My Granda once said to me:
“Russ, always remember you are totally unique…
… just like everybody else.”
As if that contradiction in terms wasn’t enough of a mindf**k, years later I discovered he was totally correct!
If you walk into any gym in the world, you will see a bunch of characters who all possess the same annoying traits.
(And yes, I love them for it.)
So today I’d like to pay homage to some of my favourite gym bodies.
Before we start, I want to make it clear that I’m not talking about 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.
1. The Sales Rep
You ever engage in light conversation with the person on the next treadmill?
This could go one of two ways.
In an ideal world you’ve just discovered your new best friend. Morning cardio will be much more fun, and you guys will smash the calories like Rocky and Apollo on the beach.
But we don’t live in an ideal world, do we?
We live in a world where Gwyneth Paltrow is considered a health expert. So you get the second way…
A few minutes deep into conversation, you realize that your new friend hasn’t had much input as you’ve blabbed on about your life. Yeah, see they’re not actually having a conversation at all, they’re f**king screening you.
Turns out “Jill” is one of the three worst people to get stuck in a lift with:
- Angry cat with machine gun
- Juice Plus rep
(Not even in that order.)
Yes, Jill is a Juice Plus rep; and now she’s you’re Juice Plus rep.
By the time you get off that treadmill, she’s already handed you a free sample of detox tea which promises to melt belly fat and tagged you in a dozen Facebook posts about three foods you should never eat.
Five minutes after escaping the gym, you’ve got a lengthy message about how she’s living her #dreamlife and you can too.
(Amazingly, you just gotta #askmehow and she’ll inbox you all the details.)
Here’s what you want to say:
“No thanks, Jill. You can f**k all the way off.”– Badass you in your head.
But here’s what you do say:
“Aw, thanks, yeah, I’ll give it a go and let you know how I get on.”– Dumbass you in real life.
Your politeness becomes your #1 weakness, and your inability to say no leads to weeks of training at obscure times of day in the hope of avoiding Jill at every cost.
How to spot THE SALES REP at your gym:
He/she will be hanging out in weight loss central (i.e. the cardio and abs area) ready to pounce on her next victim.
2. The Model
With a work ratio of 10 reps per hundred selfies, The Model arrives at the gym with one goal in mind; social media stardom.
(And yes, that’s just the guys.)
In fact, I’d like to point out that guys genuinely are the worst offenders here. About 7 years ago, I watched three grown men attempt to find the best selfie angle to make them look more muscular. The process lasted about twenty minutes.
PRO TIP!!! More time training hard = less time try to find magical angles and filters to make you look more muscular, because you would simply be more muscular.
One of my pals used to date a girl who’d take a picture and then slap so many filters on it, he once said the immortal line: “Mate, if she ever goes missing the milk carton is gonna look f**k all like her. She’ll be lost forever.”
However, it turns out that for some people this a real condition (selfitis), and it’s becoming increasingly common in this age of constant social media pressure to look perfect.
Your gym’s resident model is straddling the borderline between ego and illness, and there’s no stopping them.
How to spot THE MODEL at your gym:
Girls will be performing Instagram Squats (duck pout, bum out, camera phone at the end of the squat rack for Booty Cam). Guys will be queuing up for the magic mirror in the gym bathroom that makes everyone look shredded as f**k.
3. The Askhole
Ever had someone interrupt your workout to ask for training advice, only to carry on doing what they were doing in the first place?
That’s classic Askhole.
At first, you may be offended.
(“Is he saying my tips were rubbish?”)
But don’t worry. If you continue to watch, he goes around the entire facility trying to discover 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 here’s a quick heads up on the subtle differences which set them apart from each other.
While your local Askhole merely asks advice then ignores it, 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 you’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 casually disregard 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 is the superhero of the gym.
A man so “functional” even his shoelaces are mini resistance bands.
If you can’t see him when you enter the gym, look up. He’ll be scaling the walls like one of those zombie monsters from Resident Evil.
Why do a push up, when you could do a push up on half a Swiss ball?.. while drinking a whey protein shake?.. on fire?
Yeah, welcome to the world of functional fitness.
There’s an alarming number of personal trainers who have bastardized this term in order to over-complicate the hell out of exercises without good reason for doing so.
For this reason, I’ve come to despise the term functional fitness.
You see, an exercise is deemed functional if it provides a means to an end. That’s it. It doesn’t need to be something fancy or made up. If your goal is to build bigger arms, a biceps curl is functional. If your goal is to get a bigger squat, a hip thrust is functional.
Core Bro’s insistence of telling people he’s “training for life” is functional if his 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 training shoes, calling food ‘fuel’.
5. Supplement Steve
Supplement Steve arrives at the gym with a bag that rattles so much it would struggle to get past airport customs.
Stranger still, he carries that big motherf**ker around with him as he trains.
Yes, Steve’s all about those pre / post / intra workout BCAAs and whey protein.
Unfortunately, he’s fallen victim to the cash vortex that is the supplement industry, and Steve now believes that he’s wasting his time in the gym unless he’s pumping ten kinds of pills and powders around his workout.
It’s an industry which started out as a means to get the essentials into your diet very easily (protein, creatine, etc), but has since degenerated into a free-for-all with supplement companies claiming you need to take everything to build muscle.
Well, not everything…
Because they’ll happily list off the supplement requirements of Mr. Olympia while conveniently avoiding the f**k-tonne of vitamin S he’s using too.
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 Askholes when you do.
7. The Shirt Lifter
Fair play, you have abs.
I know the sacrifice involved.
Yo go girl / guy / unidentified gender.
But either you suffer from a rare condition that forces you to lift your shirt to wipe your brown every time a girl walks by, or you’re a total c**kwaffle.
And my money’s on the latter.
There you go! My list of 7 people you’ll meet in every gym.
If you’re bored as you smash your morning cardio, I recommend ditching Netflix on your phone and looking up. 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 enjoy seeing how people interact with each other (a.k.a. “people watching”). I’m a bit of a saddo when it comes to human behaviour.
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