Human beings are fascinating creatures. For all our supposed differences and imagined divisions, if you see enough of the world, you realize that at the end of the day, we are all pretty much the same. Our likes and dislikes vary to be sure, but the core of us is essentially the same.
I have been in and out of gyms since my early teens. These have ranged from dark and dingy basements with shady characters to places with shiny chrome equipment maintained by true professionals. And even though these joints were spread across three continents and a number of seafaring vessels, there are certain stereotypes that I couldn’t help but notice. These are behaviors that are exhibited regardless of creed or color. It doesn’t matter where the gym is, or what sort of clientele it caters to, they always show up. Like a stubborn case of herpes (and about just as fun). And because being forewarned is being forearmed, I present to you, the ten gym douchebags:
1) The Poser
This creature has but one mission in any gym. To use every mirror in the joint so that he can better appreciate himself. Coming in a variety of shapes, ranging from beached whale to concentration camp survivor, this male (always a male) revels in the act of preening. His powers of self-delusion are legend. For instance, he is well known for convincing himself that the laws of physiology have no hold over his gorgeous self. Observe how he loves to flex, clench and pose after each set of every exercise, convinced that the last ten seconds have transformed his musculature to Titan like levels.
[Deterrent: Ignore him. Pretend he does not exist. It will drive him insane and will force him to pose himself to a cramp. Problem solved]
This guy likes to yell. It doesn’t matter what he’s doing, or how much effort it takes. He is convinced that if he does not yell or at least grunt like a cave man in heat, the universe will implode with him at the center. Listening to him can be confusing as it is unclear whether he’s just trying to pump himself up or passing a golf ball sized kidney stone. Maybe one of those creatures from “Aliens” is tearing through his chest right there in the middle of the gym. It sure as hell sounds like it.
[Deterrent: an iPod with a good set of earphones. Alternatively: Earplugs]
3) The Fashionista
Exercise? Sweat? WRINKLES?!? Oh no, no, no. This one can’t have any of that. One of the rare douchebags that has equal representation across genders, this person views the gym floor as a fashion ramp. Sure they can’t do a push up to save their lives but have you looked at dem shoes? Usually in their teens or early twenties, they frequently hang around with “Posers” who undoubtedly seem like kindred spirits. Many males in this group have a hilarious fixation with their hair, which they keep in place with unholy amounts of gel. The females of the group are particularly annoying. They usually sport enough makeup to put Bollywood starlets to shame and frequently giggle for no goddamn reason.
[Deterrent: Sweat is like Kryptonite to these people. Work yourself into a good sweat and go stand next to them to see them shrivel. For bonus points, enjoy the hilarity that ensues if you get a drop on their threads]
4) The Skunk
If body odor was a superpower, these guys would put Superman to shame. The fetid miasma that hangs around them is strong enough to kill vegetation and wilt wallpaper. It’s easy to point them out, as they usually have an invisible force field around them. Anyone entering within a two meter radius is automatically repelled. Any section of the gym they go to will instantly clear out, making it easy for others to see the source of danger. Like “Fashionistas”, they could be either male or female.
[Deterrent: Keep calm and….OMG KILL IT WITH FIRE!!]
5) The “Oh no you don’t” guy.
Always a male with a horrible inferiority complex, this parasite chooses a target and tries to outdo anything the target does. This is not a case of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery though. No, this guy is convinced that anything you can do, he can do better. Ran three miles? “Oh no you don’t!” He can do three miles and a foot. Bench pressed two hundred pounds? “Oh no you don’t!” He can do two hundred and one. Doesn’t matter that it was half a rep, the important thing is that, at least in his mind, he BEAT you. Ha! In fact, he is convinced that he is just a flat out better human being than you ever will be. No point asking yourself what his problem is, maybe he just grew up missing a few hugs. Maybe his mom dropped him as a baby. It doesn’t matter. He just does not like you.
