One of the big incentives I have for going to the gym is to observe the wildlife there. I have collected some data about the people I am likely to see, and today I will present my findings.
You can mostly find these people around the weightlifting area. They lift about 500 pounds and then just pace around for 30 minutes until they approach the machine and nearly kill themselves lifting again. Then they go home. Although I don’t usually lift weights at the gym (I heft a 13-pound weight around the house all day long, thank you), I can’t imagine that this is an optimal fitness plan.
2. Friend Makers
At each gym I’ve been a member of, there has always been a guy who wants to strike up a conversation and make friends with any warm body available. Perhaps he wants to become king of the gym? I don’t know, but he does very little exercising and instead just bothers everyone who actually is. No matter how engrossed you appear to be with your book or iPod, he will target you and it’s hard to shake him if you engage him. This guy at my current gym kind of looks like Weird Al so whenever I see him moseying up to some unknowing person, I imagine him asking them if they’d like an accordion lesson or to hear the story of how he used to be fat.
3. The Ill-Dressed
There are a number of sub-species of this particular nomenclature (ie, girl who wears only sports bra but shouldn’t, 40-year-old man who still wears his high school track shorts, etc.), but I am focusing on the people who don’t seem to understand that corduroy pants do not proper gym attire make. Old people are really bad about this. In their travels through life, some of them never learned that button-down oxford blouses, khaki pants and Tevas with black socks are not optimal exercise apparel. But it’s not just old people. My younger brother always wears jeans, a wife beater, and Timberlands to the gym. No. Just no. I can’t even.
4. Gum Smackers
It is extremely easy to come off as a douche at the gym, even when you’re not. This is because very few people who are at the gym actually want to be, so they (and by “they” I mean “me”) spend their time there judging everyone who seems to be enjoying themselves/not having trouble. Thus enters the gum-chewer. If I am dying during Zumba and you are flying through the routine while still chomping your gum and barely sweating whatsoever, you are a douche. Plain and simple. You are also likely to be wearing shorts with “PINK” or “JUICY” across your butt. See # 3.
5. The Bored
Not to be confused with Pacers, who ought to be bored if they aren’t already, these are the people who come in with every iDevice available on the market, plus an e-reader, plus a hardcover book. Each are set up in its own little spot on the treadmill, where the Bored will walk for maybe 45 minutes. I can’t even justify bringing that much crap on a transcontinental flight.
6. The Fake Fish
At health clubs with pools, you will find people who swim only with flippers and fins that make them go faster. Why? Just why? You’re not racing anyone. Again, I’m not a swimmer so maybe there’s some secret real usage for these that I’m not aware of, but they seem like the equivalent of running with shoes with springs in them. Sorry, but the more unnecessary equipment you use, the doucheyer you look.
And last but not least:
7. The Coerced
You can always tell the people at the gym who are there because their doctor ordered it and their spouse found out and made them go. They do everything to counteract the health benefits of exercising. At one gym I used to go to, there was a group of 350-pound men who would stake out the stationary cycles where they’d drink coffee and talk about football. Occasionally they would pedal. Occasionally.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m writing this on Thursday, which is my off day at the gym, and I’ve already thought far too much about it.
Do you have any pet peeves about exercising at the gym?