The 10 Most Annoying People You Meet at the Gym

January 13, 2011

The gym is like an office for insane people. However, unlike the daily torture chamber that we all call “a job," people actually pay gyms to get physically and emotionally tortured on a daily basis. It shouldn’t be this way. Gyms should have to pay us to go to their fitness-themed S&M clubs, especially since we have to deal with these aerobic a-holes.

Source: Andersen Ross/Digital Vision/Getty Images

By Danny Gallagher

10. The Show-Off

If you’ve reached an ideal weight and a body that would make most Greek gods green with envy, stay the hell home. You don’t need to go to the gym. You’re already ahead of the fitness curve. Just stay at home, do some bench presses with your house, and leave the rest of us to sweat and wheeze in peace.

Those who don’t heed this warning go to the gym for one reason: to show the world just how strong, fast, and agile they are over the rest of their blubbery brethren. They aren’t there to make sure they burn off their excess calories or get in their daily 10 miles. They actually pay good money to go to a public place and silently brag about their ability to process food faster than a garbage furnace when they should be spending it on self-improvement therapy, steroid detox, or clothes that aren't ill-fitting spandex.

Personal Heroes: Jack LaLanne, Jillian Michaels, Their Personal “Juicer” (the person, not the appliance)

Most Familiar Sayings: “I’ll bet I can bench her!”, “More weight!”, “I have never used steroids. Period.”

9. Mrs. “Don’t Look at Me!”

Source: B2m Productions/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

I’ll never know the self-conscious feeling women experience at the gym. Sure it’s hard for anyone trying to get into shape to be surrounded by such false perfection, but at least women can look at the fit guys and swoon without getting a rape whistle blown in their face.

The gym may be full of extremely hot women, but it’s really hard to gauge that number because so many of them glare or outright complain about you staring at them for a period longer than five seconds. Can we help it if nature’s creator hard-wired the males of the species to look at beautiful women the way that a hungry lion looks at the meat trolley at Tony Roma’s? If God didn’t want men to fully appreciate the female form, he wouldn’t have given us the stripper pole, the Internet, or eyes.

Personal Heroes: Darva Conger, Vidal Sassoon, Medusa

Familiar Sayings: “What are you looking at?”, “Stop staring at me!”, “Put away that camera phone.”

8. The Warrior

Source: David Lees/Stone/Getty Images

Life may be a giant competitive rat race where the last rat standing gets whatever cheese is left over after the IRS is done with it, but it shouldn’t be that way at the gym. It should be a temple of relaxation and personal improvement. It’s too bad they don’t come with therapists because this guy could use one.

You and your buds are about to enjoy a quick 30-minute game of basketball, but to him, every point is another step towards ultimate glory or never-ending death. His competitiveness turns him into a snarling beast of personal taunts and extreme disappointment, especially when absolutely nothing is at stake but the score on the board. He’s the reason your gym requires you to leave a driver’s license at the desk when you borrow their basketballs because he keeps leaving bite marks in them after every game.

Personal Heroes: John McEnroe, Bobby Knight, Coach Reilly from The Mighty Ducks

Familiar Sayings: “Get your head in the game!”, “That was so NOT a foul!”, “Just because your leg’s broken doesn’t mean you’re dead!”

7. The Human Sponge

Source: Olaf Tiedje/Photodisc/Getty Images

Gyms are a breeding ground for germs, bacteria and other microscopic beings that set up shop in every excretion the human body can muster. It’s not really a huge problem unless you’re a huge germophobe who has to wipe down everything with sanitizer from your hands to the bottle that’s housing the sanitizer.

Most germ fears are created by this gym regular who sweats so much that he could use his bodily water to refill his car’s radiator and still have enough left over to irrigate a small Vietnamese village. He sweats so profusely that his footprints leave shoe-shaped puddles wherever he goes and his smell lingers like a haunting cheese fart that gave birth to asparagus. And he always uses the machines you use right before you use them. It’s not that he means to be rude or doesn’t wipe down the machines before you use them. The problem is that no towel on Earth has that much absorption power to clean up the flash sweat floods he leaves behind him.

Personal Heroes: The Sham-Wow Guy, The inventor of Brut

Familiar Sayings: “Nah I’m good, I don’t need a shower”, “Phew! What died in here?”, “Hey, mind if I use your towel?”

6. The Drill Sergeant

Source: Colin Anderson/Blend Images/Getty Images

Everybody needs motivation just to get to the gym. And even when you find the strength to put on pants and go down there, it’s hard to find a reason to not just spend the entire night hitting on the cute girl at the juice bar or enjoy free cable news.

Most people hire a trainer or bring a friend who knows what they are doing. Some of these so-called “helping hands” think that everybody should be able to do as much as they can do and somehow, the power of their loud, obnoxious voice will shame your muscles into overcoming the laws of human physics. Not only are they constantly in your face as you try to avoid giving yourself a hernia, but they can be heard in the spinning class in the gym in the next county over as they scream “Push” more times than the world’s busiest gynecologist.

