Friday, May 09, 2008

 

Gym Music: A Snark

Several months ago, I stopped working out at my college's gym and joined a Y not far from home. We got a family membership, so TW can work out during the day, and I can take TB and TG to the pool every once in a while.

The 'fitness center' section of the Y, like all Gaul, is divided into three parts: the 'cardio' area with the treadmills and such; the resistance machines; and the freeweights. Since I go faithfully at 5:20 in the freakin' morning, I steer clear of the freeweights. Sleep deprivation plus no coffee yet plus loose heavy pieces of metal equals Bad Idea. So I start with the cardio – the ellipticals, almost exclusively – and do a few resistance machines before leaving. If I'm careful, I still get home to shower and change and feed the kids breakfast and still get to work on time.

The cardio part is usually fine. There's a cohort of regulars who get there, I can only guess, around 5:00 a.m., and they take most of the ellipticals and talk very loudly. But I can fire up the ipod, put on my absurdly dorky headphones – as near as I can tell, standard ipod earbuds are designed for hobbits – and just do my thing. I usually watch the too-early morning news broadcast and read the closed captioning while listening to my own stuff, which I like to think of as a game. Can I discern the meaning underneath all the typos and misspellings? And just how low in the pecking order do the reporters have to be to get the “report from outside in the rain at 5 a.m.” gig? “Still raining, Jim. Back to you.” Or, as the captioning would have it, “stillllllray nin gjimmback toyoooo”

But then I have to deal with the resistance machines, which involves taking off the earphones. This means subjecting myself to Satan's Stereo.

The average age at my Y is about 106, which probably explains the musical choices. In several months there, I haven't heard anything released after I graduated from high school. In fact, even breaking into the 80's is unusual. But it isn't just that the music dates back to the Nixon era. It's that nearly everything they pick is either dirge-y or unintentionally hilarious. Actual selections from the past few weeks, none of which I am making up:

I'm not trying to be some sort of alterna-snob here. Last week when I walked in they were playing Walking on Sunshine, by Katrina and the Waves, and I was pleasantly surprised; it's an upbeat song that doesn't make you want to crawl in a hole. I'd be perfectly happy with the standard Lite Hits station – put on KT Tunstall and I'm good to go. I could even deal with some upbeat oldies – KC and the Sunshine Band, maybe. But Copacabana? Nooooo.

Grumble.

What's the worst musical selection you've heard in a gym?


Comments:
They don't really play music at my gym. At the drugstore, however, I have, on separate visits, heard both Elvis's "Kentucky Rain" AND "In the Ghetto," which boggled my mind.

That said, whoever picks the soundtrack at the grocery store that I go to most often must have a music snob streak, because I've heard Sufjan Stevens, Bright Eyes, and others not often on regular radio in there. (I do NOT live in a part of the country where this makes ANY sense at all.)
 
Argh. I just barely recovered from Neil Diamond ear worms courtesy of American Idol, and you infest me with Barry Manilow and the Bee Gees? Sheesh, warn a girl, willya?

I too enjoy deciphering the news captioning while listening to me ipod at the gym. Marla had a hilarious post a few months ago (http://hellojosephine.blogspot.com/2007/11/every-day-one-morning.html) about the poor person stuck with the job of captioning a live performance of the Barenaked Ladies' One Week ("...chickety China, the chinese chicken...")
 
Last night at my boxing class (which is quite fun) the teacher got a bug to try new radio stations for some reason. Over the course of an hour, we heard Rihanna, Barry White, Radiohead, Peter Gabriel, Pink, Don McLean (American Pie, oh yes), John Lennon, and Snoop Dogg. And that's just what I remember. There were also snippets of country songs but we all booed when he stopped on those stations, fortunately. Overall, we laughed so much we could barely hit the punching bags.
I think the teacher learned his lesson. He usually just leaves it on some hip-hop station, which is fine for the activities we're doing. In my normal daily life hip-hop music irritates me to death, but when I'm trying to not faint, throw up, or fall down in an intensive exercise class, the music just needs to have a beat and not get in my way.

In the weight room (where I spend most of my time), on the other hand, I try to just ignore the musical selections. In there, it's all hip-hop all the time, but I am able to tune it out when I'm concentrating on a complicated or difficult lift.
 
I got rid of the Ipod earphones. I use the buds that have a piece that hooks behind the ear. Plus, I have the cord running down my back instead of in front. That way, I can't accidentally get tangled.

At my Y there is no music in the cardio room. Just two TVs on mute with the CC going.

Thompson Twins..hee. Takes me back to my senior year of high school!
 
The worst: "Shout at the Devil"

And I'm with you on the earbuds. Whoever designed them clearly never tried to wear them. Even when they stay in (which is rarely), they make my ears sore for the rest of the day --ugh!
 
