And that’s why I can’t go back to the gym again.

I joined a gym because my doctor yelled at me but I don’t know how anything works and I’m too intimidated to find out. Yesterday I saw this machine that looked like a stationary bike for giants because it was 4 feet off the ground but then I saw someone using it and turns out it’s basically a stationary bike for your arms. You stand up and put your hands in the pedals and move them in a circular motion like you’re boxing. And it was awesome except that my arms weren’t long enough for the reach and so I kept punching myself in the boobs over and over like my hooters were a speedbag and I was like, “This can’t possibly be good for you” but the gym people always say “no pain, no gain” and so I just kept on punching myself in the tits until I finally noticed that there was a lever that made the arm pedals shorter and I felt both mortified and really proud of myself for figuring it out.

Then another lady came up next to me using the same machine and she started punching herself in the boobs too and after a few minutes I was like, “If you want I can tell you the secret of how not to punch your boobs so hard” and she nodded uncomfortably and looked straight ahead but didn’t take off her earphones or adjust anything so it got weird and now I can never go back to the gym again.

57 thoughts on “And that’s why I can’t go back to the gym again.

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  1. That was quite kind of you to share your new info. She clearly was in need of it. But you cannot help everybody. But awesome effort!

  2. …which is why my husband just bought a treadmill for us to use at home…

  3. I think I need to see a picture of this machine because I cannot picture it but I do sympathize with not always knowing how the gym equipment works. But I promise you nobody is looking at you or judging you so please don’t be afraid to go back. 🙂

    (It’s kinda like this but without the chair and with longer arm pedals. ~ Jenny)

  4. Only you! Did she finally ask and did you tell her? Or since she ignored you, did you let her keep punching her boobs? I would have.

    (When I left she was still punching the hell out of her knockers. ~ Jenny)

  5. And this is why I can never join a gym. They need to have a class for newbies that shows you how to use the machines. Weekly because I’ll forget. And no gym rats allowed in the building during newbie class!!

  6. My husband LOVES the gym. I go because it’s good for me, but I will never love it. Like you, I tend to wander around feeling dumb because I don’t know how the machines work and don’t want to look stupid trying to figure them out. Here’s a tip for you: the sauna is really easy. Nothing to figure out, you just sit there and sweat and my doctor son insists that it’s really healthy. Also, it doesn’t require boob-punching. Always a plus.

  7. I was where you are last October. I booked a free gym orientation and then signed up for personal training. I love it – I always have someone telling me what to do and making sure I don’t injure myself. Plus, after a while I got confident enough to go on my own on days I’m not training with her!

  8. Sure you can. Just get one of those glasses, nose, mustache disguises to wear and get right back at that machine. If no one fights back then the equipment wins. We’re better than that! Just latch onto that can do attitude that the hardy pioneers used. Put one fist in front of the other and show the machine who is boss. Be one with the machine. Dominate! The disguise will make it easier. Especially if that same woman is there.

  9. My Physical therapist makes me use the boob punching machine. I can never get it right. And then I’m so short, I spend most of the time trying to find a place to put my feet so I’m not just dangling there, repeatedly punching my boobs like a bad Lucy bit! 😅

  10. Bless you for kindly sharing your discovery! I’m always too mortified to ask for help and sure that people are judging me at the gym!

  11. I was an group exercise instructor at the gym for years. One time, I had a class go so horribly sideways (mic issues, my phone ate a song off my playlist, I blanked on choreography and couldn’t catch the beat) that after class I sat down on the stage to cry and realized that my pants had been on backwards the entire time.

    I thought that was as bad as it got, until yesterday when I showed up and had managed to pack two right shoes. I wasn’t teaching, so I put one on the wrong foot and did class anyhow. If anyone noticed, they were too polite to say anything.

    I’ve found that the gym is not only about making you stronger physically, but also allowing you a space to learn to be okay with being absolutely mortified in public. I guarantee you, even those of us who have been around for years still have our epic fails.

  12. At a hotel fitness center… designed for tall people. Way taller than me people. Height shamed.

  13. I started using a VR headset and doing SuperNatural Fit, which is like light sabers that you hit balloons to the beat of awesome songs. It’s like a game. But one you can’t keep doing because it turns out it’s also serious exercise. I overdid it the first day. I couldn’t walk the next day. I hate exercising. I especially hate the gym. This VR workout though? is so much fun I’ve done it almost every day since I got it.

  14. I like the YouTube channel MadFit. Start out with 2 or 5 pound weights. Don’t even try to keep up with her on abdominal exercises.

