What can I say? People watching comes naturally to me. It’s both fascinating and horrifying to observe people behave in ways that must seem appropriate to them.. but to everyone else, it’s just like.. no. To write a blog post on “People of the Gym”, particularly Group Fitness Participants, proved to be an outlet for all the overstimulation and commentary I’ve held in my head for the past decade. It was also gratifying to text friends to gather ideas and find out that they witness ridiculous people doing outrageous things in their gym classes too. PSA America: Do better. Your Group Fitness behavior is all kinds of dysfunctional.
Person Sending Help Signals With Their Eyes in the Fitness Room Mirrors
She looked terrified even in the warm-up, first red flag. You kept an eye on her to make sure she was emotionally ready to lock in her plank. How could you have known the mountain climber/side plank combo was her breaking point? You made eye contact in the fitness mirror and she unleashed a frenzy of eye blinking morse code. Based on your complete inability to understand morse code signals, you had no idea what she was communicating, but it seemed urgent which is why you went and gave her a big hug full of empathy and understanding. That was the last time she ever came to Body Attack.
The Close Stander
Also known as the ankle biter shadow, allllll up in your biz with their jumping jacks. The entire time I’m working out, I feel like they’re about to clip my Achilles tendon, which obviously explains why I don’t go all-in on my workout. I have to hold back the energy just a little bit on my jumping jacks, in case the need arises to whip around and roundhouse kick near my neighbors to establish my territory. “All. The. Space. I’m. Kicking. Is. Mine.” That outburst will buy you a five foot workout radius… highly recommend.
Girl Who Executed An Entire Mary Kay Make-Up Regimen Before Her 6am Class
The ones who wear make up to work out….. noooo maaa’aaaams! I’m not even talking to the women who exercise after their 9-5 desk job with some residual mascara still hanging on. I’m calling out the ones who show up to the gym before sunrise, trying to act like they aren’t wearing their Age Fighting Moisturizer + Liquid Foundation + Mineral Eye Shadow in Granite (girl i need this, lets talk after class) + Eye Liner + Mineral Blush to swing kettle bells. DON’T ACT LIKE YOU AREN’T WEARING BROW GEL. WE SEE YOUR GROOMED EYEBROWS. If I even make it to a 6am class, y’all gonna be so blessed by my morning regimen: chapstick, deodorant, eye slits half open just enough so I don’t walk into a door.
The Spot Stealer
1. You exchange pleasantries with everyone before the class starts.
2. You decide you like everyone here, this class is awesome, it’s going to be a great work out, endorphins are the best!
3. Spread out and get started. Kick, jump, bend, squat, sweat, smile, repeat. So amazing, you love this.
4. Break for water between songs.
5. Turn around and see that Catelynn- who you thought was your gym friend- put her mat down in the place you were just working out. Not too thrilled about this right now.
6. Weigh your options: 1) Confront her directly and confirm that wow, Catelynn did that on purpose because she’s the absolute worst. No wonder she spells her name like that. She needs to find some new real estate for her mat asap. Or 2) Put your mat down a foot away and passive-aggressively sigh as you do it. Complete any core-strengthening mat activities with one eye on the instructor and the other side-eyeing your Gym Nemesis.
7. Obviously you’ll choose Option 2 because you’re a lover not a fighter. But next time Catelynn steals your spot, she better know you WILL meet her after class for a street fight and maybe a smoothie.. because let’s just all get along.
These are the people who push their bodies to the brink of hospitalization every single class or else they feel ashamed to be alive. In my crowdsourcing of ideas for this post, a friend said, “The best is when I’m in Spin class and the teacher gives us a “break” and people jump off their bikes and do push-ups on the floor.” Whaaaaaat. Just reading that sentence makes me feel angry.
Come here, you tired little people. Just stop being so fancy all the time and let me tell you something. When a fitness instructor says you can “take a break”, that doesn’t mean you need to suddenly burn 900 calories in front of everyone. We would actually rather that you pause for a moment with some water, catch your breath like the rest of us, feel like you are physically dying and may never breathe again, plan the hymns for your funeral, then notice the break’s over and start peddling with the instructor again. That’s literally what everyone else is doing during a break.
