Fifteen Minutes: Survival of the Fittest

With winter barely over, wannabe hardbodies around campus are racing to lose those midnight-munchie pounds. But like most workout endeavors,

With winter barely over, wannabe hardbodies around campus are racing to lose those midnight-munchie pounds. But like most workout endeavors, a trip to the MAC hardly satisfies this desire for immediate gratification. During "peak" times (7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends), one can expect to wait half an hour for any given piece of butt-blasting equipment.

Selecting a machine presents the first challenge of the MAC experience. The Stairmaster burns sufficient calories, but no one really wants a bike, let alone a seated cycler,and the rowing machines may as well evaporate. The treadmill represents the true prize, for it offers maximum sweat and maximum results in (MAXIMUM) thirty minutes.

MAC veterans recognize the futility of sign up sheets in reserving the coveted machines. The successful workout warrior eyes the prospects, stakes out his or her territory, then plies the line-waiting trade with the cunning born of years of experience.

At least two machines will necessarily bear signs reading "Out of Order", but this often fails to deter the more skeptically arrogant runners. They learn the hard way, and, after towing their belongings up to the apparatus, they ultimately lose their place in line when they realize the machine does not work.

For those who prefer to multi-task, waiting in line provides a good opportunity to work on the abs. They utilize the narrow walkway to perform any combination of calisthenics, plyometrics and/or gymnastics.

More anxious types pace back and forth behind their target treadmill, conspicuously checking the user's workout time. Exercisers respond to these pesky onlookers in a variety of ways. Some smile and acknowledge their presence, while most covertly shield the time window with a sweatshirt or book. Yet another blatantly restarts her machine when she reaches the limit.

The marathon runners demonstrate the best line-waiting etiquette. They practice every thirty minutes, after which they politely give up their treadmill for someone who plans to go home that evening.

After finally obtaining a treadmill, one must maximize his sweat session. Shoelaces should be double-knotted and shorts adjusted to prevent cumbersome distractions. Acceptable treadmill activities include listening to a Walkman or portable CD player while running. Those who want to walk while reading a magazine should move to the staionary bike and stop wasting everyone's time.

Comparing one's progress to his neighbor's provides essential workout motivation. The selection of a competitor involves several considerations such as age, weight, athleticism and whether or not his or her workout stats are visible in a mirror reflection. If not, people inevitably stare at the brunette with the long ponytail for inspiration. It's okay because she wants people to stare at her. That's why she wore the bikini top and booty shorts.

As the workout winds down, hard-core runners proudly wipe the sweat pouring from their brows. If the user has perspired onto the machine, or simply touched the buttons, he hurries to find the antiseptic and paper towels for cleaning purposes. The prospective treadmill recipient sometimes waives this unspoken rule, but only because he prefers to sterilize the machine himself.

Upon successful completion of the MAC School of Manners, graduates are set to make their debut in most any polite society, be it Bally's or Gold's Gym. Wellbridge applicants, however, may yet need to provide letters of recommendation.