If you have spent any time in gyms, then you’ve probably encountered someone who ruined your experience. Maybe someone started talking to you, and wouldn’t stop, despite your hints. Or maybe you spent 20 minutes on a treadmill beside someone with the volume on their iPod cranked so loud you couldn’t hear yourself think. Those of us who visit the gym on a regular basis have seen most of these annoying characters before.
5. The Music Man
He might have his personal music device attached to his arm or clipped to his waist, but no matter where he has it secured, he should have paid more attention to his earphones. This is the Music Man and he is intent on sharing his favorite pulse-pounding workout mix with everyone around him as it spills out, even drowning out the gym speakers or the TV set 5 feet away. A good workout requires a certain amount of focus and the Music Man on the stationary bike next to you can drive you to distraction.
4. The Grunter
An occasional grunt now and then can be indicative of giving an all-out effort on a particularly tough set. However, some people seem to make grunts and groans part of their regular routine, theatrically grunting their way through entire sets. Maybe they hope to draw attention to themselves and impress their fellow gym-goers with a series of Herculean exertions … or at least grunts. It’s more likely they have simply confused grunting noises with actual hard work. True effort is always appreciated, but making a spectacle of yourself as you grind out your repetitions can be very distracting to fellow gym-goers.
3. The Clanker
Some gyms have rubber weight plates or weight plates with a rubber coating that dampen the familiar metal clang heard in gyms every day of the week. Although these plates were not designed specifically for the species known as The Clanker, we can be thankful these plates are becoming more common in gyms. The Clanker may be related to The Grunter, as he appears to be similarly intent on drawing attention to his formidable-sounding exploits, letting weights crash together with seemingly every rep. The volume of the clanging sounds often seems related to the number of plates involved, with the noise rising as plates are added to the bar with gusto for all to hear. It is not only disruptive to your workout, it’s tough on the equipment, too.
2. The Camper
We’ve all seen The Camper in action. The Camper will typically take up residence on a workout bench, or sometimes a workout bike, and sit, drink coffee (!), read the newspaper, or talk — most anything except working out — occupying the equipment for an extended period of time. Or they may work out, doing a set of lifts every 10 minutes or so. Some gyms try to combat the urge to camp by posting time limits on coveted pieces of equipment during peak hours. In any event, The Camper is in no particular hurry to finish his workout and apparently is oblivious to the fact that other people are throwing poisonous looks his way, waiting for him to get off the equipment.
1. The Talker
The gym can be a temporary haven from the many distractions of daily life. However, few distractions can suck the life out of a productive trip to the gym like The Talker. It doesn’t matter if he is regaling everyone within earshot with his tales of conquest or a play-by-play analysis of last night’s game, he is determined to leave nothing out of his animated monologue. The Talker knows he must compete with the music and other noises in the gym so he elevates his voice so his workout partner can hear every word. However, in the process half of the people in the gym are forced to consider The Talker’s latest anecdotes and opinions.
One More: The Sweater
Some gyms require members to bring a towel along. Most provide paper towel dispensers on the workout floor. People tend to sweat during their workouts, but this fact has somehow eluded the exerciser known as The Sweater. Most of us have left a few drops on the floor, but The Sweater often blatantly violates gym etiquette that says you are to wipe down the equipment when you’re finished. And they seem totally oblivious to the fact they’ve left a sweaty mess for those who follow them.