Work It On Out: Annoying Gym Companions

The gym, by virtue of being a relatively small enclosed space that requires sharing, tends to bring out the worst in people.  Here are my top-ten least favorite fitness foes.

Adonis – Adonis is my special nickname for the most obnoxious guy in my Zumba class.  Don’t worry though, he goes to your gym, too.  This guy is built, he spends a lot of time at the gym, and he loves it.  He loves to let his long curly hair flow while he thrusts dramatically during Zumba.  He loves to wear tight tank tops that show off not only his biceps, but his lustrous back hair.  Adonis loves to dance at the front of the class, even though he is routinely going left when he should be going right.  The instructor may point it out, but he doesn’t care because he is Adonis and he LOVES THE DAHNCE!

Sweaty Guy – This is the guy that if the only machine available is the one next to him, you just turn around and go home unless you brought your poncho.  There was one at a gym I attended who actually had to place towels all around his machine, but that didn’t prevent him from flinging sweat all over his neighbors.  Locker room gossip was that he spent time in the steam room prior to his workout.  One can assume it was to maximize his personal precipitation.  Sweat Guy may or may not be courteous enough to wipe down his machine after use.

Fickle Fred/Two-Pump Charlie – Fickle Fred and his compatriot Two-Pump Charlie are two sides of the same coin.  Fickle Fred just can’t decide which machine he wants to use.  Leg press? Maaaybe.  He’ll walk over. Look at it. Touch it. Move on to “¦ hmm “¦ let’s see? Shoulder press?  He’s always in the way and interrupting your routine.  Two-Pump Charlie may be a Fickle Fred, or he may have a plan set out.  A plan to do two reps at every machine.  Usually at a much lighter weight than he could stand.  TPC may be very dramatic about the whole procedure – wearing the weight lifting gloves and the whole shebang.  He may also occupy the machine for a long time between two-pump sets.

Barbie in a blue spandex leotard with workout gear

Victoria’s Secret/Ed Hardy Model – The Ken and Barbie of the gym.  Vickie wears head-to-toe PINK and never exercises without makeup.  And for Ed, sunglasses inside are a must.  Both are likely to answer their cell phone while on the treadmill. And to flirt with each other, non-stop.  Vickie’s goal at the gym is to look as cute as possible while swinging her pony tail.  Ed’s is to be the most visible gym-goer, and he usually succeeds.

Rulez Don’t Apply – 30-minute time limit on popular machines during busy hours? Not for this girl! You don’t understand, she NEEDS to run for a full hour or she doesn’t feel like she got a good workout! Oh, she sees you passive-aggressively glaring at her in the mirror but she does not care.  You can wait for someone else’s machine, she is run-ning!  Also liable to leave her towel on the floor of the locker room. Note: may inspire fitness fury in you if you get on the machine next to her and imagine the consequences of pushing her emergency stop button.  “Work Out Summary, BITCH!”

Couch Potato – Just being at the gym burns calories right?  Even if you’re just sitting on a machine, not using it in the slightest, and reading your Kindle?  This guy hopes so!

Check Yo’self (Out) Guy – This is one of the most inexplicable to me, because of the dance that they all do.  I have been to a number of gyms in a number of different areas, and the routine is always the same.  Do a few curls.  Strut towards the mirror. Flex or examine muscles.  Strut back to weights.  Lather, Rinse, Repeat.  Check Yo’self may be an Adonis or an Ed Hardy model, but  not always.  Note: actual muscles not required.

The Grunter – Sometimes when I am trying to push myself at the gym, I envision a guy I saw on a treadmill one time yelling “Push It!” at himself.  It doesn’t usually help me go faster, but I take comfort in knowing that at least I’m not that annoying.

Gossip Girls – At my gym, these women usually go to the classes to check out the hottie instructor.  They spend the entire time talking about cheese fries and stop doing any exercise that’s the least bit challenging.  They drain the motivation of both the class and hottie instructor.  And they always make me want cheese fries.

31 replies on “Work It On Out: Annoying Gym Companions”

Aww my dad is totally the Couch Potato. He wears super fancy gym clothing then sits on the recumbent bike for 45 minutes and reads his Kindle while sort of slowly pedaling. He means well and he isn’t in anyone’s way and he’s my dad so I think it’s cute when he does it.

