Honesty Time

Keeping it real since 2013

The Characters at My Gym

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I’m not a gym rat. I am not in super-duper, tip-top shape. But I like going to the gym. I like to think that I’m becoming healthier, fitter, and that one day I’ll fit into the pants that I wore in college.

Side note: I want all of those pants to fit again. They looked great when they fit and they were all comfortable. Shopping for new pants is heartbreaking and I won’t do it. That’s dumb, but it’s just a truth.

It feels like this is what I'm running towards when I watch Food Network at the gym. Not Ina, the cake.

It feels like this is what I’m running towards when I watch Food Network at the gym. Not Ina, the cake.

I like the gym because I have nothing else better to do during my day, especially now that the school year is over. It’s usually the only time I leave the house during the day. Sad. Some of my friends text me while I’m at the gym and eventually say “You’re still there?! Come home!” No, I like working out while watching Food Network on the cardio machines. And since I spend so much time there, I feel like I definitely see a lot of interesting folks come in and out. If my gym were the basis of a sitcom, we’d have some distinct repeat characters. Here are just 8 of them.

  1. The Chatty Girls You Only See Twice
    “Yeah, I saw Brian. But I mean, like, we were at Bar-A and drunk, so it was, like, weird and oh my god this is so hard,” chatters the girl in a neon headband as she does weighted leg lifts while spilling the drunken details of her weekend.

    “Wait, what is that you’re doing?”
    “I’m just making it up!”

    Sometimes these girls know what they’re doing. They lift weights or run for a few miles on the treadmill. A lot of times, they have no clue what to do with any of the machines or weights. These duos will spend about 5 minutes on each machine before retiring to the mats to “stretch” and take up space. In some extreme cases, they will join your Pilates fitness class, and then halfway through their first session, loudly complain that they have no idea what this is, and leave.

    Regardless of whether they know how to utilize the gym properly or not, most of the time they’re just chatting. The good news is that after only a few visits, these girls will never be seen in the gym again and you won’t have to listen to them recount their shots while you try to count your reps. This breed of gym-goer is typical after New Year’s and pre-“Bikini season.” There is also an increase in chatty girls once students return from college, but they seem to actually know how to use the gym, even if they are a bit loud.

  2. Scary Guy
    There sure are a lot of very intensely muscular guys on the weight room floor. It’s a gym; this is their habitat. I’m totally ok with that.

    However, to the guy with the tribal tattoos on his head, who grunts sonorously, throws his weights down, and then goes to check himself out in the mirror while still grunting – is that really necessary? 

  3. Naked Ladies
    It’s been a long day at work. Perhaps I’ve had to scold an entire group of students for trying to cut class. Or maybe I’ve just hand sewn at least 6 repairs on borrowed or rented costumes because kids don’t know how to take care of anything that isn’t their iPhone (actually, they don’t know how to take care of those either). I’m ready to get those endorphins pumping in order to recover so that I can face another day.

    I check in at the front desk and get my towel. I walk towards the locker room, turn the corner and BAM – 60 year old butt practically right in my face. Old breasts everywhere. Oh goodness gracious, please don’t bend over! Especially not in front of the mirror! You can try not to look, but most of the time you just look up from your locker and why why why.I get it. It’s a locker room and people will get changed there. But still. Come on. It’s startling sometimes. On this plus side, these ladies obviously have a high level of either confidence or “I don’t give a flying rat’s bum what you think.” Good for them.

  4. Old “Woo Girls”

    These are the women who come to some sort of total body, weight lifting fitness class and give a mighty “Woooo!!!” at the end of each set and/or cardio round. They are generally middle aged or older and wear some pretty sweet workout gear, so you know they’re serious about staying healthy into their golden years.

    I’m not sure what makes a person woo during a fitness class. Maybe they are like the woo girls at bars and clubs. “I love working out to this song! Woo!” I’m sure it’s partly because they’re proud that they got through another set – it is a pretty challenging class, after all.Whatever the reason may be, it definitely startled the trainer the other week when the woo girls (women?) emerged for the first time. I’m pretty sure he started to laugh when they were wooing during our 30 second water break (half priced shots! Wooo!).

