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Upon a recent visit to the gym, during one of my many long breaks between sets, I realized that my gym has more recurring characters than Grand Theft Auto. Similar to Grand Theft Auto, these characters seem to appear in every gym, regardless of time, location, or type of gym. I’ve been to a Gold’s Gym in Seattle and I’m a member of a cheap $19/month here in the Upstate of SC area. Having also been a supervisor at a gym while in college, I feel pretty qualified and have narrowed the gym crowd down to 10 species.
I ran into a group of these guys tonight, therefore I am fired up enough to write a quick dissertation on the grunter. The grunter makes sure that everyone in the gym hears every single one of his reps. Usually looking like he just got off the set of Jersey Shore, the grunter is normally accompanied by a group of his grunting friends, who scream “You got one more!” during every set, followed by high-fives and chest bumps. Look, Ronnie, this isn’t tennis. Sounding like two wookies making love doesn’t make you lift more; it just makes you look like more of a douche. Lock it up, put a sock in it, and lift normal like the rest of us.
2. The Professional Lifter
This guy is often a grunter himself, but you wouldn’t dare say anything to him about it. This guy reads “Muscle and Fitness” on his way to his first workout at 5am before work, and “Iron Man” on the way home from his 7pm workout. Another similarity to the grunter is that this guy usually has a posse of other professional lifters that somehow do “work” work between their workouts, plural. However, these guys at least know what they’re doing and aren’t concerned with letting the gym know about it. Kind of like how big dogs are calm, while the yorkies are the grunters have to bark loud. Just let ’em be, watch in awe, and try not to catch them in the parking lot when their ‘roid rage kicks in.
3. The Unprepared Guy
The unprepared guy is usually found within a close radius of the professional or grunter, and is usually trying their hardest to talk while working out. “Hey what kind of protein powder do you drink?” “Do you do creatine?” “You doin’ legs or upper body today?” He is trying his hardest to fit in. However, this guy is usually found in two different types, either ridiculously underprepared or over-prepared.
i. Underprepared- This guy either just joined the gym or works out for one week before skipping four. Probably makes the New Year’s Resolution every year to get in shape to no avail. He comes in cargo shorts, Timberlands, maybe a Bon Jovi tee from the ’80s, and zero hope of success. He won’t last long, because he’ll either lose motivation or pull his back out trying to hang-clean with the grunters.
ii. Over-prepared This guy is on the other side of the spectrum and is even worse in my opinion. Fresh out of GNC with a trunk full of supplements and every workout accessory invented, this guy probably just watched the workout scenes in Rocky on a 6-hour loop. He came to play. He’ll pre-game with some creatine, strap on the back strap and the gloves, put on the Under Armour everything, and lift that 30-pound barbell with force. Often a grunter himself, this guy will probably lose motivation as quick as he got it. Let him have his fun while it lasts; another fad will come along to distract him enough from lifting and he’ll give it up until next New Year’s.
4. The Biggest Loser
Oh, Biggest Loser. I hate to make fun of you, but you’re fun to make fun of. This guy watched a few too many Kirstie Allie motivational speeches on YouTube and a little too much Celebrity Fat Camp. Man, I miss that show, by the way. Good stuff. Anyway, society and your conscience will tell you not to look at or laugh at this guy, but his morbid obesity and pungent smell will force you to. When I was a supervisor, I was convinced one of these guys was gonna have a heart attack on the treadmill and I’d have to do compressions on Jabba the Hut. You wish the best for this guy, but unfortunately the hill he has to climb might just be too much, figuratively and literally.
5. “Skip Legs Day” Guy
Often found in the packs of grunters and the unprepared, these guys look essentially like pink flamingos. This guy wants no part of any squats or leg curls, and is typically found hogging the bench press machine. I guess he figures that the most common question to people that workout is “How much can you bench?” so he’s putting all his chips on that hand. Congrats, you can bench 400 and curl about the same, but from the hips down you’re essentially Bill Gates. Another ironic similarity to Bill Gates is that the “Skip Legs Day” guy is usually self-conscious about his manhood, so he’s probably “Microsoft” down there as well. HEY-O.
