For a lot of men, we go to the gym as a means of getting a body that makes people go “I bet he works out!” Sure, there’re the health benefits, or because it keeps us active, or because we enjoy it, but mostly we just want to chip away at the intense body-shaming that we inflict upon ourselves.

As a classically-lean ectomorph, I struggle to put on any weight at all. That’s great for those nights I devour entire pizzas and greasy Chinese food, but bad for when I see a Magic Mike XXL trailer at the movies and want to hurl popcorn at the screen. I’ve been a consistent 132-lbs for most my adult life. It’s been just over a year since I started going to the gym and have managed to put on 20-lbs, which isn’t much for some people, but is a lot for me. I should probably thank the one-and-a-half liters of water I drank at the gym and the burger I had for lunch for finally kicking me over 150-lbs. Hey, who cares how it happens as long as it happens, right?

Yesterday, I took a notepad around with me throughout my work-out and recorded every single thought that popped into my head. The results, I hope, help show that everyone’s kind of in the same boat once we throw on those gym clothes and set foot on the floor. Unless you’re Chris Hemsworth, in which case I hate you.

  • Before I’ve even picked up weights I’m judging my muscles. My muscles are full-on Monet. From far away they’re okay, but up close they appear to lack clear definition and lack anything close to a tan. Wait, I think I got that Clueless quote wrong.
  • Today is… look, today is meant to be arms and chest day, but it will probably just become a “let’s lift heavy things and see what happens” day.
  • A large number of the men at my gym look like they could be Sean Cody models. And if you don’t know what that means, then get prepared to shield your co-workers because Googling that is most definitely NSFW.
  • Ow.
  • A man approximately the size of a house just asked how much longer I will be using my bench for because the free weights section got busy real fast and, like, he has some iron to pump and probably doesn’t have time to waste waiting for a skinny-armed dude like me. I am flanked by two men who look like Hemsworth siblings. He does not ask them how long they’ll be, naturally, because they belong there.
  • I think my arms looks good when I’m actually working out. Is it too much to ask that my arms always look like that instead of returning to their former droopy selves once I leave the gym, like Cinderella at midnight with the pumpkin? It probably is, isn’t it? This is why people go every day even they can’t possibly be adding anything to their mass since they’re already so big.
  • I like to assume all of the tanked guys are incredibly dumb. The three men next to me (who aren’t working out despite being surrounded by weights) are talking about their vanilla protein shakes. “Do you even lift… a box-set of Bergman DVDs?”
  • One of the Hemsworths just made a gym joke to me as he walked past me and I laughed like when someone is talking to you at a nightclub and you have no idea what they said, but you don’t want to look like a socially-inept loser.
  • Gosh, these guys are still talking about protein shakes. Maybe if I could afford five different supplements then I could join in. I can barely afford the gym membership.
  • This guy either went to my high school or used to be on Neighbours. I’m genuinely unsure.
  • The music selection is on point tonight. A lot of early ‘90s dance tracks like Black Box’s “Ride on Time,” Rozalla’s “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good),” and Snap’s “Rhythm is a Dancer.” And seeing the retro music videos on the gym monitors is certainly fun. Certainly better than the Sam Smith (!) that was playing when I first walked in. This gym doesn’t have WiFi (!!) to listen to Spotify with, so I’m stuck with the in-house playlist.
  • I’ve moved on and now a man is doing dips with a 50-lb weight chained to his weight-training belt. How is that even possible?
  • His arms are literally more than twice the size of mine. I hate him.
  • Oh god, he’s super intense. It looks like somebody’s chopping off his leg with a hacksaw.
  • Why do I always look at guys like that and feel bad about myself rather than look at the majority of people who fall on the other side of these Adonises and feel more content? Because I’m a glutton for masochistic self-doubt, apparently.
  • Hey, guys who wear tank tops that are little more than two pieces of fabric tied together by string! We all know why you’re wearing it and I’m sure some people are enjoying seeing your nipples flying free or being able to watch every one of your many back muscles contract while you do your bench presses, but everyone also assumes you’re a narcissistic tool.
  • Is there actually a word for a pack of bulging gym rats? Like a murder of crows, but something more muscular. A roid of meatheads, perhaps.
  • I can’t tell if this man near me is solid muscle or overweight. I am genuinely confused. Like, are his abs too big that they make him look like he has a belly? Or does he just have a belly? He seems to parade around with such confidence!
  • Does anybody else have certain mirrors in their gym where the lighting is just right and you think you look really good? I like looking in those mirrors. It’s like the inverse of those warped carnival mirrors and their body-morphing antics.
  • I am starting a new routine known as pyramid deadlifts that a trainer friend recommended. I laughed when he suggested I should be lifting twice my weight by the end, but we’re starting small. 200-lbs, which is impressive to me. I’ll slowly start building from there.
  • I know I’m no expert, but it amuses me (and worries me, come to think of it) when I see people using work-out equipment incorrectly. These are guys who look like they could throw me across a room and yet they don’t even know what a certain machine is for? Muscles are wasted on so many people. Like I said, I just have to assume they’re idiots.
  • I wonder if anyone here has looked at me the way I’m looking at this person who just strutted over to my work-out area. That is, lustfully and probably not as discreetly as I think.
  • I’m done. I’m so glad I have a big bowl of pasta waiting for me at home.
  • Man, what is with the men in the change rooms here using spray deodorant. Is that Axe? Good grief. I’d rather not relive being a 16-year-old again.