Gym Characters – The People You Know and Love

It’s time to meet the “GYM” characters at your local Fitness Facility.  Every local “GYM” has a few of these celebrities.  Read below.  Count them up and let me know how many you have at your local workout spot.  I’ve placed myself in this group.  Full Disclosure.  I’m 5-11, 170 pounds dripping wet.  My arms are as big as the handle of your bathroom plunger, and the only spot I’ve ever received is the one on my shirt after spilling OJ.

“The Mayor”  – This is the guy that somehow knows every single soul in the gym.  The 85-year old man on the treadmill.  Check.  The Mayor knows his Grandkids.  The 16-year old football player.  Check.  The Mayor knows his dad.  The 21-year old Collegiate Volleyball player.  Check.  The Mayor knows her uncle.  The 36-year old Spinning Instructor.  Check.  The Mayor saw her at the Grocery Store.  The Mayor spends at least 3 hours at the gym per visit.  Then the other day out of nowhere he passes me, says “What’s up Jeff,” and keeps on walking.  I’m honored.

“The Chiropractor” – The following conversation actually took place between this superstar and me.  “Excuse me sir.”  I, of course, ignore this statement because I’m in the middle of a set with sweat pouring down my forehead.  “Ummm…Excuse me sir, your form is wrong.  You need to keep your back straight, head up, and eyes forward.”  “Are you talking to me?” I respond.  “You do realize that I’m not in the military.  I’m not even close to being that tough…or cool…”  “Well, I’m going back to school to be a chiropractor and I’m just looking out for your back.”  “I appreciate the advice.  Thank you.”  I reply politely.  Next set.  I continue doing what I’m doing.  “Ummmm, sir (yes I’m in the middle of the set again), you need to stop doing that.  You’re doing it wrong.”  “Okay, so here’s the thing Dr Spine.  I respect your education and knowledge, but I have no weight on this bar, I’m stretching.  My back is not going to be damaged.  I just ran 5 miles, and am stretching.  That’s it.  Also, I have headphones on, and cannot hear you when you’re talking to me.  (He doesn’t need to know that the battery on my iPod is dead and I can hear every word he’s spewing).  So, with all due respect, can you leave me alone?  My back will be just fine.  Thank you.”  I say in a soft, kind tone.  “Fine, go ahead and do permanent damage to your spine, but don’t call me when you need an adjustment.”  I’m on the other side of the gym at this point.  The Chiropractor is making some sort of mark in his note pad.  My guess the note says something like “Skinny, sweaty guy in the Cardinal Baseball T-shirt is a jerk.”  Perfect.  I just ruined things for half the guys in here.  They all owe me one.

“The Teacher” – This is the guy that lathers chalk all over his hands prior to picking up a barbell or dumbbell.  Some say the chalk helps one grip the bar or dumbbell due to drying out the perspiration on one’s hands.  I say “grab a towel” or wear some gloves.  There’s chalk everywhere.  Remember when you were in 5th grade, went to the front of the class to participate in a Speed Math game, then had chalk all over you until you could find a sink prior to lunch.  Same thing here.  “The Teacher” goes to his bag of chalk which he most likely purchased at I-am-the-man-dot-com slams his hands together like Lebron James prior to an NBA game, grabs the bar, does his thing, then leaves.  Now, the rest of us are left with a chalkboard for a bar.  I guess my classroom chore is to clean the boards this week.  Thank you Teacher.

“The Match” – Either gender applies here.  This is the person that somehow matches everything he/she wears to the gym.  Typical gym attire is Red Shoes, Royal Blue Socks, Red Shorts with a Royal Blue Nike Swoosh, a Red and Royal Blue checkered, sleeveless (of course) “muscle” shirt that reads “Pain is Temporary, Muscles are Forever” on the front with Royal blue wrist bands and a Red headband.  It’s phenomenal.  Every piece of clothing this person wears to the gym matches.  What’s even more amazing… Same clothing list the next day, just switch the color combo to Green and Yellow. I want to see this person at some other locale (grocery store, the mall, a restaurant, anywhere) just to see if he/she matches all day, everyday.  It’s a talent.  Good for him/her.

“The Cop” – True story here too.  One morning (I go to the gym at 5am), I’m at the far corner of they gym doing squats on a Smith Machine (not my personal machine in case you were wondering, but it’s actually named for one of my many cousins who invented the machine…my best guess).  I’m a good 150 feet from the nearest person.  Nobody even close to me.  I do squats with my shoes off for balance reasoning.  One of the workers at the gym actually clued me in on this once a long time ago.  Again, middle of the set, a 70ish year old man walks over to me and says “You need to put your shoes on.”  I, of course, have headphones on…and yes, the battery life has ended.  It ended days ago, but I wear them anyway to avoid this type of conversation.  “You need to put your shoes on!  Now!”  I conclude my set.  He’s now 3 feet from me.  “Excuse me, I couldn’t hear you.  As you can see, I have head phones on, and was in the middle of something over here in the corner by myself.”  “You need to put your shoes on…It’s a rule…You’re violating a rule.”  “I’m sorry” I reply “I don’t see a YMCA shirt on you.  Do you work here?  Or maybe are you related to the “MCA’s”?  If not, “Y” do you care Mister MCA?”  “Because it’s a rule, and you’re not following it.  It’s a safety issue.”  “Do you know what’s unsafe?”  I calmly explain, “Interrupting someone in the middle of the set while they have a couple of hundred pounds on his neck while in a deep knee bend, then yelling at them loud enough to startle that person.  I’d also like to point you to the rule on this board that says “Be courteous to your fellow members.”  So, until you can either prove to me that you work here or somehow you’re blood related to the YMCA family, I’d like for you to leave me alone.  You can go back to doing what you were doing on the other side of the gym, where I’m not located or you can stand right there and watch me work out.  Your call.”  And the headphones go back in my ears when “the cop” says “I cannot believe this generation.”  I’m 37 years old.  Sorry to all of you between the ages of say 30 and 45.   I just ruined your reputation with “The Cop.”

I’m going to stop for now, but there are more …

Oh by the way, I’m “Morning Hair Guy” … or “Bed Head Ted.”  The first time that I look in any mirror is when I’m pulling the 5 pound weights off the rack to bench press.  Then, I look up, and holy Pillow had a Party, my hair looks like a tangled mess of disaster.  Here’s the thing.  I.  Don’t. Care.  And, that’s the last time I look in a mirror until the next morning…when I meet “Blue Tooth” … and more Gym Characters.  Foreshadowing… Who talks on the phone while in the middle of a set?  And who in the world is the guy talking to at 5am?  More on Blue Tooth in the next post.

To Be Continued …



  • Ed M

    Jeff, I hope you weren’t talking about me in this commentary! I couldn’t stop laughing and was trying to figure out who fit what type of gym persona.
    Too funny, my outlook in the morning won’t be the same.