout clothes on old people at the Old Town Sport & Health Club.

In the past week, I saw at the gym:

  • A woman over 60 wearing hot pink neon booty shorts with a black tank top.
  • A man over 70 wearing loose jogging shorts (he was, unfortunately, on one of those reclining thigh stretcher machines that our club insists on placing right in front of the treadmills and directly under the TVs)
  • A woman over 70 wearing a sleeveless crop top with elastic-waist workout pants.
  • A woman over 60 wearing shiny turquoise workout leggings that showed off her crotch sweat after a serious sesh of walking on the treadmill. Her top, for the record, was a purple cotton tank.
  • And, just yesterday morning as we were leaving the gym, a man over 60 out for a morning job in hot pink neon booty shorts (perhaps the husband of lady #1, because dear God, there can’t seriously be two pairs of these shorts out there. And who is selling these to old people?)

I’ll admit, I’m pretty modest and covered up at the gym. I wear standard black workout capris and usually a shirt with sleeves that cover my flapping arm wings. And, that covers at least part of my lycra-clad booty. These are two areas that I feel jiggle the most and, therefore, should be downplayed as much as possible without resorting to a burka. I’m basically going for a middle-aged ninja-in-training look.

But, even if my modesty weren’t an issue, I don’t think that old people should be wearing the things I see at the gym.

Listen, it’s great that you’re working out. Mazel and all that. But seriously, y’all need to stop it. Stop wearing neon colors. Buy things with more fabric. More is more when it comes to old people and gym clothes.

Appropriate workout wear.
Inappropriate workout wear

And gym employees: please step up and say something. You have signs everywhere urging people not to “gaze at other people working out.” You say it’s “rude.” Let me assure you, I’ve surged well past gazing and am firmly in gawking territory and I don’t care two shits if it’s rude.

There isn’t a single young hoochie mama in this place, but I bet if there was, you guys would pull her aside and suggest more appropriate workout gear. I’m sure you’re giving the old people a pass because they’re old, but you shouldn’t. Because let me tell you something, they’re taking advantage of it. They know what they’re doing. And they’re laughing their pale, flabby asses off. Y’all need to shut it down.

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