Gym Types

Posted: April 30, 2013 in Gym
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Similar to those you find in a yoga studio, the gym also has very specific personality types that are prevalent at just about every visit you make.  Over the course of the week, I can visit up to four different gyms in a week depending on what my schedule is calling for, so I’ve become particularly sensitive to spotting these different characters.   In fact, part of me feels like I’m turning into some sort of freak magnetic when it comes to attracting certain weirdoes but, ‘c’est la vie’  I suppose.

Here are but a few of my favorite character types you’re bound to encounter if you frequent any gym for any length of time as, unfortunately, they’re just as inevitable as sweat (in most cases).

The ‘Know-It-All’ – This is one of my least favorite of gym-goers.  They don’t go to the gym so much to work out as they do for the opportunity to offer everyone the gracious gift of their infinite gym experience and ultimate know how.  “Hey, did you know that if you turn your feet 5 degrees outwardly you can really fire up the glutes when doing that squat.” “You should really try clenching your butt when doing bench-press – it really helps develop your core.” “Acai berry supplements get you really jacked, you should try it!”  No topic is unfamiliar turf for the Know-It-All.  But despite being well read on just about every type of possible weight or exercise trend known to mankind, for whatever reason, you will seldom see them actually working out; instead, preferring to make the rounds checking up on everyone else, correcting posture, adjusting form, making suggestions, offering advice, the lot.  They’re like the policeman of the gym.  Should you ever do something that in any way disagrees with their own personal philosophy or beliefs on how to lift weights, then they will casually saunter over like the Prodigal Child and attempt to shepherd back in the lost sheep (i.e. you) to the correct way of doing things.  They simply can’t help themselves.  These guys piss me off the most as they will break one of the cardinal rules of the Gym Commandments on a very regular basis:  ‘The person needing advice is the person who will ask for it’.

If I ever actually saw them doing anything I might be a little more tolerant but, as it typically is, I just wish they would fuck off and leave me alone.  Hey, douchebag, should I ever need tips on how to sit on my ass and eat protein bars, you’re the first one I’ll ask…okay?  Now screw off.

Mr. Happy Hour – Similar to the ‘Know-It-All’, these people are not at the gym to really work out; they’re there to socialize.  They’re the Perez Hilton of the gym.  But, to me, the gym is no place to be all Dale Carnegie and attempt to ‘win friends and influence people’.  It’s a place to – you know – work out.  Lord knows if these types of people were to actually exercise their muscles as much as they exercise their yapper then they’d be absolutely huge.  Unfortunately, they tend to congregate around and monopolize the various machines under the guise that they’re really using them but, instead, they’ll be completely engaged in full blown conversation with someone else about last night’s big UFC match, the  proper technique for doing fly’s, or maybe just the ever-changing political climate of the Middle East, whatever.  Hey, if you really want to win friends, then finish your damn sets and let me use the freakin’ machine, you moron.  I don’t give a rat’s ass about who rained down with ‘hammer blows ‘on who, I just want to finish my damn work out and get my ass home before dawn, thanks.

The Cardio Bunny – You will recognize this particular gym goer as they will inevitably have the acquired body mass of a meth addict and will spend insane amounts of time on all the various cardio machines.  There is nothing wrong or annoying with the Cardio Bunny, per se, as long as they aren’t over-monopolizing the machines by ignoring the sign-up boards when it’s busy, but, geez, eat something already!  You look like someone out of an Ethiopian famine relief commercial.  Seriously, I want to wrestle these people to the ground and stuff a candy bar into their mouth.

The Strong Man – He’ll be at least 50 and will inevitably have a moustache, but not the fabulous Freddy Mercury kind; more the “I don’t give a crap what you think about my face”  kind. He’ll also have a sizable gut as probably every meal he eats will include either bacon or beef, or some kind of hard protein.  He’ll probably look like a myocardial infarction waiting to happen.  But regardless, he can bench-press you and your entire family.  He won’t talk to anyone (which is a good thing) as he has muscle to build and iron to pump.  As far as he’s concerned, there isn’t anyone at the gym worthy of his attention as he’s been lifting since Schwarzenegger wore short pants, and he makes everyone else look feeble by comparison.  Forget asking to work in between sets, your best strategy for encountering this type of gym goer is to simply avoid them and try not to piss them off otherwise he’s likely to eat you.

The Juicer – These types will usually be male, but not always, and they tend to follow the herd mentality and hang out in hardcore gyms that cater to their lifestyle of injecting whatever toxic concoction they can get their hands on in an effort to build stupid amounts of muscle mass.  Seriously, they look like aliens.  When they’re not off lifting minivans or inquisitively poking their biceps, they’ll inevitably be hanging out in the locker room drinking protein shakes from noxious looking bottles and leafing through the pages of magazines with the word “muscle” in the title, and ogling other scantily-clad muscle men.  Yeah, not weird at all…

The Screamer – These gym goers, while also possessing traits from all the other gym personality types, are the guys who, while lifting, sound like they’re either giving birth to a harbor seal or getting a colonoscopy from a guy operating a jackhammer.  These guys are super annoying and I’d love to be able to gag them with a gym sock.  They are there to show off, and they desperately want you to notice them.  Be wary, however, as the Screamer may actually be a ‘Know-It-All’  in disguise, and their grunts of exertion may actually be a ploy to get you to notice them and therefore lure you into unsuspectingly into their infinite web of gym knowledge.

