Junior year of high school, my lab partner told me he met my dad the night before at the gym. I was mortified. Like any high school student, I was not keen on my school world mixing unsupervised with my family world. Evidently Jason (the lab partner) had put too much weight on a barbell and my dad helped him lower the weight without crushing himself. They got to talking and made the connection that I was my dad’s daughter.
I learned my dad is “that guy” at the gym: Mister Chatty. He sparks a conversation with everyone, and while he does workout, the gym is a social experience.
This got me thinking about the personas you see at the gym. There are some classic ones that I’ve noticed over the years:
The Fake Out Guy
The person who walks away from a machine for a notable amount of time, but when you move to take a turn, he runs back and says “I am still using it.” Buy your own hip abductor, jerk.
The Smelly Guy (or Girl)
You’re allowed to smell a little (I guess) but if it’s impossible to be within a 3 feet orbit of you, you’ve created an unsafe work(out) environment.
The Too Helpful Guy
You know him. The guy who corrects your form when you didn’t ask for it. There is a silent code. If you seek out eye contact with me in the mirror and I don’t return it, don’t walk over and offer your thoughts on my hip placement.
The Girl I Worry About
I wasn’t sure if I was going to write this one, because she isn’t annoying so much as she worries me. This girl looks like she has been there for hours. Maybe she’s taken a double session of classes. Maybe she has BYO-weights with those strap-around ankle weights and wore them to yoga because she is too hard core for yoga. She’s the picture of stress and strain. I want her to sit down and give her a hug and say, “It’s okay to take a rest day.”
The Man Who Wore Too Little
I get it. You’re working out. You’re sweating and it’s hot. But let’s keep the gym PG. Men, shirts must stay on. Try not to overshare on the shorts. It is diabolically unattractive. I would like to get to know you first. Also, Man Who Wears Too Little, please NEVER also be Too Helpful Guy. That’s a called a Major League Creeper.
The Sweat Dripper
Sweating is healthy. Your body is effectively cooling itself down. But let’s all take a second, and do some soul searching. If you’re a monster sweat machine, you probably know that about yourself, just like I know I am a Treadmill Dancer. Let’s just be true to ourselves. And if you’re a Sweat Dripper: USE A TOWEL.
The Old Guy Who is So Happy Just to Be There
His socks meet his knee caps. Maybe he is dressed for golf. Maybe he has one of those cut off shirts that show his sides. Even better still, he might have a grand kid’s bar mitzvah T on. He is smiling up a storm. All he does is lay on the mat and reach for his toes but he is crushing it. Give this man a big smile when you see him. The Happy Old Guy rules.
The Man Making Awkward Noises
Does this help? Why isn’t he embarrassed? Does he know he is doing this? I have more questions than I have answers.
Who else is out there? Who am I missing?