7 People You’ll Meet (And Hate) At The Gym
My Grandad once said to me:
“Remember, Russ, you are totally unique… just like everybody else.”
As if that contradiction-in-terms wasn’t enough of a mind f**k, he was actually right!
Because if you walk into any gym in the world, you will see a bunch of characters who all possess the same annoying characteristics.
(And I love them for it!)
I remember the first time I truly “people watched” as I sat on a stationary bike doing my morning cardio. The gym was like a conveyor belt of beautifully over-the-top characters who couldn’t help but make me smile.
And then I noticed something odd – it’s not just my gym. It’s every gym.
People started to drop messages on my Twitter to let me know they’ve met the exact same characters in their gyms
How is this even possible?!
So here’s my list of seven characters who’ll make you laugh (and maybe cringe) the next time you look around your gym. Watch out for them wherever you are. If you’ve got a funny story about meeting any of these guys be sure to let me know in the comments or on my social pages.
Before I start, I’d just like to point out that I’m not talking about you.
You’re cool. And you read my blog. Double cool.
I’m talking about them.
So not you.
And definitely not me..
1. The Sales Rep
You ever bravely engaged in small talk with the person on the next treadmill to you?
At first, you look on the bright side.
Perhaps you’ve made a new friend. Maybe morning cardio won’t be so dull, hey?
A few minutes in, you realize she’s not actually having a conversation with you at all. She’s f**king screening you.
Turns out, Jill is one of the three worst people to get stuck in a lift with.
- Satan himself.
- P**sed off cat with a machine gun.
- Juice Plus rep.
(Maybe not in that order.)
Yep, she’s a Juice Plus rep.
And now you’re stuck with her.
Worse still, she’s already added you on social media and tagged you in a post about how she’s living her #dreamlife and you can too.
(Amazingly, you just gotta #askmehow and she’ll inbox you those details.)
As you stare blindly into the abyss that is your treadmill screen, wondering if you start running backwards will it unlock time travel controls which allow you to go back to any point before you opened your big stupid mouth in the first place, you have a bright idea.
Your grand plan is to pretend to be interested, then move on.
That way, no one’s feelings get hurt…
Begrudgingly, you take a free sample of her latest juice detox drink, which promises to “center your chi” and turn you into one of those Pinterest yoga chicks.
It’s also a drink which somehow achieves the objective of looking better coming out than it did going in.
But this politeness starts you on a downward spiral.
Your inability to be rude and say “f**k off” leads to months of training at obscure times of day in the hopes of avoiding Jill at all costs, even though it totally doesn’t fit around your day.
How to spot “The Sales Rep” at your gym:
Jill will be hanging out in weight loss central, i.e. the cardio and abs area, ready to pounce on her next target.
2. The Model
The model arrives at the gym with a full face of make-up, and performs around 10 reps per 100 selfies.
And yes, that’s just the guys.
In fact, I’d like to point out that guys genuinely are the worst culprits!
About six years ago when I was working at the front desk of a local gym, I watched three grown men attempt to find the best selfie angle to make them look more muscular. The whole process lasted around 20 minutes, even the Pec Deck they were sat on was wondering why no reps had been performed.
PRO TIP! If they spent those twenty minutes training hard, they wouldn’t need to waste such a long time trying to find an angle to make them look more muscular, because they would simply be more muscular.
The other issue here, of course, is that you can’t filter real life.
(At least, not yet. And then God help us.)
See, I’ve always been puzzled why some people fool themselves with a false sense of satisfaction gained from photographs which use misleading angles, dozens of filters, etc. Treating the gym like a photo shoot, in order to gain the approval of others.
But it turns out it’s a real condition (selfitis), as discussed in this post from earlier this year.
Your gym’s resident model is straddling the boderline between ego and illness, and there’s no stopping them.
They use so many filters that if they ever go missing the authorities are never gonna be able to find ’em.
How to spot “The Model” at your gym:
Guys will be queuing up for the magic mirror in the gym bathroom that makes everyone look shredded. Girls will be doing what I can only describe as Instagram squats. Think duck pout, bum sticking out at near pornographic levels, and the token camera phone placed at the bottom of the squat rack to capture “Booty Cam”.
3. The Askhole
Ever had a guy interrupt your set to ask for workout advice, only to carry on doing exactly what he was doing in the first place?
That’s classic Askhole.
At first, you might be tempted to take it personally.
“… Is he saying my tips were s**t?”
But if you continue to watch his behaviour, you’ll notice that he goes around the entire building finding out how everybody else trains so he can, you know, ignore it.
