Top 10 People You See At The Gym
July 26, 2010 | Lists
We’re the kind of guys who believe treadmills are best used in metaphors. But we have been known on occasion to spend an uncomfortable hour in a gym two or three days a week for a month or so, just enough time to shush the guilt one sometimes feels over having the personal fitness level of a sea cucumber.
Customers like us are essential to the operations of a gym as no fitness club in the world would be able to accommodate every one of the customers on its rolls if they all decided to show up at once for a good sweat. They depend on people taking out expensive yearly contracts out of guilt and a desire not to have a stroke by winter, visit a few times, and then forget all about it. It should be noted too that many fitness clubs if not the vast majority are affiliated with criminal enterprise, as signing a load of bogus names up for memberships is a good way of laundering money.
While the prospect of being mobile after the age of 40 does hold a certain allure, gyms are simply not the kind of places we enjoy visiting on a regular basis. Fitness clubs have an artificial feel to them, created as they were to help keep our muscles from atrophying in the way that honest labor used to before the age of cubicles and repetitive strain injuries. They wouldn’t be so bad though if they were just big empty rooms full of exercise equipment and posters of people who in no way resemble you. To quote Charles Bukowski quoting John Paul Sartre: “Hell is other people. Right on and through the target.” Other people ruin the gym experience, and they are all of a type. Here are the Top 10 People You See at the Gym!
10. The criminal
Along with strip clubs, auto mechanic’s garages and roofer conventions, gyms are a great place for your average Joe to meet criminals. As mentioned above, fitness clubs are a popular choice of business for criminals looking to put a bit of an honest sheen on their filthy lucre and as such they are often full of criminals. Ever notice that grunting guy with no neck who is there no pumping iron at different times every day and seems to have no regular work? Chances are he has at one point in the not too distant past caused the loose change to fall out of someone’s pockets by dangling them upside-down off the side of a balcony or strong-armed someone with debts incurred along perv row.
9. Mr (or Mrs) Multimedia
This guy has spent too much money on his electronic devices not to use them every waking moment of his life. Not wanting to risk being alone with his own thoughts for even a moment, Mr Multimedia can be seen with earphones in, chatting obnoxiously away on his iPhone or entering a more detailed musical program into the device than the collected works of Rodgers and Hammerstein.
8. The button pusher.
A close cousin of Mr Multimedia, the button pusher will oversee the pecking of the treadmill console as if he’s landing a 747 in heavy fog. None of the preset settings meet his exacting standards, and he will often temper his pace to facilitate his use of the controls.
Unless you’re Oprah-rich and are able to hire one to come home with you and snatch sandwiches out of your clutches, it’s unlikely that you’ll have much use for a personal trainer. In fact, most gyms trainers could be replaced by a poster beside each machine showing how to use it in a way that physically benefits you the most and that will not result in something heavy falling on your toes. But there is always the overzealous trainer at all gyms, someone who makes Burgess Meredith’s approach to training Rocky seem downright coddling. Supposedly, they are good for motivation, but we can’t think of anything that would motivate us out the door quicker than some guy with a squeeze water bottle trying to get us to do another 10 ab crunches.
6. The undiscovered talent.
The standard here to be seen type. This can either be a man or a woman at the gym in the hopes of finding bed company, or someone who thinks his physique has developed to the point that merely displaying it in public will somehow get him a bodybuilding contract and his own line of dodgy exercise equipment.
Usually seen with a weight-belt, the groaner sweats like he’s been kidnapped by Al Qaeda and is about as congenially disposed. About the size of your average Pamplona bull and as single-minded, the groaner will bench press his weight, your weight and the crushing weight of his latent sexual frustrations—and often drop dumbbells to the floor once he’s done enough reps. Steer clear of the groaner, unless there is some piece of equipment that is pinning down one of your extremities and he’s within earshot of your blood-curdling screams.
4. The naked guy.
Seems to have signed up for a gym membership just so he can stroll around naked in the changeroom like an emperor at the Roman baths.
A human backed up toilet of perspiration, the sweater will have to wipe down the equipment after merely standing over it.
2. The geek.
Wears a fanny pack, socks pulled up to his thighs and a headband that screams “let’s get physical”, which, as far as we’re concerned means fightin’ words and an elbow to the face.
1. The newbie.
Comes in around the first week of January, tears a muscle and undergoes the kind of rehab that keeps steroid-abusing NFLers in such high demand during the regular season.