  15. The only time I went to a gym I had an employee do an orientation on how to use all the machines, but you had all the guys staring at you, so I didn’t go back. But I loved our gym room at my former employer, mostly women, guys who didn’t stare or else HR would get a complaint, and lovely treadmills, stair climbers and free weights that were easy to use. I also once went to the YWCA and used a rowing machine it was a great total body workout. I’d much rather workout at a gym that is also a rehabilitation center with employees/trainers/physical therapists who can help you not hurt yourself and to use the proper equipment and target your personal problem areas or goals.

  16. That’s why I stick to the treadmill and the stationary bike at the gym and the two arm machines (triceps and bicep curls) that I actually know how to use.

    The last time (which was a few years ago now) I tried to use weight machines I didn’t know how to use, I literally broke my right ass cheek and caused it to have severe spasms and swelling which impacted the sciatic nerve on that side. And anybody who’s ever had sciatica knows how much it REALLY really hurts. Took me a good six months to heal as much as my poor ass cheek was going to heal, unfortunately. 🙁

  17. Thank you for making me laugh out loud and almost pee my pants. You are priceless!!

  18. Gail, I hope you have a sweetheart who kisses your poor ass cheek–it clearly needs love!!

  19. My first thought was – why the hell did you go to a gym in the first place. Isn’t walking Dottie enough?? Ugh!

  20. I am not a gym person, so even though I thought it would eventually end up as a really expensive place to hang clothes, I bought a Peleton 18 months ago. I am still kind of shocked that I ride it very regularly and absolutely love it. The reason it works for me though is the fact that I am completely alone in my basement and I can do it whenever I want. I highly recommend it!

  21. Perspective 1 – the lady didn’t actually hear what you said, but didn’t want to seem rude so she just nodded and carried on and now she is afraid of running into you again since she has no clue what she said but she nodded so you don’t know that. Perspective 2 – she has been using that machine for a long time now, the same way, and it didn’t even occur to her that there was a way to use it without assaulting herself, so she felt really stupid and self-conscious about accepting help. Either way, you can totally go back to the gym because she’s more afraid of running into you than you are of her.

    Incidentally, I was always terrified of that machine, even after watching someone use it. The only time I’ve used one is in physical therapy when my PT showed me exactly how 🙂 That is awesome you gave it a go!

  22. Well, maybe she wanted to boob punching and is embarrassed to admit it, listening to ‘Eye of the Titty’ on blast we’ll going to town.

  23. Oh god, gym just no. But I highly recommend FitOn where you can suck at exercise in the privacy of your own home with your hooters unmolested.

  24. I go swimming for exercise. I can’t handle gym things, they seem to be spoken in mysterious languages. It’s stupid because for some reason I have to pay for both, the pool and the gym (it’s a very good price, really, but it feels as throwing money away). But the gym is just above the pool and I can hear their music even while keeping my head mostly underwater. This makes me very nervous. Water vibrates. Also if I’m swimming nobody expects me to be friendly or chatty. Or maybe they do and I, being shortsighted and unable to wear my seeing glasses and swim at the same time, just don’t get it. I’m making myself nervous. Just remembered that the pool makes me smell like bleach. I’ll go throw a fit and be back.

  25. My doctor hollered at me and said “you are NOT 5’11” anymore!”. The god of gravity—a goddess would never make my boobs and booty start to sag, damnit!—has made me shrink an entire inch. I hate it when a doctor hollers. I think my boobs might have shrunk too. I hated being 5’11” in sixth grade but now I am pissed! Gimme back my inch, Dude! Bastard…

  26. There must be something in the air. I too recently felt required to do something aerobic more regularly. With back surgery and knee replacement I can’t do many things. Even a stationary bike hurts both. And going to a gym? A monthly payment for montly public humiliation? Vs one payment and working out at home with laptop and explanatory youtube video beside me, and only feeling like an idiot to myself (yes, I’m sure everyone here knows that one). So I’ve landed on buying a rowing machine, a Concept 2 to be exact. But . . . while it’s narrow, it’s 9 FEET LONG! Turns out my downstairs has room for that but, geesh, I guess there’s a reason some people suffer public gyms. I’m sorry, I’m just really grateful I’m not one of them.

