The Cast of Gym Characters

gym-characters-585When I go to the gym, I’m in a zone. I have my plan for my workout, and I get to work. I don’t really pay attention to other people very much. And knowing how uncomfortable people sometimes feel in the gym (myself included), I certainly try not to judge people for what they’re doing or not doing. For all I know they have a medical reason for grunting like they do or for paying more attention to their Kindle and forgetting to, you know, actually make the elliptical move. So I figure, to each their own when it comes to how people spend their gym time as long as they’re following the hallowed rules of gym etiquette.

But there are a few people lately at my gym that I can’t help but notice when I’m working out. People that are drawing attention to themselves and not giving a hoot about it. And I love it. It makes my workouts way more entertaining and helps pass the time, especially because I don’t really do music at the gym anymore (in case I get paged by the child care center). These people make me giggle and truly make my day. Here’s the cast.

1. The Laugher. This guy has pulled up a treadmill or two over on a couple of occasions. He’s wearing an iPod, and it must be tuned to the most hilarious comedy act ever. He cracks up as he’s running or walking — such guffawing belly laughs that I can’t help but start giggling every single time. I’m dying to ask him what he’s listening to, but I don’t want to interrupt. Either way, it’s comedy gold for both of us.

2. The Clomper. The other day I was running alongside my husband when I heard what sounded like an elephant running on a treadmill. CLOMP. CLOMP. CLOMP. After it happened a few times, I asked my husband, “What IS that!?” He nodded toward a woman on a treadmill, this teeny-tiny lady who had the incline set at its complete max. It was so steep that she’d hang on for dear life, and you guessed it, CLOMP for about a minute until she switched the incline again. I couldn’t believe someone so small could make such a big ruckus on the treadmill, and although it may have been ever so slightly annoying, it was more funny than anything.

3. The Clapper. This lady was great — not quite as entertaining as a treadmill dancer would be (oh, to have someone like her in my gym!), but she was so moved by her music that she would take her hands off the elliptical handles to clap to the beat and groove to the music. Like the laugher, I was dying to know what she had cranking that was getting her so fired up.

4. The Insane Yogi. This lady defies gravity and physics over in the stretching area. She held a handstand for what seemed like minutes, all while I tried to pretend I wasn’t staring as I stretched. I kinda wanted to see if she took requests!

Do you have any fellow gym-going regulars that entertain you from afar? I’d love to know your cast of characters! —Erin

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  1. Shawna Peffer says:

    There is a lady who comes into my step class on occasion and completely does her own thing but rocks it!! She is a cyclist so I think she just comes in to pass the time until the spinning class starts because she never stays for the whole class. She uses the step (up, down, around and over) but it’s like she is in her own world and is nowhere near close to what the instructor is teaching. I wish I had her enthusiasm, she looks like she’s at a club dancing the night away.

  2. carol says:

    Yeah, the person who stops, after a set of calf raises (or whatever), to see if they can notice any discernible change. That would be me! I realize how ludicrous it is, but I do it anyway,

  3. ellie says:

    Thats a pic from a Royal Caribeann Ships gym! Best view ever!

  4. Johnny M says:

    My gym is interesting because it is the fitness and training center for the college I work at. Some highlights include:

    At 5:30am in the spring: The don’t want to be awake this early to work out Baseball team. A bunch of college guys mulling around in hoodies looking like they could lay down and take a nap at any time.

    6:00am in the fall: Football lifting: These guys have way too much motivation and way too little self awareness. I can hear them yelling from the other side of the gym over the noise of a line of treadmills and my headphones cranked way up.

    Social / newspaper time: there is a couch/waiting area near the treadmills and there are a few folks who come into the gym, grab a seat, page through the newspaper and 30 minutes later…leave. I guess at least they can say they went to the gym today.