The Maggot Gagger – This is always a guy.  Women can get a touch of the BO, but only a man can smell so bad that the stench could knock over the guy who cleans the bathrooms at Taco Bell and leave a bad taste in your mouth for an hour afterward.  I think gyms should have a stink detector alarm and security personnel who escort such offenders off the premises in as humiliating a manner as possible.  It’s the only way they’ll learn.  But there’s always that guy…

The Gang – These guys travel in packs of three to five and typically fall into two categories, the ‘Noobs’, or the popular ‘GQ Gang’.  The ‘Noobs’  group together because they’re probably not confident yet (or mature enough) to actually enter the gym environs without an instant support system and they usually don’t have a clue what they’re doing.  They will show up and believe the goal of weight lifting is to show off for their friends by lifting as much weight as they can by whatever means necessary. The concept of proper lifting technique never occurs to them.  They hover together around one bench and spend about 10 percent of their time lifting (see ‘Mr. Happy Hour’) and the rest shouting encouragement to their brainless buddies who are doing the funky chicken in an effort to lift far more weight than they are capable of.  Natural selection should take care of them in due course.

The ‘GQ Gang’, while similar to the ‘Noobs’  in that they frequent the gym in groups, are different in that they aren’t necessarily inexperienced.  They just like to go to the gym together in the same way that girls like to go to the bathroom together, for whatever reason.  They will inevitably all dress the same and follow the same gym trends like wearing their Teva’s on the elliptical.  Watching these groups remind me of high school dances.

Miss Mountain Lion – Also known as the ‘Cougar’.  These women typically know their stuff.  You can see it in their eyes. They’ll hurt you if you give them the chance, and I’m not talking about your feelings. They’re usually older yet in really good shape, although parts of them are plastic and there has possibly been some strategic nipping and tucking going on at some point.  They often look amazing from the neck down, but the face is difficult to discern through the layers of makeup.  I can envision how the next morning could be a frightening experience.  Many of them work hard with the weights and they can lift as well as most men.  Like I said, they’ll hurt you.

The Flirt – Unlike ‘Miss Mountain Lion’, she’s probably not yet 25 and inevitably good looking.  She knows this.  She never makes eye contact with anyone apart from making sure you’re in fact noticing her.  She wears expensive and tight-fitting gym attire that show off a figure that has not yet experienced the ravages of gravity and her hair and makeup are done to perfection. She also wears jewelry – even perfume – to the gym.  She will show up, do 15 minutes at low intensity on a stair-climber, stretch a little, and then seek out a personal trainer to devout all his time to her.  Failing this, she will find the biggest, meathead in the place spread-eagle herself over the nearest machine and bat her eyelashes.

The Lurker – These gym types are creepy and are about as close as it comes to having a real honest to goodness stalker in my book as whatever machine you’re on, inevitably, the lurker will be waiting and looking at you disapprovingly.  If you rest for what he deems to long – even a second – he will then lean over and in a prickish tone ask ‘are you using this?’  It is blatantly obvious that if you are sitting on a bench in the gym you are using it; otherwise you would be at home sitting on the sofa.  Hey, the chances are good that if he’d just applied basic etiquette and politely asked to work in I’d let him have his go, but his obnoxious tutting and condescending manner make me want to gouge his eyes out instead.

The American Idol – It is increasingly popular that gym goers do their workouts while listening to their iPods, and given the range of unsavory noises you will hear (especially from the ‘Screamers’) I support this practice.  The problem arises when this certain type of person confuses the gym with a Karaoke bar. The American Idol has somehow arrived at the completely delusional conclusion that their tone-deaf interpretation of Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys are Back in Town”  should be appreciated and applauded by their fellow exercisers.

The Thomas Edison – I’ve learned to avoid this gym goer at all costs. There’s truly nothing scarier in the gym than the people who feel the need to invent their own exercises.  As you and everyone else go about your daily grind, these people are rolling around on a physio-ball while balancing a soft-spoken Peruvian child on their head.  Typically, they rationalize their whacked-out maneuver as an advanced way for working their ‘core.’  The truth?  It doesn’t work their core at all. In fact, it doesn’t work anything…except to bring utter chaos into a weight room.  Get these people on a treadmill and that’s when things really get dangerous.  These gym types are usually your future ‘Know-It-All’s’  in training.

To wrap up, here is a fantastic video that more or less sums up all of these personality types into four convenient stereotypes:

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