Personally though I want to swing a kettlebell into the face of anyone talking on their cell phone in the weight room. It’s really distracting and it’s not like it’s possible to lift while on the phone so take it outside!

This is one of the many reasons I love crossfit or any other high intensity cross training workout style. People go to my gym to work out or lay half dead for a few minutes after a really tough workout but you’ll never see a Barbie or Adonis mainly because you’re too busy trying to keep up while not puking your guts out.

How about the people who don’t clear their barbells, put their weights back correctly, or wipe down their machines and benches? I am forever clearing the barbells in my gym, which is of course filled with dudes who love the 45 lb. plates regardless of whether they can actually lift with them.

The worst thing at my gym is gossiping people (usually women, but def. not always) strolling slowly around the indoor track, heedless of lanes, causing traffic jams for running and/or powerwalking people trying to pass them. And this gets much worse if the gossip walkers try to pass someone doing lunges down the straightaway and if at the same time a pair of runners approach–there are only four lanes and now there are five people and two of them didn’t notice that they should stay in a lane to begin with! GYM CRISIS!

Oh, the Sweaty Guy. I know that you can’t help how much you sweat, and I certainly do my fair share, but one time I was on the treadmill and a guy got onto the treadmill next to me (the entire row was free, he had a good 7 treadmills to choose from) and began sweating all over me and my treadmill as well as his own. He was running hard and getting a great workout, so I know sweat is to be expected, but no exaggeration, I was getting showered with it. I didn’t want to be rude and switch treadmills and make him feel bad, so I ended up stopping early.

I worked out at my community center for a while (like six months?) and it was all old people and stay-at-home women, and it was FABULOUS. No waiting for machines, no one too obnoxious and sweaty or aggressive or vain, and a super friendly supportive atmosphere in the group fitness classes. It was awesome.

My current favorite is The Observer–a woman who accompanies her boyfriend to the gym to watch him work out.

My gym time coincides with hers, apparently. She shows up in full gym regalia and a Venti (no joke!) and fetches equipment/weights for her boyfriend.

I was quite curt with her when I needed the weight bench she’d firmly planted her ass on. Bitch, this ain’t courtside at the Lakers game. MOVE!

I will never, NEVER understand the Victoria’s Secret thing. There is one young woman who comes into my gym that wears the cute little outfit, brings her purse with her and types away on her phone the entire time. She gets on the bike and never goes over .02 mph. She barely fucking pedals. Why bother? The capper is that we both work out on our lunch hours and there are rarely any guys in there, so I have no clue who she’s doing it for. It drives me crazy.

You didn’t mention two of my least favorites:

1) The perfume wearer who is oblivious to the fact that walking around a gym smelling like 5 year old who got into her big sister’s make-up drawer is making everyone miserable. Everyone in a gym stinks – get over it.

2) The guys who can’t use the rowing machines properly. I was a rower in college, so I know I’m being overly picky about this, but it makes me nuts. There’s a diagram on the machine to show you how to do it. I’ve seen men flail around so hard on rowing machines that it’s hard to tell if he’s rowing the machine or the machine is rowing him.

I rowed in college too — and it IS infuriating. What was even worse were the trainers at my former gym who encouraged the underhand, jerky rowing that people would do. “Oh, it’s good for your upper body!” How about “Oh, it totally defeats the purpose of the machine and you can hurt yourself!”

I do see the “gossip girls” types who put minimum effort into exercising, complain if it’s too hard, use really light weights instead of pushing themselves more to get stronger, and spend more time talking to each other than exercising while in class. I don’t care what other do with their exercise time, but I do notice this. I would just think they see the gym as more of a social hour than really getting sweaty or working out harder.

I’ve definitely been the Fickle Fred, hence why I now only work out by taking lots of dance and yoga classes. I just get bored intimidated by the machines and I just wind up wandering around looking at them! I liked to tell myself no one noticed what I was doing but now I’m sure they were all rolling their eyes at me.

The Gossip Girl / VS Model hybrid is pretty common at my campus’s rec center. One quarter, the same three girls stood behind me in TurboKick every week, and every week they didn’t even try to do half the moves, they just stood there redoing their pony tails and talking. It can be a challenging class if you’re brand new and not familiar with the moves, but I didn’t get the impression that they had trouble following along, just that they didn’t really care, or didn’t care about it as much as they cared about their hair.

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