As someone who goes to the gym religiously, I can safely say on an average day working out you run into quite a few regular characters. Unlike the Mitch Alborn novel The Five People You Meet in Heaven, I’ve found that any dealings with these groups of people make you question if you somehow lost your way en route to the gym and ended up in some equally sweaty, fitness-machine-filled hell. These people generally fall into these five main categories:

Makeup-Wearing Women
Nothing is more deserving of ridicule than being the woman that wears makeup to the gym. I understand the logic; in theory, you’ll be surrounded by attractive, six pack-boasting men (at my gym, the men are more likely sporting a cane than a six pack), but sweetie, even those guys won’t respect you if you come in wearing a face full of mascara, blush, eyeshadow, and lip gloss. Seriously, consider your venue–we’re not at a dimly lit bar with cheap drinks in hand–we’re at a health club. I’d like to give these women one more little tip: if you didn’t plan on working out hard enough to smudge your makeup, you might as well have stayed home. Personally, I find that I attract more attention sweaty and makeup-free at the gym than anywhere else. (Surely the fact that the median age of men at my gym is roughly 46 years old has nothing to do with that…)

Don’t let it out. Please, keep it in.
Image from Google

The Excessive Grunter
You’ll be quietly struggling with some weights of your own, when all of a sudden here comes the excessive grunter, signaling his or her noisy presence with a round of anguished breathing, groans, and whimpers. I applaud you, excessive grunter, for pushing yourself to your limit, but kindly shut your mouth. It’s hard enough for me to focus on keeping my composure without hearing your audible straining four feet away. I don’t mind a certain amount of ragged inhales and exhales, but some of these sound effects are ridiculously superfluous. I was in one of the strength training at classes at my gym once, and we were starting some crunches when the woman next to me started letting out these agonized cries each time she leaned up. …I wanted to throw a 10lb. weight in her general direction.

The Socializer
There’s always that one small group of friends that you consistently see at the gym–but they’re never doing any exercise. I think these people just show up to stand in the vicinity of exercise equipment and make small talk with each other. At my gym, I see the same group (…wearing the same clothes, but that’s a different issue) multiple times during the week, and they’re always telling story after story to one another. It amazes me that they have something new to talk about every day. I’m really not sure why these people couldn’t just gather for breakfast or something elsewhere, but I’m willing to bet they just like the idea that they can go home and tell their other friends/family, “Yeah, I was at the gym this morning…”

No one should be this excited to waste oxygen on speaking when you’re exercising.
Image from Google

The Incessant Smalltalker
Not to be confused with the Socializer, the Incessant Smalltalker does actually work up a sweat, only he or she likes to do so while harassing you. When I’m at the gym, I like to be a sweaty, out of breath phantom. All I want to do is come in, bust my ass, and leave. Yet, there are certain people who are so genuinely nice and considerate that they want to engage you in pleasant conversation–it’s disgusting. I know these people mean well, but when I’m at the gym I’m in the zone, and nothing throws me off my game quite like some chatty stranger.

The Therapy-Needing Germaphobe
Sweat is gross, and at the gym there’s a lot of it, but respectfully wiping off your machine after using it is sufficient in terms of maintaining cleanliness. Unfortunately, there are still those gym-goers that act as if some unknown strain of the Bubonic plague might lurking on the handles of the treadmill they’ve chosen. I’ve seen one of these types at my gym actually holding the wet wipes in their hands while they were using the elliptical machine, and then after they were done they still sanitized their hands and arms like they were a doctor scrubbing in for surgery. I cannot stand people like that. Next time I see one of these freaks, I swear I’m going to cough, sneeze, and rub my sweaty ass all over the machine. Enjoy!

I hope after reading this you remember to bring your binoculars the next time you go to the gym so you can narrate your own observations nature special style: “Behold! The elderly man with his ugly flesh-colored gym shoes in his natural habitat…”

55 thoughts on “The Five People You Meet at the Gym

  1. Don’t forget about the creepers! There’s one at our gym that tries to flash his junk at other men on the circuit (while wearing shorts with a strategic rip in them).

    There are also just the people who generally do wildly inappropriate things – like the lady dyeing her hair in the changing room toilet area, the woman wrapping herself pre-workout in clingwrap and the girl that stands naked from the waist down just staring, mouth agape, at people in the changing area.

    I’m not a prude, but can we not at least put our underwear on before we fire up the hairdryer?

    1. I thought my gym was the only one that had women dying their hair! There’s a sign up in the bathroom from management requesting that people “kindly refrain from the use of hair dye due to the associated fumes and residue.” …Who would even think to dye their hair at the gym!?
      What is up with the cling wrap!? Is that some fat-eliminating remedy I’m unaware of?

      1. I expect the cling wrap is a misguided attempt to aid your body in sweating out fat. Further to the hideous story – she was wrapping her small child similarly too! A friend saw this a few years ago, we were all suitably horrified during the re-telling. People are nuts. Clearly.

  2. Lol, don’t get me started about chicks who wear make-up at the gym. Why, do they do that? I just don’t get that. I have kickboxing with this girl and seriously every five seconds she brushes her hair to the side and makes sure she hasn’t smudged her eye shadow. Really, why are you here?

    1. Seriously. When I’m at the gym I know I look like the scummiest scourge of the planet, but that’s okay, because I’m working out! I just want to yell at every woman I run into at the gym wearing makeup.