  5. Cindy says:

    My gym has a fair number of clowns (myself included). I’m known for my happy hair as I always have a ponytail sticking out of the top of my head that dances. We have people that wear wild outfits (florescent, leopard, funny t-shirts …). We will signal each other to do disco or jazz hands. Some people wear daring costumes for Halloween and a smaller number wear something for every holiday. I would say about 5% of the people rock out when they workout. We have a clomper too holding on for dear life and at max elevation. Ours walks fast for a full 45 minutes all the time looking like she is going to fall off.

  6. Jennifer says:

    We’ve got some good ones as well. And I love all of them. They make my day when they are there. I even have a few sniper pics on my phone of some.
    The cowboy that lifts in his wranglers and work boots.
    The guy with a gigantic thick mullet that does strange stretches in between sets.
    The guy that lifts weights wearing slippers.
    The older gentleman that uses the pull-up/ab machines to stretch his leg over his head. And will give you workout advice without you asking.
    The lady that mostly exercises her jaw during each class/elliptical session but complains her body is not changing. Many of us trainers have kindly tried to steer her In the right direction but she just likes to complain.
    And my favorite, the shy and dedicated woman who is always there, and doesn’t realize how amazing she looks.

  7. Dani says:

    I love this post! Every week I see people at the gym and I think….”really?? Are you for real”
    How about the guy dressed in jeans and dress shirt. Doing his chest before he hits the club!
    People who sit on machines and txt or just chat with friends on the phone

    The list could go on and on.

  8. Neel says:

    Hahaha…absolutely hilarious. Gyms can be pretty interesting and entertaining.
    Once I was going to a place for some work early morning. There is this stretch of road where joggers, walkers, oldies, youngsters are moving about. At this particular bend of road I found a guy with headphones on and practicing some form of martial arts and seemed to be talking to himself. I don’t know why but I burst out laughing and kept smiling throughout the day thinking about it.

  9. jackie says:

    There is a woman at my gym that will walk the length of the gym doing lunges but her hands look like she is riding a motorcycle and reving it up. Vroom Vroom!

  10. babeecass says:

    We have the “know-it-all” gay guy and his girlie entourage. This group walks around the gym, he talks about working out more than he actually works out and the girls do as he instructs, but more in a minimal attempt. This gym is at a university so we have a lot of young interactions going.

  11. Teresa says:

    Oops, I am a Laugher. I’m always listening to funny podcasts on the treadmill – music just doesn’t do it for me.

  12. Erin says:

    You all are seriously cracking me up! I wish all of these people were at my gym!!
    —FBG Erin

  13. John says:

    Hmmmm….. We’ve got the guy who loads up 400 lbs on the Smith machine for squats, then proceeds to let out the primal scream while descending a whole 3 inches before pushing it up, locking it back in and then jumping around high fiving his buddies.

  14. Audra says:

    At my office gym there’s the air-drummer (he always plays drums while on the treadmill – like you I want to ask what he’s listening to). I’ve seen him there so much over the past 3 years that when I see him other places at work I only refer to him as the air-drummer (I don’t know his actual name).

    And the old guy wearing jorts always makes me laugh.

  15. Candace says:

    There is an old man that whistles (VERY LOUDLY) in sync with his motions on the rowing machine. Naturally I call him The Whistler. There was also this guy who would do random acrobatics (headstands) while the rest of us were doing pushups in a class setting. Dude, yoga is next door.

  16. I am a clomper, although I weigh a lot currently. I didn’t realize it was bothersome to anyone else because everyone has headphones on when I go. One more thing to be self conscious about as a big gal at the gym :/ I can’t help it though. I am open to suggestions.

  17. Jacque says:

    I’m the overweight, middle-aged (pushing 40) woman trying to get back in shape. I “run” 3 miles everyday on my lunch hour at my work’ s (community college) fitness center…I am the lip-syncer! It is the only way I know how to run at a steady pace without getting a side stitch. It keeps me focused on my run & helps me breathe easier….only I look pretty funny lip syncing and getting into my music as I run…i sometimes apologize to fellow co-workers because I feel silly. But it gets me through my workouts.