August 6, 2011 by Kristen
As an exercise instructor and person who just enjoys working out in general, I have spent a bit of time at the gym. Regardless of the location–the demographic remains the same. Here are just a few of the characters you can expect to encounter:
The Archimedes of Exercise
This little “inventor” likes to create his own exercises. Exercises that should be done in the privacy of his own home–but since the gym appears to be his home, here we are. The rhythmic sound of a medicine ball being chucked against the cinderblock wall next to me is much like Rebecca Black’s “Friday.” The first time, I thought, “I’ve been transported to an alternate reality.” Annoyance came next. Finally, acceptance. I changed the pace of my sprints to coordinate with the downbeat of the incessant pounding. Oh, and did I just request “Friday” at my sister’s wedding? What.is.my.life.
The Jersey Shore
This guy was more common when I worked out on campus. Never works on cardio or lower body—he just chills by the bench press. Thank goodness the walls are mirrored–how else would he check out his rockin’ 6 pack in between sets? GTL.
Token Old Man
My personal favorite. In primarily female group exercise classes, there is usually one male senior citizen in attendance. At first you wonder why he is doing Zumba–but his constant encouraging exclamations of “Go girls!” and “We can do it!” makes him an endearing class mascot of sorts. (Note: he is more grandfatherly than creepy, if that’s what you’re thinking.) You admire his ability to rock multiple sweat bands and high-waisted cotton shorts. When you see him as a greeter at Meijer later that week, it all makes sense.
The (No) Music Man
This person makes me feel a mixture of pity and questioning. Emotions I don’t like to deal with at the gym. I first feel bad that said person is working out in complete silence, and I want to suggest that adding a little bit of Run DMC’s “It’s Tricky” to his workout could really up the ante. However, about 15 minutes into my cardio workout, the questions take over. What is this person thinking as he pedals in complete silence? Does he actually prefer the barely audible Top 40 tunage being piped through the gym’s speakers? Does his financial situation not permit him the luxury of an mp3 purchase? Maybe he’s praying? Or deaf? Now I’m as curious as George. But wait!–another 15 minutes just passed where I was distracted from my burning quads. Hats off to you, (No) Music Man.
Couples working out together can be (a) adorable or (b) a train wreck. Their placement within either category is generally determined by the length of their relationship. The longer you’ve been together, the more of a train wreck working out together is going to be. For example, “Young Boy” will look like an awkward little puppy when he joins “We’ve-Been-Dating-for-Two-Weeks- Girlfriend” in her Bikram Yoga class. He’s making a genuine attempt at the feathered peacock pose; she thinks it’s sweet that he’s trying–therefore: adorable. Fast forward a few years and you’ve got “Annoyed-Wanna-Be-Trainer” trying to force his wife to eek out 5 more squats while she gives him “the look.” She eventually exclaims that she’s not “his project” and maybe he should hit the showers because he’s sweating like a disgusting pig. (Funny how sweatiness can be a turn-on when you’re young & attractive…apparently when you’re older, not so much. Makes sense.)
Street Clothes Joe
This man looks so out of place in his khaki shorts and tucked in polo. I always wonder, “Were you driving past the gym and just thought, ‘Hey, I’ll squeeze in a quick workout. Right now.‘” Only plausible explanation for this phenomenon: home-schooled as a child.
Eye Candy: You know the girl. Full make-up. Neon sports bra. Acrylic nails. Walks on the treadmill with her latest issue of Cosmo. I can deal with her most of the time, except during the months of January-March, when everyone hits the gym with their New Year’s Resolutions and she’s taking up valuable cardio equipment.
The Chatterbox:Tries to talk to you between sets. Or is on her phone the whole time. You now know very intimate details about her life.
My Her0: The super awesome chica who doesn’t talk to others while she’s working out and is just an all-around rockstar. I want to be this girl’s best friend. We will wear matching bandanas and exchange work-out tips.
Who are your “gym buddies?”