I had a long running fight with my college gym. They put the speakers in the quietest section (free weights) and set the volume so that it can be heard over the noisy cardio machines on the other side of the room, which meant a large portion of the gym actually vibrated. It seemed especially obnoxious when every person in the gym had an iPod, and they still wouldn't turn the damn thing down.
 
wow Dean Dad, you know who KT Tunstall is?! You defiantly get cool points!
 
Never go to a gym, but I'd burn a CD for them if that was their idea of workout music. (The "spin" fanatic next door has a great set of workout tunes from all sorts of genres that serves exactly that purpose.)

But Copacabana? (shudder)

I can't imagine that the elderly folks there (probably all my age) like it either. Some Temptations, a mashup of Back in the USSR and California Girls, even "Mony Mony" (a mashup of the Tommy James and Billy Idol versions?) would be better than that.
 
Why no earphones on the resistance machines? Is the cord in the way?

If so, there are a variety of solutions for that sort of thing.
 
qkbtc
All gym music sucks. I want to work out and concentrate without distractions.

Here's a mens' room story from my trip way down south:

I'm in the men's room at a huge megaplex movie theater, doing the usual. No one is talking because we're all guys, and chit-chat is not normally a part of the men's room experience.

In the Real World South of K--there's a constant audio stream piped through loudspeakers. The megaplex dj says, "And now from his latest, Pat Boone sings a classic from James Brown, the Godfather of Soul--'Papa's Got a Brand New Bag.' " The usual I mention above requires relaxed muscles and when I start laughing at what I've just heard, the usual stops. Then the actual track begins and I'm laughing even harder.

Pat Boone was the original white-bread artist who covered black music in a way that made it palatable to mid-fifties mid-America. He wanted, for example, to change the lyrics in his cover of 'Ain't That a Shame' to 'Isn't It a Shame' because, hey, mom and dad don't want Billy and Jane to be exposed to incorrect English.

Pat's duet with James Brown is like listening to Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream' speech recited by Adam Sandler. It is bizarrely bad, and I start laughing even harder. I really don't make a habit of talking to strange men in men's rooms, but I just have to say out loud to the half-dozen still silent men in there with me: "I'm sorry, guys, but that's just too weird." I think they forgive me for breaking the silence and violating the quietness code of men's rooms everywhere.

--wayupnorth
 
Here at Compass Heading State U the muzak is all pumping bass with an angry young nihilist reading to the beat from some twisted anarchist revolutionary manifesto about drugs, prostitution, violence and death.

Kinda like my 70s coffee house angst without the acoustical guitar and a lot more urban angst.

I think the undergrads (all of them white, middle-upper class, driving Lexii and wearing pants around their ankles with ballcaps on sideways) call it "rap music" [sic].

O Tempora!

O Mores!

Sigh.

Good thing I'm retired military and borderline "audio-acoustically challenged" from working around jet engines and large chemically charged projectile tossing devices . . .
 
Here at Compass Heading State U the muzak is all pumping bass with an angry young nihilist reading to the beat from some twisted anarchist revolutionary manifesto about drugs, prostitution, violence and death.

Kinda like my 70s coffee house angst without the acoustical guitar and a lot less political relevance.

I think the undergrads (all of them white, middle-upper class, driving Lexii and wearing pants around their ankles with ballcaps on sideways) call it "rap music" [sic].

O Tempora!

O Mores!

Sigh.

Good thing I'm retired military and borderline "audio-acoustically challenged" from working around jet engines and large chemically charged projectile tossing devices . . .
 
Copocobana sounds like the perfect workout music to me!

But then I like the super complicated step classes, and any music with a strong melodic line, with a hint of camp that can lift me out of my trudginess gets my vote and lifts my spirit.

Best step class music ever(albeit loathed by some) - The Loveboat Theme.

I can still remember part of that routine and it's been over 10 years.

(PS - I am definitely not a scandinavian introvert).
 
This post had me actually laughing out loud. :)
 
I can't comment on gym music because I stick with the pool and there is no music under water.

However, I companied my husband, then boyfriend, to a medical gradutaion dinner/dance and had to do everything to keep from laughing. The dj, I assume under orders, did not play any post 1980 dance music. The year was 1996 and Copacabana was the highlight coupled with Celebrate, oh and Last Dance. Other songs included Grease medley, a 1940s medley and Neil Diamond and Air Supply for slow dances. I did not expect hip hop or electronica, but at least Michael Jackson.
 
Sorry about the typos.
 
Golddigger!!!
 
"Fat Bottomed Girls" came on at my gym last week, while I was in the locker room. To a woman, we all glared at the speakers.
 
I have always found that playing music during my fitness routine helps me stay motivated.
 
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