    I will say, though, these woo women are in serious shape and lift heavier weights than I do. I hope I can grow up to be feisty and strong like these woo grannies.

  5. The Counter

    This is the person who is a staple in your group fitness class. She comes to every single class. It might be a total body cross fit class, or something less asthma inducing, like Pilates. Whatever it is, she’s there. And she’s counting. Loudly.

    When you’re arms are getting weary and you think you cannot possibly do another single rep of the arm workout your instructor is pushing you through, you hear The Counter. Her counting, “TWELVE. THIRTEEN,” is supposed to serve as a reminder to the instructor that we are ready to move onto the next exercise and give our shoulders a rest.

    And when The Counter doesn’t make it to class, the room is quiet in an odd way, and occasionally the instructor loses count, so then you have to do 10 more of those shoulder raises that you were struggling to work through to begin with. The Counter seems annoying at first, but actually, I’d like to thank her. So, thank you, Counter. I enjoy hearing you count to 15 or more almost every evening and keeping our classes on track.

  6. Towel Man

    Many a time, this man has climbed onto the elliptical next to mine, and then started to absolutely go crazy shredding that thing up. However, I have never seen this man’s face. How is this possible?

    Remember when Michael Jackson used a blanket to cover his son’s face?

    That’s what this reminds me of. He always puts his towel over his head. Not actually over his face, but it’s pretty similar. I’m not sure why he does this though. Can anyone enlighten me? It could be to block out distractions while he’s in the zone. Maybe it’s to keep heat in his head so he sweats out more toxins? Is that a thing?

  7. Hill Climber

    This woman is a staple at our gym. She always walks on the same treadmill in the corner of the room and does the “Alpine Pass” program on the machine. She is the intense hill climber, hanging on for dear life.

    Actually, she’s really comfortable on that thing and a total pro.

    When she has finished climbing Mt. Everest, she goes and lifts a few weights. And that’s it. And she is the fittest woman in the entire gym. Good for her. I get shin splints just looking at that hill.

  8. The Friendly Trainers

    Of course, the trainers are the best fixture at the gym. I can’t afford a personal trainer. Not even close. However, I appreciate it when the trainers come over and give you tips, or ask how you’re feeling or offer free demos.

    I love that the trainers get to know the gym patrons. I usually go to the gym between 5 and 6 so that I can meet up with my friend after she gets out of work. The other day, I couldn’t make it for our usual time, so I went earlier in the day. One of the trainers saw me there and, genuinely confused, asked, “What are you doing here? You’re a few hours early!”

    This is the kind of stuff that helps me justify the ridiculous cost of my monthly membership (sometimes).

Ok, so after all of this, it’s only fair that I share where I fit in, since I analyzed almost everyone else. I’d like to think of myself as one of the average, non-characters who inhabit the gym. You know, the everyday normal guys (Jon LaJoie style) that just work out, say their hellos, and weren’t kooky enough to make this list. But…

I’ll admit it, when I first started, I was probably what everyone else thought was a “Chatty Girl You Only See Twice.” I didn’t really know what I should be doing at the gym and I would chat my friend’s ear off. However, it’s been many, many months now and I’m still going strong. I still chat a lot, but definitely not as loudly as some others do, and I definitely know what I’m doing now.

I also will admit that I have, a few times, accidentally become like The Counter. Hundreds of reps on shoulder exercises will do that to you, you know. Ouch. I finally understand the “Feel the burn” phrase.

Of course, now that it’s nice out, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time walking/”jogging” the track at the local high school. It’s nice to get fresh air on my rare sojourn out of the house, but it’s not nearly as interesting. Occasionally there are some lax bros there, but they’re usually child-aged and therefore annoying. And therefore not full-bros. Baby bros. They are not fun to watch.

Also, the gym is air conditioned. I like it there. I shall continue to be Harriet the Spy and observe the people while sweating and trying not to think of cheesecake.


Author: Allyssa Ellen

A costumer, a makeup artist, an educator, and a librarian, all rolled up into one convenient, fun-sized package.

One thought on “The Characters at My Gym

  1. i appreciate your use of the word “sonorously.”

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