7 PEOPLE YOU’LL MEET (AND HATE) AT THE GYM
Gyms are filled with wonderful characters, and today I want to pay tribute to them.
From the guy who sweats more than a glassblower’s a** crack, to the lad who’s snorting pre workout while telling everyone he doesn’t have a problem.
I love them all. They may be annoying as f**k, but without them gyms just wouldn’t be gyms.
In this article I’m going to share my 7 favorites with you, let’s see if any of these characters also exist in your place of iron worship.
1. THE SALES REP
Have you ever engaged in light conversation with the person on the next treadmill?
That’s a daunting experience in itself, because you don’t know which end of the stranger danger scale you’re going to get.
In an ideal world, you’ve just made a new buddy and morning cardio will never be dull again because you guys can smash the calories together like Rocky & Apollo.
But we don’t live in an ideal world, so you can dash those hopes.
We live in a world where Gwyneth Paltrow is considered a “health expert” for cramming diamond rocks up her lady garden.
So you get the other end of the scale.
Turns out your new pal Jill is a Herbalife rep, and you’re not actually having a conversation with her, you’re being screened. By the time you leave the treadmill you’ll have a free sample of detox tea which promises to melt belly fat and an earful of nonsense about how Jill’s living her #dreamlife.
Bad-a** you in your head wants to say “No thanks, Jill, you can f**k all the way off!”, but dumb-a** you in real life says “Thanks, yeah, I’ll have a look and let you know!”…
Your politeness is your #1 weakness, and Jill knows it. Your inability to say no leads to weeks of exercising at obscure times of day in the hope of avoiding Jill at any cost.
HOW TO SPOT THE SALES REP AT YOUR GYM:
Jill will be hanging out in the cardio & abs area ready to pounce on her next victim.
2. THE INSTA-MODEL
With a work ratio of 5 reps per selfie, this character has a very specific goal in mind at the gym.
They don’t want to train hard. Training hard sucks. Besides, it’s f**king hard.
Instead, they want to convince YOU they’re training hard. That’s where the real glory lies.
By the way, contrary to bulls**t gender stereotyping, I’d like to point out that this character is usually always A GUY.
Man, in my near-20 years working in gyms, I can confirm that guys and mirrors (and now phone screens) are a deadly combination. I once watched three guys spend 21 minutes trying to find the best photo angle to make them look shredded as they used a Pec Deck.
PRO TIP! If they spent more time training and less time snapping, they’d find it much easier to look more muscular, because they would simply be it.
It’s not always men, of course.
A friend of mine recently dated a girl he met online, and was quick to point out that she looked entirely different in real life to the persona displayed on social media. One day while training legs, he dropped the immortal line:
“Mate, if she ever gets kidnapped the milk carton is gonna look f**k all like here. She’ll be lost forever!”
HOW TO SPOT THE MODEL AT YOUR GYM:
The lasses will be performing Instagram Squats – duck pout, butt out, iPhone positioned for booty cam. The lads will be in the changing rooms, queuing up to take selfies in the magic mirror that has percect lighting and makes everyone look shredded as f**k.
3. THE ASKHOLE
Have you ever had someone interrupt your workout to ask for training advice, only to carry on doing exactly what they were doing in the first place?
That’s classic Askhole.
At first, you may be offended.
But don’t be. He’ll go round the whole gym trying to discover what everyone else is doing so he can, you know, ignore it.
The Askhole is a distant cousin of another great gym character; The Teacher.
Unlike your local Askhole, The Teacher prefers a more direct approach. He stalks the gym like a lion, looking for weak antelope to lecture on how they’re “doing everything wrong” and need to train how he trains “otherwise they’ll get no results”, despite the fact he has no results.
HOW TO SPOT THE ASKHOLE AT YOUR GYM:
He’ll find you. He’ll break international gym law by interrupting you mid set, gesturing for you to remove your headphones so he can quiz you on the best exercises to get bigger arms. Then he’ll ignore everything you say, and carry on with his full body biceps swings.
4. THE CORE BRO
Core Bro bounces around the gym like a superhero. If you can’t see him, look up.
Because why do a push up, when you can do a wall-mounted zero gravity press..? With a Swiss ball between your ankles… while drinking a protein shake… that’s on fire.
Heck this guy is so ‘functional’ even his shoe laces are resistance bands.
Over the years, I’ve come to hate the term functional fitness. It’s a meaningless term, often used simply to over-complicate an exercise. You see, the end goal determines whether an exercise is ‘functional’, not how many balls or bands you’re using. To a bodybuilder hoping to grow his/her arms, even a goold old biceps curl is ‘functional’.
Core Bro’s insistence on telling everyone he meets that he’s “training for life” is functional if his end goal is to sound like an atomic douche.
HOW TO SPOT THE CORE BRO AT YOUR GYM:
He’s the Coldplay-looking guy wearing five finger shoes, calling food ‘fuel’.
5. SUPPPLEMENT STEVE
You won’t have to look for this character, you’ll hear him coming. Steve carries a bag that rattles so much it’d struggle to pass through customs.
Stranger still, he carries that big motherf**ker around with him while he trains.
Yes, Steve’s all about those pre / post / intra workout BCAAs and whey protein. Unfortunately, he’s fallen victim to the money suck that is the supplement industry, and Steve now believes he’s wasting his time in the gym unless he’s pumping ten different pills and powders in and around his workout.
The supplement industry started out as a more convenient way to get the essentials (protein, creatine, etc), but has since degenerated into a free-for-all with manufacturers claiming you need to take everything to build muscle.
Well, almost everything…
Because they’ll happily list the supplement requirements of Mr. Olympia for you to buy, while conveniently avoiding the absolute f**k-tonne of vitamin ‘S’ they’re also using.
Supplement Steve is a close pal of another great gym character; Captain App-merica. Cap enters the gym with so many gadgets and trackers he could well 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 was once setting up to bench press when I absolutely s**t myself as the guy on the adjacent bench let out a hiss so deafening I thought the number 12 bus had just pulled up beside me.
It was so convincing I almost climbed on.
Nobody knows the true origin of this sound, but The Bus is often found working out with The Screamer; a character who classes his ego as a muscle group, one which must be trained every single day. See, it’s not just about lifting a heavy weight… it’s about you knowing he’s doing it. He’s the guy who lists his place of education as “school of life” on Facebook.
HOW TO SPOT THE BUS AT YOUR GYM:
Remove your headphones and listen up – but watch out for The Askhole when you do.
7. THE SHIRT LIFTER
Fair play, you have abs. I know the sacrifice involved.
You go girl / guy / unidentified gender.
But here’s the thing…
Either you suffer from a rare genetic condition that forces you to lift your shirt to wipe your brow EVERY TIME a girl walks by, or you’re a total c**kwaffle. My money’s on the latter.
There you go! My list of 7 people you’ll meet in every gym.
I’ve always been a bit of a saddo when it comes to analyzing human behavior, so I hope this post provided you with some amusement. If you’re bored as you smash your morning cardio, I recommend ditching Netflix on your phone and people watching instead. You won’t be disappointed with the conveyor belt of beautifully over-the-top personalities who populate your gym and bring a smile to your face.
I think it’s awesome that these characters can be found in almost any gym, too. Perhaps my Granda was right when he told me:
“Russ, always remember you are totally unique. Just like everyone else.”
But before I go, I want to make it clear that none of these characters are based on you. You’re cool. You read my website. You’re double cool.
I’m talking about them… those guys… OK?
So not you. And definitely not me.