sports

The 7 kinds of people you'll find at the gym.

Hi. My name is Emma and I like to watch people at the gym. Creep, I know.

I dislike the gym – not hate, but dislike. But I must go. Because I’m not a rockstar with a trendy haircut and designer workout wear who has a personal chef to whip up tantalising gluten-free, macrobiotic, organic, portion-balanced meals to accompany my two hour-long, PT-guided FIIT sessions in my big backyard.

I like to sometimes purchase a block of Milky Bar and eat half of it while sitting in the lounge room of my one-bedroom flat, and then coax myself to go to my increasingly crowded and sweat-pooled local gym where the ceiling is way too low and the air con has been broken for months.

These are my realities. I accept them.

But at my gymnasium – even if it is built of faults – I can discreetly indulge in my people-watching habit. Practice makes perfect and consequently, I have become very, very good at reading human beings, sussing out their deal, and categorising them into certain cliques. (Post continues after video.)

My dividing has happened whilst cycling on the stationary bike, or on the treadmill where I plod along at 11km/hr thinking that one day, I’ll miraculously run a four-minute mile. I won’t.

Here’s a tour of my gym – complementary, of course.

1. The Workout Couple

Couples who exercise together stay together? Whatever. You make me ill. Do it by yourself. And stop giving each other congratulatory pecks on the lips after you’ve finished your three sets of shoulder press reps. Just STOP.

2. Women who wear those gloves

If you are going to become a body builder and bicep curl 15kg, wear those gloves, love. No one wants blisters. But you, the svelte and attractive 35-year-old in the cute running shorts and pink racer-back singlet – you, my friend, do not need them for your load. No you do not. And you won’t pick up guys with them either. They are a repellent. (Post continues after gallery.)

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3. The Shredding Bros

Categorised by deep tans, a perplexing array of non-matching tattoos, and those cotton singlets with photos of hazy naked chicks on the front and the deep armpit holes. They spot each other, count each other’s reps, and drink protein shakes together.

You bros can stay. Because you actually have pretty good muscles. And you make me laugh.

4. The Awkward Action-ers

I probably fit into this category with my unco-ness.

To be admitted into this group you need to have flawed technique. Like the guy who runs like his feet are made of lead and may at any moment break the treadmill with his thudding stride; or the girl who somehow manages to incorporate this odd swaying head movement on that cross trainer thingy, which is as distracting as it is mesmerising.

This group is invariably not designed to exercise like pros. But they try hard – A for effort.

bridget jones
Bridget Jones' treadmill technique was adorably clumsy

5. Old Mate: The Youth Clinger

I applaud you, dear sir, on attending the gym at 75 years old. You go, Glen Coco. You are an inspiration with your full man pushups and bench pressing antics. But maybe choose longer shorts. Don’t be venturing into the territory of the bald guy at yoga who wears white Y-fronts to class. It ain’t savoury.

6. Gym Grunters

It don’t get any more simple then this. Exercise is a silent activity, except for puffing noises - they are, of course, acceptable. Any noise that is created using the strength of your diaphragm and the effort of your larynx is barred. Zip. It.

It’s disgusting. Stop making me want to punch you.

7. The Fitness Freaks

You are good at exercise. You have great bodies. You come regularly. I get it. You are the Kings and Queens of the gym. You know how to use all the equipment and I’m pretty sure you dishonourably judge the Awkward Action-ers. I am just some pleb that aspires to be like you one day.

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Jokes. I like Reese's Pieces too much.

types of people at gym
The cast of Eric Prydez' lycra-tastic 'Call on Me' video

There are, of course, other categories of those who work out, but hell, they are not nearly as entertaining. Just so you, dear reader, a possible fellow gym-goer, don’t feel left out... a final summary. You may be:

- A teenage boy who wants to get big arms.  And quads. And abs. But I promise you, it’s going to take a while unless you stop looking at yourself in the mirror and at the girls in short shorts parading around the gym floor.

- A 20-minute gym goer. I understand, changing the music on your iPod is way more interesting than lunging. So you leave. Bored and unsatisfied. My analysis? You need adventure. Take up rock climbing.

- What I call 'a walker'. You come to the gym to walk on the treadmill and watch Ellen or The View. Your choice, but I like walking while looking at nature.

- Normal and just do normal gym things. If you are the latter, congrats on developing a sane and healthy work out routine. But you, my standard, methodical and average exerciser, do not help me with my one great gym-based skill of people watching. My habit is made awesome by the weirdos, who I love dearly.

It is you oddbods who continues to encourage me to go back to the gym, time and time again. Not to work off my booty, but to keep me giggling. And marvelling at how amazing the human race actually is.

Are there any gym people we've missed here?

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