      1. I sometimes go straight to the gym from work, and I don’t bother to wash my face first… but I don’t mind resembling a sweaty raccoon so I feel no shame!

      2. Well now that’s understandable, but I have actually e seen women APPLYING makeup in the locker room before heading out to do their workout.

    1. You and me both! Like my iPod and the fact I’m consistently avoiding eye contact isn’t indication enough I have no interest in talking. Sometimes I make a big show of not being able to hear them before taking my earbuds out so they really feel like they’re bothering me. …Only they don’t care, because they only exist to bother me.

  3. I have seen them all! Also, at my gym there is this girl that has breast implants (breast implants are not yet very common in Romania) so she walks around naked from waste up,before and after class, flaunting her new boobs. I don’t understand, because it is a Pilates class attended by women only.

    1. How gracious of her! In the locker room at my gym many of the women love to walk around topless, only like I mentioned, these are mostly older women, so honestly, the effects of gravity are SHOCKING–if you know what I’m sayin’. They also like to sit on the benches that are in there with no underwear on. It’s disgusting.

  4. The excessive grunter at my gym is PRICELESS. He also yells obscenities and lets his weights crash to the floor. It’s all I can do to not yell YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

    Subcategory of socializers – the ones that come to the gym, apparently, to text. Thumb workout, I guess?

    1. Hahahaha! Yes! The texter is another frequent sighting. They always have their treadmill speed set at a whopping 0.2 mph so they can focus on writing their text messages.

    1. Haha! If I were an excessive grunter myself, all anyone would hear at the gym is expletive after expletive. So I figure since it’s inappropriate for me to do that, I don’t want to hear any sound effects from anyone.

  5. You got this dead on. I hate all of these people. Do people that scream sing with their headphones in count as grunters? Nobody needs to yell Nelly songs that loud.

  6. You obviously don’t use the shower at your gym…#6 ! I think you should’ve dropped a link for how to avoid small-talkers (:

    P.S. Thanks for the blogroll mention — I put you on the “Trophies and Stuff” tab on my page. You already read it, but you’re a fixture now — rock on. I’m gonna go vote for your snarky-ass now!

  7. The excessive grunters reminded me of Steffi Graf back in the day! She was notorious…and her grunts were also explosive.
    Hopefully your makeup women remember to make their mascara water resistant…otherwise it’s just scary…being added to their desperate appearance. 🙂

  8. Ha ha, this made me giggle. I don’t go to the gym anymore, but it reminds me of when I did. I think the grunter is the worst. Some of the noises are just so peculiar, and (this may be just me) but I can’t help thinking about the noises they make when doing other things . . . if you know what I mean!

  9. Some Mike Tips;)
    1. If you’re a dude, I don’t give a shit how big your muscles are you should never wear purple or neon green Under Armor. Extreme colors by default draw attention so unless you are in top shape DO NOT draw unnecessary attention, save the bright colors for the chicks.

    2. For men if you take a spin class…after the class never unzip that SOB three-quarters of the way down to cool off. You’re not Channing Tatum so stop trying to entice the ladies with grey chest hair and sweaty nipples.

    3. If you use a towel to wipe off your sweat and then lay that same towel as your imaginary “towel sweat barrier”. Please don’t give me strange looks if I wipe the machine off after you leave, maybe I will start laying my Wet Wipes down on the bench and lay on top of that…lol

    4. Ladies avoid provocative stretches. Toe touches are fine…Doggy Style toe touches not so much.

    5. Dudes stop wearing daisy duke shorts…I don’t give a shit if you have nice legs.

    6. Don’t show off your gymnastics skills with regards to pull ups. You just look silly!

    7. Don’t eat snacks while working out, this is counter productive.

    1. Concerning number 5, I wholeheartedly agree. Just because you run 3 miles every day and have the quadriceps and calves of a demigod, I still don’t need to see that much of any man’s legs. A woman should never be able to tell if you’re a boxers or briefs guy simply based on the shorts you’re wearing. Seriously.
      Also, I really think other than lifting free weights or doing crunches/sit ups, no man should be doing any other kind of exercise. There’s this one guy at my gym who’s always doing some interpretive dance shit with this big stick, and it’s all kinds of weird.

      1. That is too funny! I love the dudes that come up to the ladies to lend a hand…I call them ” Form Handlers”. They always want to teach the ladies the correct form and typically the best way is by doing some type of creepy touch o the elbow, or perhaps a poke on the shoulder baldes;)

  10. The person who is only there because a friend has a free pass, and won’t stop whining that damnit they “used to be a cheerleader! This should be easy!”
    Yes honey, you were a cheerleader. 6 years ago.

  11. 1.The person who is only there because a friend has a free pass, and won’t stop whining that damnit they “used to be a cheerleader! This should be easy!”
    Yes honey, you were a cheerleader. 6 years ago.
    2. The stalker. The person who obviously isn’t sure what they should do, so they follow you from machine to machine, eyeballing you HARD to see what weight settings you’re using, how many reps…
    3. The girl who thinks it’s ok to talk about how fat someone is…in a gym. Usually this person is pudgy as well, but comforts themselves by saying “Well, at least I look better than her.” Being bitchy does not burn more calories, dear.

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