Anyone who’s been to the gym has seen these individuals. At a glance, nothing in particular really distinguishes them from the other gym goers. By every measure, they are basically ordinary. But you’ll know them when you see ‘em because they all have one thing in common: Sooner or later, they engage in some weirdass behavior that exhibits an utter lack of awareness for their surroundings and a total disregard for other people. The following perpetrators are the worst:
THE GRUNTER: You may not have seen him, but you’ve definitely heard him. When he lifts, he doesn’t just breathe heavy or strain, he wails like a tortured animal. There’s the kind of grunt that you make when you’re really pushing hard to power through a rep, and then there’s the low, awkward, animal sex grunt. It makes the rest of us uncomfortable and we aren’t impressed. Just...no.
THE EXCESSIVE SWEATER: (Is it raining outside?) Good for you, buddy. You’re in the zone. You’re getting an awesome workout! Way to burn off those calories. You’re sweating like Lindsey Graham watching Brokeback Mountain. But did you happen to notice the pool of sweat you left behind on that last machine you used? It’s great to get an intense workout, but do the rest of us a favor and wipe down the equipment after you use it.
THE EXECUTIVE: You’re a Captain of Industry but still make time for the treadmill. And if duty calls, you have no problem taking that call and staying on it for the rest of your workout. The rest of us love hearing the details of your business and social life. Please. Continue. The truth is, if you can talk for long stretches without getting winded, you’re probably not getting much cardio benefit anyway. So just take the call Gordon Gekko. And let someone else use the machine.
THE ROAD HOG: The gym is your kingdom and the rest of us are but squires and mere peasants of your domain. You dominate three pieces of equipment at once, rest on them between sets, and think it’s fine to leave your gym bag and street clothes right there on the floor next to you. No problem. Let me know if I’m in your way.
THE SELFIE COLLECTOR: Okay. You’re making progress. That’s great, you look good! Wanna’ snap a selfie or two? Be my guest. And remember, your workout doesn’t count if you don’t post it on social media. But if you’re taking five selfies at every machine, you’re making the rest of us roll our eyes. SMH. (You realize if we close Instagram, you won’t be a “fitness model” anymore, right?)
THE SPAZ: Donning coordinated spandex and carrying a gallon jug for a water bottle, this guy is everywhere at once. Nobody uses equipment like he does! Nor did the manufacturer ever intend anyone to use equipment like he does. Those aren’t cable flys, they’re cable launchers for a high wire act. Stand on a Swiss Ball and do overhead presses? Sounds like a great idea to me. This guy doesn’t do an exercise that’s recognizable, but he’s the only one in the gym doing it! The personal safety of those around him is a small price to pay for that kind of rugged individuality.
THE MAN-SPLAINER: We didn’t ask, but you’re giving us your opinion anyway. Thanks for the advice. I never would have guessed from your physique that you were an expert on exercise technique and good form. And all the women you offer exercise tips to seem really appreciative. I can tell by the way they look at you when you roll away.
THE LOCKER ROOM EXHIBITIONIST: Everyone will need to change clothes or shower at some point, and that’s perfectly fine. But you, well, you’re really just THAT comfortable with your naked body that you want us all to bask in your glory. No towel for you, you parade around the locker room in a way that the rest of us just can’t NOT see. You’re also the guy who finds it perfectly okay to use the hair dryer on his junk. Nice. I think I’ll skip my blow dry today and just wear a hat.
Philip Hitchcock is an independent, Certified Personal Trainer specializing in “Fitness after 40,” Resistance Training and Weight Loss. He maintains his own client base and is also the exclusive trainer for the Four Seasons Hotel. Check out HitchcockFitness.com