I’ve been working out at various gyms for about 18 years now. I’ve been to high-end health clubs and grubby little basements and everything in between, in at least 40 cities spanning five countries and two cruise ships.
I’ve seen a lot of interesting people in that time.
Most people at various gyms don’t fit into any category other than “regular.” There is nothing specifically identifying about them. They’re just average folks at the gym. Then there are those who do fit into a specific group. Here are the ones that come to mind from my many hours of people-watching while pumping iron:
The Stinky Guy
This is always a guy. Women can get a bit of body odor, but only a man can smell so bad that the stench could knock over the guy who cleans the bathrooms at Taco Bell and leave a bad taste in your mouth for an hour afterward. I think gyms should have a stink detector alarm and security personnel who escort such offenders off the premises in as humiliating a manner as possible.
It’s the only way they’ll learn.
The Compensating for Something-ers
These are men. Well, boys actually. They travel in packs of three to five. They don’t have a clue what they’re doing. They show up and believe the goal of weight lifting is to show off for their friends by lifting as much weight as they can by whatever means necessary. The concept of proper lifting technique never occurs to them. They hover together around one bench and spend about 10 percent of their time lifting and the rest shouting encouragement to their brainless buddies who are doing the funky chicken in an effort to lift far more weight than they are capable of.
Natural selection should take care of them in due course.
Miss Mountain Lion
Also known as the cougar. These women know stuff. You can see it in their eyes. They’ll hurt you if you give them the chance, and I’m not talking about your feelings. They’re usually in really good shape, although parts of them are plastic and there has certainly been some strategic nipping and tucking going on. They often look amazing from the neck down, but the face is difficult to discern through the layers of makeup. I can envision how the next morning could be a frightening experience.
Many of them work hard with weights. They can lift as well as most men. Like I said, they’ll hurt you. They hunger. Fear them.
Hoop Earring Girl
She’s under 25. She’s hot. She knows this. She never makes eye contact with anyone. She wears expensive and tight-fitting gym attire that show off a figure that has not yet experienced the ravages of gravity. Her hair and makeup are done to perfection. She also wears jewelry, even perfume, to the gym. She wears headphones to tune out would-be suitors. She doesn’t want to talk to you. She pretends she doesn’t see you drooling over her.
She shows up, does 15 minutes at low intensity on a stair-climber, hardly enough to break a sweat, stretches a little, then leaves. If she keeps going to the gym, eventually she will transform into Miss Mountain Lion.
These are the guys who, while lifting, sound like they’re either giving birth to a harbor seal or getting a colonoscopy from a guy operating a jackhammer._________________________________________________________________________
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Also known as TMI guy. It’s just wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
This guy shows up sweaty. By the time he’s done, he is a walking puddle of protoplasm. Sometimes he is also a Maggot Gagger.
The Wife Beater
The guy wearing a snug, white, ribbed tank top. Mullet optional.
Usually male, but not always. They tend to hang out in hardcore gyms that cater to their lifestyle of injecting whatever toxic concoction they can get their hands on in an effort to build mass.
They look like aliens. When not at the gym, they can be seen hanging out on the cover of magazines that have the word “muscle” in the title.
Impacted Colon Guy
Well, judging by the weird way he struts around the gym, there has to be something shoved up there. This guy is often also a Screamer and possibly a Juicer.
The Just Shut the Heck Up Already-er
I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. If they spent as much time working their muscles as they did their jaws, then they’d be huge.
The Strong Man
He’s at least 50. He has a moustache, but not the fabulous Freddy Mercury kind; more the “I don’t give a crap what you think about my face” kind. He’s got a sizable gut. Every meal he eats includes either bacon or beef. He looks like a myocardial infarction waiting to happen.
He can bench-press you and your entire family.
He doesn’t talk to anyone. As far as he’s concerned, there isn’t anyone at the gym worthy of his attention. He’s been lifting since Schwarzenegger wore short pants, and he makes everyone else look feeble by comparison.
Try not to upset him.