Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The things I think while working out: gym stereotypes

With every gym comes a certain cast of characters. If you’ve spent a considerable amount of time at your local athletic club, you know exactly what I am talking about. Actual gym population make-up may vary by region, but here are the main profiles I’ve identified so far:

The Rocky Balboas: These are the guys who show up in head-to-toe gray cotton to sweat it out on the stair-stepper like they’re cutting weight for the high school wrestling championships. Other key defining traits: grunting, snarling, teeth-gritting, spitting.

The Biggest Losers: Inspired by NBC’s popular weight loss series, these newbies purchased a gym membership in hopes of shedding pounds without being harassed and demoralized by Jillian Michaels. Other key defining traits: pedometers, Sketchers Shape-Ups, hyperventilation.

The Has-Beens: These former high school sports stars haven’t quite accepted the fact that their athletic careers ended 17 years ago, and they’re here to relive their glory days. Often taking the form of 40-year-old men playing pick-up basketball, they can be heard saying things like, “If only Coach could see my jump shot now. I’d be in the starting five, fo sho!” Other key defining traits: thinning hair, visceral fat, beards, high-fives.

(Note: Has-Beens may also take the form of washed-up ex-college track and field athletes.)

The Trainers: They got into the business with glamorous visions of training Olympic weightlifters and pro football players. Now they’re stuck helping thirty-something women tone their thighs and lose pregnancy pounds. Other key defining traits: abs, clipboards, forced enthusiasm.

The Overbearing Sports Parents: They can be seen spotting their seven-year-old on the bench press and screaming, “Up! Up! Uuuuuuuppppp!” each time junior struggles to punch a rep. They are convinced their kid is the next Peyton Manning, so they’ll make sure he does everything he can to propel himself to NFL stardom—be it power cleans or MasterCard commercial auditions. Other key defining traits: stopwatches, windbreakers, chewing gum.

The Longwinded Techies: These are the guys who hop on the treadmill next to yours, GU packet in hand, and tell you how awesome their new GPS watch is. When you don’t respond (because, hello, you’re in the middle of a workout!) they ask you if you have one. You (sort of) politely answer no and hope that will be the end of the conversation. Just as they prepare to deliver a 20-minute expository speech on the merits of GPS devices, you put in your headphones and pretend to listen to your iPod, which died half an hour ago. Other key defining traits: hydration belts, Dri-FIT apparel, bad breath.

The Schwarzenegger Wannabes: These roid-raging beefcakes will hog the platform for upwards of 30 minutes per lift, as they will spend several minutes flexing in the mirror between sets. They show up in waves and speak only with each other, presumably to share protein shake recipes and compare cut-off t-shirts. Other key defining traits: spray tans, weightlifting belts, acne, anger.

1 comment:

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