6. Old Ripped Dude
Now this guy just makes you feel horrible. This guy retired 5 years ago and has spent every hour in the gym since. I have respect for these guys though. They usually do have a good looking chick with them. You gotta figure, if the guy has enough time for a workout from 2-5pm on a Wednesday, he probably did pretty well for himself. All love for the old dude aside, this guy will make you want to just give up. You’re 23 and this guy is making you look like a pussy. While you’re throwing up 135 on the bench, this guys loading up his third set of 325. This guy might live to see 105, but he’s gonna spend the majority of his those years inside the confines of a gym, so I’m not sure about his life planning there, kinda like the old people in your college classes. If you’re 65 going on 85, why are you spending your last breaths inside a classroom beating up your brain or in a gym beating yourself up physically? Go on vacation, dude.
7. Machine Hogger
This guy seriously makes me want to punch kittens. If you really are just staring at the “hot chick” which we will get to here in a minute, that’s one thing. But it’s rarely the case. Here’s the situation: You finish up one set of an exercise, head to the machine you like, and low and behold it’s taken. “No big deal. I’ll go hit shoulders and come back.” *20 minutes later* Still fucking there. Often found on his cell phone, probably posting a selfie to Facebook with the hashtags #workout and #motivation, he hasn’t budged. So now you’re faced with a dilemma. Do you ask/tell him you want to switch out, or go hit something else? If you switch up your workout again, it’s gonna be all fucked up. If he’s got headphones on, you have to do that awkward wave move to get his attention. Plus, switching out with a stranger on a machine is always weird to me. It’s kind of like switching out on the toilet after each turd. It’s sort of a personal area, especially if the guy is sweating profusely. So normally you’ll let this guy win the Cold War, head to another machine on the opposite side of the gym, then see him get up and another guy swoop in. He’s definitely one of the worst gym species.
8. Ripped Chick
When it comes to girls and working out, there is a very fine line between sexy and scary. Kind of like rims on a car, or boobs, there is such thing as too much. A nice set of 22”s on a Tahoe or a nice, bulbous, Brazilian ass can be a good thing. However, lift the Tahoe and put 28”s on it, or in this case the chick who bench presses 225-pounds, and more is definitely less. Once a chick crosses that threshold of fit to ripped, it’s an instant turn off. At least for me.
9. Weekend Warrior
If you’re like me, you’ve hopefully identified with several of the above vermin that inhabit your local gym. So we’re gonna finish this off with a couple of the jewels that are in every gym, as both an educational opportunity and a chance to lower that blood pressure. I am a proud member of the weekend warrior sect of gym rats. But don’t let the word “weekend” fool you. We are not found in the gym on the weekends. I say weekend warrior for two reasons: 1. In golf, this refers to someone that isn’t an expert, but knows their way around the course. 2. We are warriors of our local bars on the weekends, thus the work week is our chance to mend/prepare our bodies for the next weekend. The weekend warrior is what I believe every man should be. Work out the beach muscles and enough to keep the flab off and not become the “Biggest Loser” guy, but not so much that it interferes with work or fun. Essentially, we are trying to optimize our work/fun ratio. If you’re at the gym too much, that’s taking away from prime drinking/sitting on your ass time. Not enough, you’re gonna develop a beer gut and never hook up with anything hotter than a six. We’re the most economically efficient when it comes to time in the gym to optimize cholesterol levels and chill/pull ratios. We are the Steve Jobs of workouts. Simple, to the point, and not a lot of fluff in between.
10. Hot Chick
Saved the best for last. Often my only motivation for going to the gym, this girl is the equivalent to the weekend warrior for dudes. She’s in there enough to keep her summer beach body, but not enough to become Ronda Rousey. Focusing primarily on arms, ass, abs, and cardio, she’s training to become Candice Swanepoel, not a starter on a Lingerie football team. Nice tight Norts in the summer, and the wonderful, blissful, perfect amount of class and ass that are yoga pants for winter. Even better is the fact that gyms are lined with mirrors, so shameless staring is even easier to get away with. She knows this as well, and isn’t afraid to do a feel leg extensions in front of one. Like a Ferrari carving up the side of a Tuscan mountain, she is beauty in her element. Thank you, hot chick, for giving us guys a reason to go to the gym and stay longer. If every gym had a designated hot chick for every hour of the day, the nationwide obesity rate would plummet. They are doing a selfless service for our community when you think about it. Here’s to you, hot gym chick.