For millions of Americans, a trip to the gym serves as a refuge, a place to blow off steam and to improve our overall mental and physical health. If only everyone felt that way. To some, a trip to the local sweat-a-teria is a place to be clueless, selfish and to aggravate the rest of us.
Why does this happen? Perhaps sociology holds the key.
In a stunning blow to American mothers everywhere, a recent study by the North American Institute For the Study of Factoids* found that 97% of all children aren’t special and yet 100% think they are. Sadly, most children either ignore the findings or are unable to read them because of the failings of the public school system. More sadly for all of us, unspecial children who think they are special eventually turn into unspecial adults who, well, you pretty much know where this is going. And now, at least four times a week, they’re our problem. Here are the ten biggest tools at your local gym:
* completely fictitious
10 The Grunter
Now, it’s understandable that Yevgen Yarymbash from Ukraine would grunt as he shatters a world record by power lifting 2408.5 pounds in an international competition. It is less understandable that a guy who could pass for your accountant grunts as he picks up a 20 pound barbell but yet he does. Oh, does he. Plus he’s not quite grasping that you don’t need to grunt when you’re putting a weight down. The reason? Gravity.
9 Johnny Sweat Stain
No, this isn’t the name of an Indian warrior from the Seminole nation, it’s the guy who feels the burn but doesn’t feel the need to wipe it off. Our personal favorite is the stain that’s exactly size of a head at the end of the sit-up bench. Remember the scene from “Coming to America” where the Jheri Curl family left stains on the wall? Then you get the picture. Thanks to this jerk, our head gets to touch your DNA with every sit-up we do.
8 Shirtless Man
He’s the guy who can make you feel you’re in the exercise yard at Corcoran instead of at LA Fitness. Sure, it’s fun to look at his back tat of Jesus on a Harley but maybe it’s something only his wife, his wife’s sister and the babysitter should be subjected to. Ironically, shirtless woman? Could not be more on-board with it.
7 The Unsolicited Advice Guy
You’ve got three reps left and you expect them to be hard but they’re not. Why? Because this guy has taken it upon himself to spot you. You didn’t ask him, he just did it. To the uninitiated this may seem like a nice gesture but it ain’t. There’s a fine line between spotting and doing it for you and he’s crossed it, but you don’t have enough energy to tell him. If you’re lucky, he’ll tell you your form stinks and that you’re a coward. Or if you’re really lucky he’ll say your form stinks, to give him five more reps and that you’re a coward.
If any of you who are that guy are reading this, here’s a hint: the reason we don’t have a spotter is because we don’t want one.
6 The “I Have No Idea What Constitutes Proper Work-Out Attire” Guy
We’re not talking about the guy who wears short shorts from the eighties or even the dude in the full-on 1970’s Adidas jogging suit. This is the guy wearing wool slacks, socks and sandals, with a white dress shirt. He’s either an engineer from IBM or a Mormon missionary. What he isn’t, is someone you want to work out with let alone smell.
5 The Bench Presser Who Just Lifts The Bar
Why is this person even here? Save yourself the aggravation and stay home, avoid the traffic and bench press your broom. It’s pretty much the same thing. Better yet, why not just bench press air?
4 Guy Who Stays On the Equipment Texting While Others Are Waiting To Use It
Stalin, Osama, Saddam Hussein were horrible monsters who are rotting in hell and with any luck this guy will be joining them soon. Where to begin? How does one get the attitude that it’s okay to make others wait while you’re doing nothing? Really, you’re that important that you have to text people back immediately? Something tells me this guy isn’t the president of the World Bank or a head of state.
Secondly, this doofus doesn’t get that in order for exercise to work, it has to be constant. You get your heart rate up, which kick starts your metabolism into gear which makes you burn fat and build muscle. None of this happens when you’re checking email for seven minutes in between sets. Hopefully, this guy will text while driving and crash into a wall and his last text will read, “D.O.A.” to which we’ll reply, “LOL.”
3 The 50-Year Old Lady In The Too Tight Leotard
There’s nothing wrong with being a few pounds overweight in a gym. In fact, most people are there to lose weight. What is a problem is when people decide to wear clothes that act like sausage casing. How I pity the back of the leotard which will likely never be seen again. To complete the outfit, why not go for the long nails with the leopard skin pattern?
2 The Personal Trainer With No Discernible Muscle Tone
Perhaps the most defensive person on planet Earth. They’ll hit you with how the best football coaches weren’t great football players or the best acting teachers are people you’ve never heard of. Not having it and here’s why: those other professions have no physical manifestation. You can’t tell if an acting coach is good just by looking at him. You can tell if a trainer has a closer relationship with the Quiznos Tuna Melt with Cheetos than with a Stairmaster. Some of these guys you’d swear the gym picked up, at sunrise in front of Home Depot and slapped a too tight “Ballys” t-shirt on him.
1 The Guy At The Front Desk
If a little power is a dangerous thing, then this dude could not be more harmless, but is he a tool? Let us count the ways:
a. He decides that he does, indeed, need to see your i.d. but only after you’ve passed the desk and are almost in the locker room.
b. Can’t quite figure out how to unfreeze the computer but, in fairness to him, how many of us have mastered Windows 95?
c. When he says “have a good work-out” but we know he doesn’t really mean it.
d. Will hand you a towel but only after he sees your driver’s license and insisting upon a sizable security deposit. It’s not the Hope Diamond, it’s a towel!
Anyway, while seeing these people during your next workout is inevitable, hopefully, through these tips you’ll be better able to avoid them. Godspeed.