Personal Heroes: R. Lee Emery, Their high school gym teacher, That voice in their head that keeps telling them how much they suck

Familiar Sayings: “Fight it!”, “(Water/Oxygen/An ambulance) is for winners!”, “Don’t give me that ‘I’m having a heart attack’ excuse.”


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5. The Judge

Source: Hans Neleman/Taxi/Getty Images

It’s human nature to look at people and have just a gut reaction to them based on their outward appearance without finding ways to overcome such shallow criteria. Of course, it’s harder to move on to the second category when you’re staring at someone with the pupil strength of a high-powered telescope.

He or she doesn’t have to say anything to make themselves known. They just have that piercing stare that makes them look as though their gaze is cemented on the person or persons they are physically undressing with their eyes. They seem so fixated on someone (or worse, you) that you can just imagine them practicing at home as they time themselves removing clothes off a mannequin with nothing but their eyelids. The hardest part is definitely trying to remove the bra strap.

Personal Heroes: Tom Leykis, Hugh Hefner, The Hubble Telescope

Familiar Sayings: “Mmmmmm,” “Daddy likes,” “Ow! My corneas!”

4. The Grunter

Source: Thomas Tolstrup/Iconica/Getty Images

Working out is hard work. You are constantly pushing yourself to the edge of your physical threshold to improve lung function, increase your heart’s endurance, and build muscles you didn’t know you had. Your voice box, by the way, isn’t a muscle, so it has no use in exercise unless you’re trying to beef up how stupid you sound.

These vocal exercises can let an entire room of sweaty iPod-listening exercisers know exactly what exercise they are doing just by the sound of their gutteral, subhuman expressions. A series of small high-pitched grunts means they are doing their core exercises. Their long, throaty wails indicate they're doing some heavy lifting. Their loud and sudden “Ooofs” either means they've accidentally dropped a heavy barbell on their tongue or someone annoyed by their loud grunts has done that for them.

Personal Heroes: Monica Seles, Clyde from Any Which Way But Loose

Familiar Sayings: “UNNNNNGH!”, “ARRRGGGG!”, “You mind turning your headphones down? I can’t hear myself think.”

3. The Sneaker Squeaker

Source: David Madison/Photodisc/Getty Images

Nothing tortures the mind more than a tiny, seemingly harmless sound that’s repeated over and over until it echoes in your ear. In fact, it’s a wonder that NBA games don’t have more crazed players turning on the fans. Well, more than they already have.

Your friend and his pair of lucky workout shoes spend an hour creating a musical medley of squeaks, squirts, and squits. They don’t just make a very annoying noise. They repeat on cue with every step he takes across the basketball court or they bounce off the walls of the racquetball court and assault the naughty parts of your ear drum. He might think his special shoes are lucky because they help him earn a win, but he really doesn’t know that he’s just lucky that you don’t show him how to grip his gym racquet without using his hands.

Personal Heroes: Dr. Scholl's, Friction

Familiar Sayings: “Do you hear that?”, “I told you I was good at juking,” “Speak up. You keep mumbling something.”

2. The Hairy Mess

Source: Photos by Rob Jones III/Flickr/Getty Images

Scores of backwoods hermits and drunken hunters keep claiming to have seen a large hairy creature with human-like qualities roaming the woods in their backyard. I’ve actually seen something similar too. He works out at my gym and he turns every piece of exercise equipment into a fitness-themed Chia Pet.

It’s hard to know what’s more impressive: the fact that God has granted him with so much hair on every part of his body except his head or the fact that so much of it falls out and seems to grow back twice as fast. Either God granted him extra hair in exchange of common decency, or a strong sense of clinical hygiene habits, or he’s trying to save up enough of it to knit a fur coat for his wife on their anniversary.

Personal Heroes: Robin Williams, Cousin Itt from The Addams Family, Clyde from Any Which Way But Loose

Familiar Sayings: “Nah I’m good, I don’t need a shower”, “Phew! What died in here?”, “Hey, mind if I use your towel?”

1. The “Never Should Be Naked But Always Is” Guy

Source: Hans Neleman/Photodisc/Getty Images

And just when you’re ready to leave this physical and emotional test of human endurance, you come face to face with the most ghastly sight of all. At least, you better hope it’s face to face.

He (or she, but I’m assuming most guys aren’t that picky) parades around the locker room without a care in the world and the only way you can remove the image of his freedom from your mind is if you bleach your brain and throw it in the dryer on permanent press. And just as you try to avert your gaze, he always tries to strike up a conversation with you whether you know him or not or even want to know him or not. It’s enough to make you physically lose your lunch. The irony is if you just did that before you started working out, you would not have had to go the gym in the first place.

Personal Heroes: Janet Jackson, Adam and/or Eve, Their “lipo-guy”

Familiar Sayings: “Don’t worry, I’ll pick that up for you,” “Man it’s cold in here...”, “See you in church, my son."



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