Oouueee! The range and diversity of folk that enter into hallowed sanctuary that is the gym can be quite diverse and intriguing sometimes. I think it is funny and interesting to see the different categories people naturally fall into or have decided to form for themselves. I have been going to different gyms for the best part of 15 years now and have seen some incredible, baffling, heroic, idiotic, and downright hilarious things during this time; but one thing that I always ask myself is: do others see what I am seeing? Are people aware they fall into certain categories, and if so, would they be happy with those categories? This is simply a fun article of observation and intrigue, and I do not mean any offence to anyone 😉
Noobie Nick: We have all been there and we can all relate to this guy when we see him shimmy through the doors on his first day, gaping around like a little rabbit caught in the headlights. “What are these, how do you do that, how do I get muscles there” all rattling around at 100 mph in this guy’s brain. Usually he is followed by an air of confusion, a bafflement about what this new alien environment is and does he belong here. He goes straight to the machines – the safe, safe machines. Oh how I love you machines, you have nice little pictures of what to do! Gradually he will creep further and further towards the free-weights area, leering over from a treadmill or stationary bike, keen to try out his new “build a six-pack in six weeks” routine from Men’s Health.
Injury Joe: Everyone has seen this guy! No lessons, no guidance from an instructor, he hasn’t even bothered looking up the abundance of YouTube videos online to teach him how to train properly. “Oh, how hard can it be, all you have to do is lift crap” is the mind-set of Joe. However, when you are unsure if he is squatting or doing a good-morning, you know this guy is in trouble. Oh no, what is he doing now…he is doing bench-press with a weight that is far too heavy for him without a spotter. Eeek! Phew, he realised it was too heavy and left to try out some bicep curls instead. You will see exercises that you have never seen before with this guy, but they are exercises that nobody should try! Let’s just hope he doesn’t kill someone else in the process.
Window Wanker: Yup, there are always tonnes of these in any gym I have been in; the guy that spends more time looking at himself in every single available mirror in the gym than he does lifting weight. Heck, even when he breaks eye-contact with himself for two minutes to check his phone he is still examining the vague reflection staring back at him. Narcissism has nothing on this guy! Or perhaps he is actually so encapsulated by the intricacies of reflecting light that he stares philosophically, contemplating quantum mechanics and the like. Probably doesn’t explain the muscle flexing and blowing kisses to himself though!
The Gawker: Similar to the window wanker, but this guy’s concern is not himself, it is every other person in the gym or sometimes he just zooms in on one poor unsuspecting soul. Have you ever felt like there is a leering set of eyes just gaping at you from across the room? What is his fascination I wonder, is it because you are benching or squatting more than him or perhaps one too many dumbbells dropped on his head earlier in the year? Oh good, he over staring at some woman’s bum and the treadmill now, free for a while!
Steroid Steve: Wow, I didn’t even know you could develop muscles there! Okay, everyone will know the guys that are definitely on the juice in your gym; generally they will have a Gold’s Gym tank-top, oiled up and fake-tan, and grunting like they are trying to mate with a wild boar in Papua New Guinea. These are the type of guys that the window wanker aspires to be. They would live in the gym if they could (and some try to!). Lifting is their life, and their life is developing more muscles… because who doesn’t need more muscles?
The Cardio Kid: No weights for me thank you my good sir! Who needs weights when you have an elliptical bicycle? Oh yes, you won’t catch this guy lifting any of those stupid weights or going on the resistance machines. No way! Not when you have the awesome routine of 5 minutes rowing, 5 minutes bicycle and 10 minutes running. And to think that he has the exact same physique as five years ago (chicken legs and arms, with a pot-belly). “Cardio is the only way to lose weight” he says, despite going up a jean-size this year. There is no talking to this guy so let him carry on watching re-runs of Friends while strolling on the cross-trainer.
Talkative Tim: Okay, so obviously gyms are social environments, but there is always one gym guy that you try to avoid because he talks to you for longer than the time you spend working out! Seriously though, I have never seen him even lifting weights, maybe he just comes into the gym to hang out. Oh phew, he is gone to annoy that poor guy that is going for his personal best in the squat-rack while trying to not have a hernia!
So there you have it, a few examples of the characters I see in my gym on a regular basis. Do you see similar people in your gym? Are they different from my descriptions? Are there other distinctive groupings that you always see in the gym?