The Askhole is a distant cousin of another great gym character, The Teacher.
I’ll cover him in more depth in the sequel to this article (soon), but there are a few subtle differences to tell them apart.
While your local Askhole merely listens to your advice then ignores it, the Teacher prefers a much more direct approach to kicking you in the teeth.
He stalks the gym like a lion, looking for weak antelope who will listen as he lectures them on how they’re doing everything wrong and need to train how he trains.
On a particularly good day, he’ll drop in a classic line about how he “could have went pro.”
How to spot “The Askhole” at your gym:
He’ll find you. He’ll think nothing of breaking international gym law by interrupting you mid-set, casually gesturing you to remove your headphones, so he can quiz you on the best exercises to get bigger arms. Then he will disregard everything you say and carry on with his set of full body biceps swings.
4. The Core Bro
Once upon a time, a heavy barbell squat was a great way to train your whole body.
Heck, who am I kidding?
It still is!
Coupled with the deadlift, it’s an exercise which has the unique ability to hit almost every major muscle group in one go.
But that was once upon a time.
Nowadays, it’s not good enough.
You just hit a new PB?
Well done. But could you do it while standing on half a Swiss ball? While drinking a protein shake? On fire?
Yeah, welcome to the world of functional fitness.
Performing functional movements is great for strengthening weak points, but there’s an alarming number of people in the fitness industry who have seemingly bastardized this term in order to over-complicate exercises without good reason.
I call this guy Core Bro.
A man so “functional” even his shoelaces are mini resistance bands.
You’ll find him scaling the gym like one of those creepy wall-crawling zombies from Resident Evil, occasionally dropping down to shout “engage your core!” at unsuspecting members of the public.
He loves to ramp the awkward factor up to 11 by making full eye contact as he performs a dragon flag off the end of a squat rack while you’re using it, or making a set of biceps curls look like the latest Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible stunt.
So let me clear this up..
An exercise doesn’t automatically become functional if we perform it on a wobbly surface. It should be deemed functional if it helps you get closer to your desired goal.
That means “functional” is subjective to the individual.
A bodybuilder could see a dumbbell flye as functional because it allows him/her to target their pecs to a great degree. A powerlifter could see a barbell squat as functional because it will help him/her become stronger in a movement they are going to compete in.
Likewise, Core Bro’s insistence on saying he’s “training for life” could be seen as functional, too, as it accomplishes his goal of sounding like an atomic douche.
How to spot “The Core Bro” at your gym:
He’s the Coldplay-looking dude wearing five finger indoor shoes, and calling food “fuel”.
Supperman arrives at the gym with a king size bag that wouldn’t make it through customs.
Interestingly, he carries that big motherf**ker with him as he trains.
Gotta get those pre / intra / post BCAAs and whey protein, bro. Haven’t you read Men’s Health?
Yep, Supperman has fallen victim to the cash vortex that is the supplement industry.
An industry which has the audacity to present itself as a solution to the muscle building woes of the masses, despite being one of the biggest causes of it.
What started out as a convenient way to get the essentials into your diet, quickly turned into a battlefield of misinformation which now claims you need to take everything in order to build muscle.
Well, not everything…
They’ll happily tell you that their latest whey protein, creatine, pre workout, BCAAs, etc will get you in the same shape as Mr. Olympia, but they won’t mention the stack of “Vitamin S” he’s also using.
Supperman is a close friend of another gym favourite: Captain Appmerica.
Cap arrives at the gym with so many trackers, wearables and apps he may have spent the morning battling Jean-Claude Van Damme on the set of Universal Soldier.
6. The Bus
The red face.. The crazy eyes.. And then you hear it..
I swear I was once about to begin a set when I absolutely s**t myself as the guy on the adjacent bench let out a hiss so loud I thought the number 12 bus had just pulled up beside me.
No one knows the true origin of this sound, but The Bus is often found working out with another great character: The Screamer.
The Screamer classes his ego as a muscle group which must be trained every day.
You see, it’s not just about lifting a heavy weight. It’s about you knowing he’s lifting a heavy weight.
He’s the guy who’s Facebook profile lists his place of education as “school of hard knocks”.
How to spot “The Bus” at your gym:
Simply remove your headphones. But watch out for The Askhole when you do.
7. The Shirt Lifter
Fair play, you have abs.
I know the sacrifice involved (unless you’re one of the many guys who’s just skinny, in which case GTFO).
But either you suffer from a rare medical condition that causes you to need to wipe your brow with your shirt every time a girl walks by, or you’re just being a total c*ckwaffle.
And my money is on the latter.
And there you have it!
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