real life

"The stories that made me never want to return to the gym. Ever."

Excilor Protector Spray
Thanks to our brand partner, Excilor Protector Spray

Gyms are seen as places of health and happiness. But whether you’re a gym bunny or a first-time treadmill user, no-one is immune to losing their dignity at the gym.

One year, in a fit of post New Year’s Eve self-realisation, I joined a gym and excitedly showed up for my first session. After getting lost on the way there and having to make a mad dash back to my car to retrieve a wayward shoe that was hiding from me under the seat, I finally showed up on the machine-filled floor.

Because of my terrible lateness, the super-fit gym person who was supposed to show me around and teach me how all the shiny machines worked had moved onto someone else and I was left to my own devices. How hard could it be? I thought to myself. Getting fit is all about positive thinking.

So I popped down on the first free machine I saw and happily pulled the two bars on either side of me across my chest. (Sorry I still can’t provide you with the correct, factual name of this piece of gym equipment.)

romy and michele's high school reunion 20 years
Romy and Michele know how I feel. Image: Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, Buena Vista Pictures

This would have been all good and fine, except the bars somehow locked across my chest and I found myself unable to move/breathe/call for help. I think it had something to do with the fact that a man with guns the size of the Big Pineapple had been using it before me.

I squirmed. I panted. I tried to use the power of my brain to will my boobs to become just a cup size smaller and free me from this metal prison. But none of those things worked. In fact, I’m still here, trapped in this machine. Send help.

But I’m not the first person to suffer a gym mishap, and nothing makes you feel better faster than hearing about the misfortunes of others. Here are the very worst gym stories I've heard:

"The day my toes turned yellow."

"Did you know that when you walk barefoot through a gym changing room or in the shower area that the spores from other people’s fungal infections can attach themselves to your feet and slowly work up under your nails and give you nail fungus?

"I do. That’s exactly what happened to me. At first I tried to ignore the symptoms, but one day I was standing in the changing room and a group of girls were standing next to me. Their merrily chatting voices quickly became hushed and when I finally looked up at them I realised they were starring in horror. At my feet.


"And, just to be fair, my feet did not look in any way okay. There was this white, scaly skin along the sides of my feet and the skin between my toes was, how do I put this…? It was mushy. The nail on my big toe had also started to turn a kind of sick yellowish colour, so all in all it was not a good look.

"From then on, I started using Excilor Protector Spray because it prevented me from ever getting nail fungus ever again. No warts or tinea either. It kinda acts like a kind of invisible sock for more than eight hours. It doesn’t wash off and protects my poor little feet from contamination in already infested shoes and socks. Yellow toes, NEVER again."

"No-one is safe when it comes to suffering an embarrassing gym moment." Image: Universal Pictures.

"I was nearly killed by an over-inflated gym ball." 

"I was happily minding my own business, doing sit-ups on a gym ball that had been over-inflated, when it slipped out from under my butt and I landed on the floor with a big loud thud.

"It really hurt, in fact, it hurt so much that I was trying to hold the tears in my eyes in as someone approached me. The guy leaned down and asked me if I was okay. He must have thought I was concussed because he asked so loudly that the entire gym turned around to look, which made it a thousand times more embarrassing.

"The ball had also hit another gym member which only made the situation worse, I had to walk over and apologise to them."

"I thought my instructor was flirting with me. He wasn't."

"I joined a new gym and as an enticement they threw in a free personal training session. I rocked up on the day and the trainer was pretty gorgeous. He was so smiley and friendly that I thought he was flirting with me throughout the session and I could barely do any of the exercises, because I kept trying to catch his eye and give him a bit of a 'wink'.

"The next day I went back to the gym and straight to the counter to book in another session with him, and the eyes of the girl serving me opened wide with recognition when I gave her my name. I thought it must have been because he'd mentioned me to her and I was beyond flattered.

how to cancel a gym membership
"I thought he was flirting so I could barely do any of the exercises." Image: iStock.

"Then she said it was really good that I'd come back, because the trainer had told her I needed a lot of help..."

"I made the worst sound known to mankind during a yoga class."

"I decided to reward my hard efforts at the gym by taking a hot yoga class. It was going really well until the yoga instructor told our class to all relax our bellies and glutes.

"So I just happened to relax just a little too much and EEEEK...." I won't go into exact detail about what sound came out of my lower half. But let's just say they could hear it over in the next suburb and I never went back to that class again."

So there you go. You're not alone, people.

What's the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you at the gym? Tell us below, we're all friends here.

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Excilor Protector Spray