You know them. You endure them. It’s a jungle out there and it’s best you’re prepared for these commonly spotted gym-inhabitants.
Also known as The Screamer, The Grunter, or (in their least offensive disguise- The Whooper. In this form, the culprit is usually American, and wants to tell you about how amazing Flywheel is).
The Breather will make a sound that only two groups of people have heard them make before- people they’ve had intimate relationships with, and people they’ve shared gym space with.
Making enough noise to rouse the dead, this person is working out and the want you to know about it. Not content with gurning and sighing, their noises soon start to resemble an amorous fox, and every rep or squat is accompanied by a scream of effort.
Yes, we know you are working hard, but last time I checked, this isn’t a tennis Grand Slam final, so please kindly shut your trap.
In their most offensive form, The Breather can be heard over the music in your earphones. Unacceptable. The only way to combat them is to kick up an aural storm of your own, but be warned- a certain percentage of Breathers will view this as a challenge and spend the rest of their workout trying to assert their dominance over you by grunting ever-louder across the free-weights section.
THE CLOTHES HORSE
Also known as The Poser, or The Sweatless One
Oh, Clothes Horse.
You. Are. Here. To. Workout. It really is that simple. You can spend all the money you like on amazing gear, but perhaps you might wanna try a Bikram class before deciding it’s your “thing”, and slapping down a month’s wages on gear that does nothing but bring attention to the fact this is your first ever class.
Clothes Horses need to learn there’s no shame in skanky old workout gear and actually sweating while you train!
The Clothes Horse label can also be assigned to anyone whose primary use of the gym is to pose. They may not be in the most expensive garb, they’re flexing and pouting HARD in the mirror- so hard In fact, they are blissfully unaware of The Screamer On the machine next to them.
They’ll breeze past you looking like a high fashionista, with a look of distain at your pungent odour and bright red face. Check out their cross trainer level. It’s on 1. Way to keep yourself sweatless and eternally squishy, Clothes Horse.
The sweetest day ever is when a Clothes Horse asks you where you got your leggings from and you get to watch their face when you reply “Thanks! Sports Direct liquidation rail special!”
Also known as The Lurker or, worse still The Winker.
Dude, there are 30 running machines. Why you gotta go next to me?
The Crowder is trying to do one of three things.
1) Compete against you (getting real close to you so they can either track your time and distance)
2) Learn from you (which is just about acceptable in a class because it basically means you’re doing things pro, so forgive this version of The Crowder)
3) Chat you up- or even worse, not bother to speak to you, but just get a good old look at you. Guys- if you are doing this to a girl, STOP. You will only embarrass yourself when you see this chick can run faster/longer/lift more than you.
If you must interrupt a girl’s workout, then be prepared for the stare of “are you ACTUALLY interrupting my cardio session right now?” This look wither all traces of testosterone you’ve pumped up during your workout, be warned.
To escape The Crowder? A silent fart. It really is that simple.
Also known as The Caller, The Selfie-ist
Dear Texter. PUT YOUR F#@%ING PHONE DOWN. Or GET OFF that machine I want if you’re only using it as convenient perch from which to update Facebook!
What did these people do before mobiles become common place? Did they sit and pen letters using ink and quill in the gym? Did they bring their portable landlines with them?
Well, I’d like to think that they just came to the goddamn gym and got on with their goddamn workout, but the realist in me knows that’s not true.
The truth is, before mobile phones existed, they had no reason to be in the gym… because they sole reason they come to the gym is to post pictures of themselves on social media, in the gym.
I am probably most guilty of being one of these morons, validating my workout to the world by posting photos of my shiny red head up on Instagram. Forgive me- at least I only send my updates once I’m back in the privacy of a changing cubicle.
Also known as: You, Once Upon a Time.
Looking uncomfortable, scared of the machines, or lacking in basic etiquette, I have a lot of time for these dudes, despite the fact they multiply like bewildered rabbits every January (and most Monday nights), and disappear to the pub at the mere rumour of a sunny evening.
Getting annoyed with them is like getting annoyed with someone trying really hard to speak your language for the first time, and kind of hoping to impress you.
We were Newbies once. Smile at this timid breed of gym-goer, (but not in a weird, prolongued way; lest you venture into the realms of becoming “The Winker”).
If you see a Newbie struggling with a machine or with where to get a matt before class, then be a fitness sister and help them out. We don’t want to scare people at the tentative start of their fitness journey back onto the sofa. Make them see the gym as their friend, and commend them for making the effort, no matter how slow or confused they look.
And then ditch their sorry ass 3 months in when they start screaming and taking selfies in the free weights section.