1. The Juice Monkey: Juice Monkeys are a staple of most weight rooms, although they will never be spotted near any cardio equipment. Juice Monkeys are characterized by an obvious abuse of steroids and associated extreme anger and hostility (roid rage). They often grunt and scream, but more often than not they yell obscenities. Then can be found standing near their workout area simply swearing for no reason. They often find it necessary to throw their dumbbells around, and make as much noise and disruption as possible. Other sure signs of a Juice Monkey include severe acne, gynecomastia (breast development) and testicular atrophy. Despite their athrophied testes, you should not encroach on their territory as mere eye contact may set these Neanderthals off.
Hint: For the sake of your health, it may be a good idea to drop the juice. For the sake of social integration, drop the bully attitude you perfected in grade school.
2. The Backstage Ass: The Backstage Ass is a relatively new species of gym goer that I only came across recently. This individual is so hardcore that even after they worked out in the appropriate gym space, they just haven’t gotten enough. The obvious solution? Exercise in the change room! That’s right, nothing says you are an intense exerciser more than a set of push ups among other naked men.
Hint: Next time you’re in the locker room feeling like you aren’t quite finished, just make your way back to the gym and finish up there. You can just wear a bandana to let everyone know how intense you are.
3. The American Idol: An increasing number of gym goers do their workouts while listening to their music. Many people swear that their music helps them get in the zone and increase the intensity of their workouts while reducing the perception of effort. All this is copacetic. The problem arises when people confuse the gym with a Karaoke bar. The American Idol has somehow decided their tone-deaf interpretation of Thin Lizzy’s “Boys are Back in Town” should not only be endured but be applauded by their fellow exercisers.
Hint: Stop It! When you get dirty looks from EVERYONE around you, it may be time to step off the stage and re-enter the reality of a gym.
4. The Napoleon Boneparte: Many guys who enter the gym for the first time, particularly those of a slight build, become intimidated by their perceived physical inferiority. The issue with Napoleons is their often dangerous overcompensation. They put more weight on the squat bar than they should, and inevitably end up on the ground, trapped underneath the weight of their stupidity. I can’t tell you how many guys I have rescued from choking themselves out with a barbell while doing bench press and not knowing their limits.
Hint: If you need your friend to hand you the weights because you can’t actually lift them yourself, it’s probably a good indication you should be using less weight. Also, if the only way you can squeeze out a single repetition of a given exercise is with your workout partner lifting 80% of the load – time to downsize Napoleon! If ridicule is your fear, you will attract much more of it by dropping a dumbbell on your head than doing an exercise properly with lighter weight.
5. The Kanye West: Given that the gym attracts those individuals who are concerned about their health and appearance, it is expected that you could bump into a few egomaniacs along the way. How can you spot the Kanye West at your gym? Easy – look for the mirrors! The Kanyes will be found mesmerized by their own reflection as they perform any of the following: roll up their sleeves and flex their biceps, run their hands through their hair, nonchalantly lift their shirts to flex their abs. You may find engaging in conversation with a Kanye West a tad difficult as they will often talk (usually unengaged) to you while continuing to stare at themselves in the mirror.
Hint: Experts agree that the proportion of time at the gym spent posing in front of a mirror is negatively associated with fitness gains, but positively related with looking like a moron.
6. The Perez Hilton: While both genders can be equally guilty of being a Perez Hilton at the gym, I’ve noticed a huge surge in the number of females who congregate on exercise mats simply to chat and gossip. Every once in a while they may stretch an arm or leg, but for the most part, their mouth is getting the majority of the workout. This also applies to chatting on your cell phone.
Hint: Sitting on an exercise mat for over an hour while doing nothing other than chatting is not actually working out. Given the gym is for actually doing something, and space is limited, please just go to a coffee shop and do your gossiping there. And think – you won’t even have to change into gym clothes!
7. The Screamer: Competing for airwave domination with the American Idol is the always present gym Screamer. Although most people think that only hardcore weight lifters scream because they are lifting tons of weight, this is a common misconception. In fact, screamers come in all shapes and sizes. Oddly enough though, they are almost always males. My take on screaming is the following: when a 100lb girl is squatting more weight than you in the next rack over, and is doing so silently, there is no reason for you to be grunting like a rabid boar.
Hint: Breathe regularly during each exercise. Grunting and yelling when bench-pressing the weight of your cat is completely unnecessary. In fact, doing so can pose a safety hazard for those around you who may actually be lifting a relatively heavy load and are trying to concentrate.
8. The Uninvited Experts: “Hey, did you know that if you turn your feet 5 degrees outwardly you can really fire up the glutes when doing that squat.” “You should really try clenching your butt when doing bench-press – it really helps develop your core.” These are just a few examples of the misinformation many Uninvited Experts feel necessary to tell you while you are working out. In many situations, the Uninvited Experts are actually staff members at the gym you are attending. Be careful with advice that spills out of these “experts”; despite their confidence in their own knowledge, a weekend course and a subscription to Men’s Health rarely provides one with adequate understanding of exercise physiology.
Hint: Unless asked for advice, please keep it to yourself.
9. The Rico Suave: The Rico Suaves are a huge nuisance for many female gym goers. Rather than working out, the Rico Suave lurks silently until he finds his prey: a female. In a flash, he pounces and drops any of the following on an unsuspecting female victim: “Hey, do you need a spot?”, “So, you like working out, eh?”, “Do you mind if I do my bicep curls (and grunt) directly in front of you despite the fact there is plenty of space elsewhere?”, “You want to get a protein shake after this?”
Hint: The large majority of females at the gym are there for one purpose: to get a workout and clear their head. Unless the female you are attempting to woo is a Bar Star (see below), let her exercise in peace and save your pickup lines (and the inevitable rejections) for the bar that night.
10. The Bar Star: The female equivalent of the Rico Suave. Tube top, hoop earrings, a pound of make-up, and not a bead of sweat – the defining features of the Bar Star. Much like Rico above, the Bar Star frequents a gym not for any fitness purpose, but to find a suitable mate. If I had my way, each gym would actually have a designated room where the Ricos and the Bar Stars could aggregate. The room would be void of any actual equipment, since equipment is only ever used by these individuals as a prop for their posing or as camouflage for their lurking.
Hint: If you really want to pick up a guy while at the gym, at the very least stay clear of the equipment that others actually want to use. Hanging out by the water fountain may be a great alternative – you can even spray yourself with some water to make it look like you actually did something!
Which one of these gym goers irritates you the most? Did I overlook any? Feel free to vent your frustrations in the comments section.