  27. I used one of those once! At physical therapy. As soon as I stepped up to use the machine I thought…that can’t be right. I tried it once. My boobs got in the way. I called over the pt therapist and told her “I’m sorry, this machine is not made for people with boobs.”
    She laughed at me and adjusted the machine..
    I still think it wasn’t meant for boobs

  28. You get pints for even going to the gym. Plus bonus for putting on “gym” clothes.

  29. Sure you can!

    She can’t though; my god, just punching yourself in the boobs instead of accepting help

  30. Oh Jenny, I am so thankful for this post!! Today was not a good one, but that made me LOL!!! You are the best!!!

  31. I did CrossFit via zoom over COVID and it was the best. The trainer watches all of us, breaks down the moves, adapts them to all our levels. Some people just had milk jugs to work with and some had real weights.
    Fibromyalgia is keeping me down right now but if you want to hide and only zoom gym with the nicest trainer in the world, I’ll join up again with you and I promise not to judge because none of us can even see each other during the workout portion! Gymbungerz.Com run by Morgan. He’s a saint.

  32. Oh my my! You crack me up when I’m at the gym. Literally. I’ve been rereading your books on the elliptical machine and LOL-ing at a volume that people with their headphones on are turning around to stare at me. Keep going to the gym, Jenny. Now you know how to avoid your ta-tas. Sweat it out, girl!

  33. Use to go to a military gym. The Boob Puncher Machine is super great for soldiers who lost leg use. Seriously. They can still have great arms!

  34. I was lucky enough to go to a gym that did orientations on the machines. In fact, they are supposed to give you an orientation on all of the machines when you join. Also, I belonged to a really great gym that had a room just for women. They always had the best magazines and you could sit on the bike machine reading them while pretending to work out.

    My embarrassing stories are always about aerobics classes – I always stayed in the back and finally told one instructor that I wasn’t going to get the steps right so she didn’t need to slow the class down while she explained them to me. (Very embarrassing).

  35. Hmm.. I get a free gym membership in Sept when my new insurance goes into effect. I know I will feel like everyone is looking at me, even though it says on their website “The Judgement Free Zone®” I just wonder……

  36. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t stop them from punching their boobs.

  37. She secretly enjoys boob-punches. That’s her thing, not yours.

    It helps if you can find someone to go WITH you to the gym, someone who has been there before and can show you how to use stuff, but who isn’t SO fit that you can’t make fools of yourselves together.

    Here’s what I’ve learned. People at the gym don’t generally care what other people do that looks embarrassing. Stand on the lifting floor when the really competitive guys are in there. You’re going to hear people sound like they’re working on the largest, most constipated dump. Or like someone has their testicles in a vise. And they show up the next day to do it again because they know that no one notices.

    The most fascinating person I have ever seen at a gym was the treadmill lady who was reading a book during her workout. As she finished a page, hand to God, she RIPPED IT OUT OF THE BOOK AND DROPPED IT ON THE FLOOR. I am in awe.

  38. Not related to boob punches but to uterii (plural of uterus)… I have to share a headline I saw today that I thought the tribe would appreciate. I get (unsolicited) daily emails from MedPageToday… (aside from my resentment of whoever sold my email address to them, I actually find it interesting to read… so I haven’t blocked them (yet)). Back to the point of this post:
    Today’s headline started “Acid-Burned Uterus Suit.” Get where I’m headed with this? Or is it just me who thought first of Lady Gaga (rather than “lawsuit”)?

  39. The day you posted this, I had a similar experience! I have physical therapy, and it is usually guys who are the therapist. This time, it was a lovely young lady. Warm up is a recumbent/reclining bicycle, the kind where your feet are out in front of you, not down under you. The arm bars move back and forth. Well, the guys left the arm bars set the same as for the previous person. The young woman said, let’s try it lower. It was great! My boobage felt so much better, now that they weren’t getting punched for 10 minutes straight! I swear, all medical/health equipment was invented by a man. No space for boobs (or bellies)! We need a redesign, by women for women.

  40. You’re fine. She had her earphones on & thought she imagined someone talking to her. Now she’s afraid to go back to the gym. Circle of life.

  41. I hated the gym. I’m strictly at a yoga studio now. Plenty of examples to watch to know what to do even though I constantly question why I need to stick my leg THERE.

  42. Jenny, I love you. But no pain, no gain is crap.
    1) your gym should have an introduction class that shows you how to use the machines. If they don’t, is not the right place for you.
    2) if it is a Planet Fitness, I’m pretty sure they do have classes that run on certain days.
    3) I’ll be down there in November for my birthday and would be glad to introduce you to my vertical swimming program. I find the water much more forgiving.

  43. If I can go back and finish out my Radiation Treatments after the woman I was sharing the waiting room with put my hand on her boob because none of her Drs was listening to her and she needed someone to VALIDATE what she was feeling in her breast? You can handle this!
    To this day it remains one of my funniest memories of that time – but it’s also a really sweet memory of how women support women in the oddest circumstances. And I’m really glad she wasn’t there with someone who would have run screaming from the room!

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