Characters in the gym
by Adam Sinicki
If you're new to working out in the gym you may be nervous about the kinds of characters you'll meet there. Even if you're not new it helps to know exactly what you're dealing with. The gym attracts an eclectic mix of people, some dangerous, some deranged. Read on to learn their types and how to deal with them. You may even spot yourself amongst their number.
Which One are You?
Most likely to be found: on the chest press... just sitting there... staring... directly at you.
No one knows why they do it, but as you look around to catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror you see the starer looking directly at you. You can't figure out if they're mad at you, turned on by you, or if they're just staring into space and you got in the way. Break off eye contact immediately.
Most likely to be found: on the running machines.
These girls normally come in packs of two or three. They're as thin as is humanly possible and definitely don't need to be doing the amount of CV that they are. No-one's sure why they're here. The answer is partly to enhance their image, partly because they enjoy the stares, partly social pressure and partly dysmorphia. Their tight, tight Lycra shorts are a source of distraction though generally there's not much of a bum left to look at anyway.
Most likely to be found: sat down curling 2kg in each hand and staring forward blankly.
They sit there being all gigantic, barely doing anything and sweating profusely. The only danger here is the temptation to approach them and say 'really, what's the point?'
Most likely to be found: spotting one another.
Two gym buddies who work together and move round the gym oblivious to their surroundings. They give off a fun energy and keep mainly to themselves. The only slight annoyance is that any area they use will be inaccessible until they have both finished.
Most like to be found: doing squats
The machines are the hardcore regulars of the gym who generate an aura of respect. They normally have a single minded determination and can lift roughly a million times the amount of a normal human. They are generally friendly characters who enjoy a bit of gym camaraderie. However they do not take kindly to their session being interrupted. They are there when you arrive and will be there when you leave. It is unknown whether they have a home at all, or whether they in fact live at the gym. If more than one machine meet they will usually begin to work together. Sometimes several will congregate around one machine. Often this makes an area of the gym inaccessible or intimidating for the timid gym goer who feels they are not welcome. Don't be afraid to approach, you may even learn something.
Most likely to be seen: on the bench press, pressing 5kg.
Skinny kid comes to the gym for one of two reasons: a) he is trying to get a six pack for the girls or b) he is trying to get 'buff' so kids will stop stealing his lunch money. Unfortunately he doesn't realize that a) he won't pull because he is a gimp and b) he gets bullied because he is a gimp. You see the skinny kid has a fundamental misunderstanding of how the gym works and will likely only last for a week or two before he leaves again, disheartened at his lack of six pack. This is because he is a gimp.
Overly friendly guy
Most likely to be found: talking to you.
He smiles at you so you ask him if he wants to share the machine with you. This was a mistake. Overly friendly guy will always accept such an offer, even if he wasn't waiting for the machine. He will then strike up a friendly conversation that will be fun for a while but before you know it an hour will have passed and you will have lost ALL YOUR PUMP. Watch out, many personal trainers are actually overly friendly guy in disguise. Do not under any circumstances strike up a conversation with overly friendly guy until the end of your session.
Most likely to be found: following you and sighing loudly.
Whatever machine you're on lurker will be waiting and looking at you disapprovingly. If you rest for what he deems to long he will then lean over and ask 'are you using this?'. It is blatantly obvious that if you are sitting on a bench in the gym you are using it; otherwise you would be sitting on the sofa at home. Chances are if he'd just asked to have a quick go you'd have let him cut in, but his obnoxious tutting and condescending manner make you want to punch him. If you do let him use the machine/bench/weight he will then do one set of 30 and walk off to do bother someone else. He has no idea how to train properly and thinks everyone else is doing it wrong. He is in short, a wanker.
Most likely to be found: doing deadlifts.
They look about 80 and you wonder what they're doing here but don't underestimate these guys. They can often compete with machines for raw strength. They are actually powerlifters - a sport that you can still perform in through old age. They were the machines of your gym once and they have seen it go through great change. Treat them with respect.
Most likely to be found: all over the fucking place
If a sport team come into your gym you may as well write off your session. Ranging in number from 4 to 10, rugby teams and rowing teams are the most likely candidates. Upon arrival they will spread out and fill the entire gym. Their coach will bark orders at them and believes it is their divine right to have sole access to every machine during their stay. They often workout using circuit training and so no part of the gym is safe. They are the scourge of the gym and only machines have the power to stop them.
Most likely to be found: chatting up the personal trainer.
These girls aren't here to workout at all. Instead they will hog the personal trainer who will likely be more than willing to help. While he shows her how to do the most basic of exercises she will then flutter her eyelids at him madly capturing him in a hypnotic trance which he will not be able to break out of until she leaves. Failing this she will approach the largest figure in the gym and sprawl herself on a nearby machine asking for help. Her spiel will ensure he then devotes his time to helping her in the gym thus ruining his own session and getting nothing in return.
Her hypnotic powers are useless against machines however, which is her greatest cause of frustration.
She is a threat to the middle range gym-goer and annoyance to all others. Which is nothing to do with jealousy... honest.
Scary strong lady
Most likely to be found: doing starjumps.
She seems to be a product of the eighties wearing garish pink and doing boxercise moves to the music in her mp3 player. She's about 40 but has abs and buns of steel and could crush you with one hand. Again, avoid eye contact. If she meets intense guy they will fall instantly in love.
Most likely to be found: on the mats
Similar to the intense guy, but also prone to extended periods of stretching and possibly meditation. Possibly wears his kit to the gym. Wants you to know he's a black belt.
Most likely to be found: moving steadily and silently around the gym
Lone wolves keep themselves to themselves. They are here to train and train alone. They may be new to the area, traveling or perhaps they just hate mankind, but for whatever reason they will not make conversation with other gym goers instead preferring to move around on their own. They are usually harmless but still approach with caution initially.
Most likely to be found: on the mats.
It's amazing the things she can do. Unnatural even. She may be from the circus, or she may be an alien. Try not to stare too obviously.
Most likely to be found: laughing with the staff
The regular might not be the biggest of the bunch but he's been coming to this gym long enough to mix with the greatest. He's well liked by all and knows the receptionists by name. His easy charm and charisma make him an instant hit with anyone and it's hard not to feel special when they shoot a smile your way.
Most likely to be found: on whatever's free
Basically the new guy, or a foreigner. Someone who's clearly not comfortable being in the gym. They will come and ask you if you're using the bench press even though you're the other side of the room. Mess with their head by saying 'I am using everything'.
Most likely to be found: on resistance machines
Civilians are basically anyone who comes to the gym out of habit or because their wife made them. They don't really want to be here but they feel that society demands it of them. Their lack of enthusiasm leaks from their pours
Thanks for reading:Adam Sinicki
About the Author:
Adam Sinicki is an amateur bodybuilder, writer and a gentleman. With over 100 articles published for magazines and websites he obviously has a lot of spare time on his hands. When not writing Adam is either keeping his blog, working out, eating sandwiches or updating his successful website http://www.adamsinicki.com