[Deterrent: A perfect deadlift. Go for a personal best while maintaining perfect form. Remember, this guy does not know what “technique” is. His only goal is to lift more. An improperly executed deadlift is a good way to get a slipped disc or worse. Congratulations! You just hit a personal record and gave this douchebag a hernia]
6) The Sage
The Sage sees himself as a font of knowledge. And apparently everyone is dying for a sip. It doesn’t matter if this douche bag is sixteen or sixty, in reality he is a font of douche. Constantly rattling about “secrets” that he alone is privy to, he will not let go of a single opportunity to give unneeded and often ridiculous advice. Very often this will be via commenting on how you are doing a particular exercise “wrong”. Older douchebags of this type will proudly regale you with feats of strength and manliness that they performed “back in the day”. Don’t feel sorry for them, their glory is just as imaginary as their wisdom. True warriors never boast.
[Deterrent: When confronted by a useless piece of advice, ask a very specific, technical question. Something on the lines of “But how does a machine with limited range of movement fire up the primary muscles without risking supporting soft tissue?” Watch them mumble incoherently and walk on]
7) The Unprofessional
Unlike the other douchebags on the list, this one is genuinely harmful. Whereas the others are annoyances that can be tolerated or negated, this guy is downright dangerous. Often seen sporting a t-shirt with the title of “Trainer” or “Instructor”, he is a source of major injury. To put it simply, this guy will do anything to prove he is a “professional”. This includes but is not limited to: giving incorrect direction, poorly assessing goals and progress, not paying attention to his victims (clients) so an and so forth. This person has no formal training, is not certified and has nothing but elementary knowledge of human physiology (if any). He will stubbornly stick to a “routine” ripped out of a magazine regardless of what your goals and abilities are. Mention the phrases “functional training” or “core strength” and try not to laugh at his confused ape expression.
[Deterrent: No messing around with this one. Lodge a formal complaint to management if he does not leave you alone. Someone this unprofessional has no business calling himself a trainer. Remember, this guy is capable of causing serious long term injury]
8) The Cellphone Slave
Most human beings feel crippled if they lose a limb. You know, like a hand or a foot. To cripple this one, take away his/her phone. One must wonder why this person shows up to the gym at all. Of the fifty minutes he/she is there, forty nine are spent talking to someone. Granted some of them might be on a treadmill walking at a leisurely pace or even on a bike. But hell, that’s what streets are for. If they just eschew the gym membership entirely, they could buy a crap ton of extra talk time. Frankly, there are two problems with Cellphone Slaves. Firstly, they are LOUD. Secondly, they love to boast. About their awesome jobs, their swanky apartments or their bloody phones. You know that annoying sound of nails being scraped across a chalkboard? Imagine that in human form.
[Deterrent: The same as applied to Tarzans]
9) The Slimeball
Animals have different ways of staking out their territory in the wilderness. Pheromones, howling, shedding skin, stuff like that. The Slimeball does so in the gym by completely drenching a piece of equipment with sweat. Now sweating is a healthy thing, I get that. I also understand that some of us sweat more than others. But there is no excuse for not wiping up after yourself. None. Nada. Carrying a small towel is not that hard. It’s a wonder this guy doesn’t just start peeing all over the place just to prove a point.
[Deterrent: Carry a small pack of disinfectant wipes. Upon encountering a bench “marked” by a Slimeball, point to it and go “EEEEEEEEEEW” as loudly as you can before proceeding to wipe it off with a look of utter disgust. If you are close enough for the Slimeball to notice (that’s the whole point), mission accomplished]
10) The Pick-up Artist
Very often a teenage male that has just discovered the wonders of hormones, the Pick Up Artist can also extend to much older, and creepier males that have recently discovered MTV. These walking bags of douche are in the gym to get laid. Period. The sheer number of crummy pick-up lines these guys can come up with is nauseating. The antics they will go through to get a female’s attention are hilarious. It is tempting enough to grab a giant bag of popcorn and call some friends over to watch the show. The most astonishing thing about them though, is the fact that sometimes, they actually succeed. Yeah. That does happen.
[Deterrent: Pepper spray and mace are your friends. It is good to have friends]
Got any more to share? Fire away in the comments section.