The Problem with the Fitness Center

Name Withheld at the Request of the Author

The Middlebury College Fitness Center has finally become the most uninspiring and laughable location on campus. The number of outrageous and comical characters in that dungeon leads me to question if anybody would even bat an eye if I exercised in a Batman costume singing the theme song from Fraggle Rock. The time has come to address this situation with the frankness and sincerity that it deserves.

I’ll begin with the muscle-flexing, steroid-binging, crew-cut jocks that represent the more athletic, non-intellectual side of Middlebury. What they may lack in social skills and GPA they make up for in their glycogen stores and high-protein diets. Let’s just get this out of the way before anything else: men, we are all impressed with the size of your muscles. From your attenuated calves, which you choose to tone on the only staircase in the facility, to your massive pectorals, you are truly an impressive human specimen. But keep it to yourself. The mirrors in the fitness center are to encourage correctness of form— indeed a lost art at Middlebury— they are not for you to compare how much better you look than the last time you were in there, which was probably that morning. But who am I to judge? Despite spending more time in the gym than in the classroom, your creatine-flooded minds might actually amount to something in the long run. You might even get elected as governor of California.

As far as the low-cadence, loafer-wearing, People-reading, mindless cyclists go— get the hell off the bike. Too many times have I walked in to find an entire row of stationary bikes getting less action than those lonely souls that play video games in the Sunderland computer lab get on Saturday night. Simple concept, folks: pedal faster. If you went biking outside at that pace, you’d get passed by mothers with strollers and degenerates on skateboards. Ditch the magazine and put in some effort: you’re there to exercise.

The scope of slackers in the fitness center is not limited to the aforementioned offenders. I’m a runner myself, and it has been a long time since I’ve seen a fellow runner on a treadmill. This is probably because we have some semblance of an idea about what running is. For those of you who don’t know— and clearly there are many of you— I’ll give you some free advice so you can stop embarrassing yourselves to the point of absurdity. First, running shoes are critical. Those black and white Adidas that were cool in 4th grade don’t cut it, nor do your basketball shoes or the Reeboks you wear to class on Mondays. Get a real pair of running shoes. Second, run faster than you walk. If you are going to waste your time, then at least waste it outside where you’ll get fresh air and won’t bother anyone. Perhaps in the silence of the Middlebury countryside, you could get away with your atrocious and ill-conceived fitness attire. Believe it or not, those Abercrombie models do not actually work out in those clothes. It’s a gimmick and you bought it— how does that play with your politically-correct, left-leaning, save-the-planet-drive-a-Prius mind? Oh, and finally: no workout consists of a ten minute jog. That’s a warm-up.

The final group of embarrassing space cadets I want to address is those individuals who have absolutely no business on the Nautilus machines. Have a look around the next time you’re in there. At the far left you’ll see the jeans-clad hippie doing an absurd number of pull-ups on the Assisted Pull-Up machine. In the center, you’ll spot the dazed blond gazing off into the distance— probably thinking about what color ribbon she’ll wear in her hair tomorrow— as she mindlessly presses an insignificant weight on the Calf machine. My personal favorite is the mentally bankrupt criminal who simply sits on the Pectoral machine and watches the bikers and runners while making no effort at physical activity. It’s an exercise machine, not a park bench. This creepy loafer obviously needs to reexamine his priorities. Perhaps he should do that in his dorm room or the Grille, out of everyone else’s way.

Middlebury prides itself as one of the finest liberal arts colleges in the United States. I am certainly not one to disagree, but the student body seriously needs to get its act together in that God-forsaken joke of a fitness center. No longer can we tolerate these chic displays of idleness and aspiring athleticism. Patrick Henry once said “give me liberty or give me death.” I say to you: give me a break.

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4 Responses to “The Problem with the Fitness Center”


  1. 1 Maji Chien '09 May 10, 2007 at 3:12 am

    I loved this. I almost snorted water out of my nose reading it. Great job.

  2. 2 Molley K May 11, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    Whoever wrote this article is a judgmental whore who spends too much time at the gym to criticize anyone else and no wonder he/she didn’t want his/her name included.

  3. 3 Kelly Stewart March 6, 2008 at 4:44 am

    I have two problems with your article: first, it’s hateful, and second, it’s cowardly. Let’s start with the hateful aspect of it. You have no right to trash people this way. Most people, especially young men and women who spend a lot of time at the gym, are quite self-conscious enough about their appearance and their athleticism without having to listen to some arrogant prick rant and rave about their attire, fitness, and looks in general. You have no reason to write about these people, people you don’t even know, as if they are laughable and pathetic, as if they are inferior to you because they wear Adidas tennis shoes and jog slowly.

    Let’s forget about the content of your article for a moment and consider the sheer cowardice of omitting your name. To quote Samuel Johnson, “Courage…is always respected, even when it is associated with vice.” In this instance, I might conceivably have respected your “vice”–that is, the spiteful, judgmental, unprovoked, and frankly masturbatory cathart-ing you do here–had you shown the ounce of courage required to take credit for it. As it is, I neither like nor respect you–you have no class, you have no spine. You should be ashamed of yourself. I feel ashamed for you.

  4. 4 florida01 June 15, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Great post, very interesting concept. You make a good point that all the factors need to come into play.Fitness is essential part of our life.It depends on the service you get.You can visit to our site for more information.

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