The high cost of grunting

A couple of years ago, the combination of quitting smoking and sitting on the couch with my new daughter began to take its toll. All of my size 36 pants started fitting tightly, my shirts were bulging out in the middle and...well, let's just say that, in the words of Dennis Miller, my belly button wasn't as close to my spine as I would have liked. I realized that it was time to start going to the gym.

I had never been a regular gym rat, so I was a little confused by the list of rules in my new domain. Some of them, like the requirement that I always bring a towel, made perfect sense. I also completely understood the rule against hurling barbells at mirrors and the request that we not hock loogies in the water fountain.

I was a little confused, however, by the requirement that we "minimize grunting." Wasn't grunting a natural response to lifting ridiculously large amounts of weight? Were there excessive grunters out there who were threatening the fate of the world? I became a little paranoid about my own grunting. After all, I was used to letting out a little groan from time to time. I didn't think that my grunting was excessive, but then again, most people don't mind their own sounds and smells. Afraid that I might be an offensive grunter, I resolved to lift weight with a minimum of sound.