Girl Who Wore Her Spandex Bikini To Work Out
It’s *almost* as if she meant to. Let me tell you something- I am a Christian woman but if this girl’s falling all out of her clothes in front of my husband, I will cut a sister so fast. I will slash the Father Son and Holy Spirit right into her at Fitness Connection. YALL TRY ME. I don’t even understand why this is a comfortable workout decision- to wear 1/8 of the amount of clothing that’s actually needed to keep all the girls tucked in. If Jigglypuff knows she’s about to do Step Aerobics, then she needs to make some smart life choices and ask, “WWJD” (What Would Joey Do).
No, it’s totally okay, you guys. Please continue having your conversation even though the instructor is having to talk over you to direct everyone to the next exercises. Also, please laugh REALLY LOUDLY a few more times so we can all like you a little less. In fact, while y’all were carrying on, the rest of the class set up an emergency GoFundMe and- good news!- we’ve raised enough money to buy you a Keurig and some armchairs. That soccer practice recap sounded really important so we thought y’all may want to get set up with some coffee in a location where we’ll never have to hear your voices again. Mkay, buhbye, xo.
The One Who’s Like: Nahhhh I’m Good
My favorite kind of person, because they’re only nine minutes into their Zumba class and they’re like “unless you play Despacito, I’m out”. They’re perpetually half a beat behind the rhythm. They’ve stumbled into 3-5 people already. Finally.. you see them pick up their keys, water bottle, and phone, and take off through the back doors. They’ll spend the last 40 minutes of the class in the locker room looking at their phone, because that’s still 40 precious minutes they don’t have to pick up their kid from childcare. Besides, Despacito is on YouTube.
That Guy Whispering “Can I have yo numbah” During Yoga
Thankfully not all the dudes in a group fitness class are like this, but there’s always one. The guy who’s trying to be super casual about going to yoga… but really he’s activating his facial recognition software to see who was on his Tinder feed last week. “ayyyy girl, how do u do downward dog, and ALSO..*whispers*.. will u go to olive garden with me?” You move into Warrior II pose and whisper back, “No, I get diarrhea and go into anaphylactic shock every time I eat gluten or vegetables or breadsticks, namaste tho.” That’ll teach him.
Overeager Middle-Aged Woman Having Her Midlife Crisis At This Exact Moment
I have witnessed- yes, this is true- a woman exuberantly participating in the front row of a Les Mills dance class wearing a belly chain of COINS over her tennis skirt. So many questions on this one, just so many.
1) Where was this purchased, Judy?
2) Do your sons know you’re doing this right now?
3) Will you use three of those coins to buy me a Powerade after class?
4) Is your midlife crisis happening right now at this exact moment?
5) Are you swinging the coins around off-beat on purpose? This is like clapping on the 1 and 3. I cannot handle this off rhythm coin clinking. Honestly Judy, if you are going to involve us in your midlife crisis, I need it to sync with my step touch.
Broseph With Something To Prove
(See related: The Overachiever)
Most likely to go way too hard at Boot Camp, and vom at the end for good measure.
Probably wearing a muscle shirt so there’s no doubt as to how many muscles he owns.
Not afraid to manly waddle in the gym instead of walk, because how else do you transport all those muscles from one location to the next?
The Third Trimester Pregnant Lady Squatting Lower, Jumping Higher, Lifting Heavier Than All Y’all
It’s a really special feeling you get as a very much not-pregnant-woman when you are slacking on burpees because of leg cramps, and you look over, and Maternity Mandy already finished her burpee variations with box jumps, flipped a fifty pound tire across the room, and is now forty seconds into holding a handstand. WHAT THE. GO HAVE YOUR BABY. And do like the other people who grew babies.. gain 50 pounds and wear your husband’s clothes and drink lemon water cuz you have cankles and literally roll to get out of bed. And if Maternity Mandy so much as posts one workout picture deadlifting a loaded barbell with her pregnant belly swinging around, report her photo as “inappropriate” to the Instagram gestapo, because no one should get a free pass from stretch marks and indigestion.
If you liked this post, share it with all your Gym Rat friends so they can get some act-right in their group fitness classes.
And while you’re here, check out similar posts:
People of the Beach: You Do You
Thank You Notes: People of the Gym