It’s a battle I wage each day, against a deadly enemy – Flab. I’m winning the battle, I’m glad to report, thus far. However, it’s not the flab that scares me. I can deal with that. What I can’t deal with is other gym-members.
Some of the specimens in the gym:
The Brand Ambassador: An upwardly mobile manager in a leading IT company, she’s in the gym because it would be good for her career – and she has a corporate gym membership. Only the finest brands will touch her body. Clad in Nike shoes and socks made from 100% Egyptian cotton, her impressive hind-quarters encased in Adidas slacks that aren’t slack anywhere, an original Calvin Klein T-shirt proudly bearing her corporate logo on the front and her company’s mission statement on the back, the Brand Ambassador is a walking advertisement for the corporate world. Even the sweatband on her forehead has a catchy corporate slogan on it, like ‘Bad girls play hard’, or some such nonsense.
The problem is, she doesn’t want her brand equity to be spoiled by her sweat, so she restricts herself to a dainty five-minute walk on the treadmill, interrupted by several sips of Gatorade in a Nike water bottle that is certified by the US-FDA to be BPA-free.
The Gym Gossip: Compulsive talker, happily rotund, in her mid-thirties, mother of two, a successful home-maker. Has intimate knowledge of what’s happening in every home within a 5 km radius of the gym. Her major purpose in life is to share that intimate knowledge with the rest of the world. Her husband has bought her a full year’s gym membership to get her out of the house and enjoy some peace for a change.
Accompanied by her equally rotund and gossipy neighbor, the Gym Gossip is the one member who thoroughly enjoys her time in the gym, since she gets to exercise her favorite muscles – the ones in her jaw. She and her friend will hop onto the treadmills, set the lowest possible speed, and literally walk the talk. Since she has the remarkable ability of talking continuously and listening at the same time, the Gym Gossip in action is an awe-inspiring sight. She can easily bring the entire gym to a halt by the sheer volume of her gossip.
The Sweaty Love-birds: Young couple, deeply in love, prefer to be in a live-in relationship because marriage is so passé, you know. They share everything – bed, breakfast, toothbrush, Facebook profile, and sweaty gym towels. If there was a way to share a treadmill, they’d do that too. They enter the gym giggling and holding hands, exchange meaningful looks and touch each other intimately when they think no one’s looking (but choose to forget about all the mirrors in the gym), do their workouts together, wipe each other’s sweat and ‘accidentally’ touch each other while doing so, and make encouraging remarks about each other’s butts or other prominent body parts. The female squeals loudly at regular intervals and the male glares at any one who casts his eyes on his lady-love. The Sweaty Love-birds are generally amusing to watch (or sickening, depending on one’s age and married status), especially on the days the lady-love wears her skin-colored lycra suit.
The Hyperhidrotic Hog: The most appalling character you will encounter in a gym, the Hyperhidrotic Hog does one thing very well. He sweats – and sweats and sweats. No matter how cold it is in the gym, no matter how lightly he works out, he sweats everywhere. He sweats all over the floor, the exercise mats, the machines, the cycles and especially on the treadmills. He leaves a huge sweaty patch wherever he goes, and thus ensures that no one else will dare touch any equipment he’s used. What worse, he knows it and doesn’t give a damn. And to make matters even worse, he makes it very clear that he does not believe in deodorants – or bathing. Naturally, there’s plenty of open space around him, since the only defence one has against the Hyperhidrotic is to give him a wide berth, a very wide berth. And to carry an antiseptic spray.
The Treadmill Thug: Once he gets on to a treadmill, it will take explosives to get him off. The Treadmill Thug is the lowest form of gym life. Boorish, loud-mouthed, and totally unconcerned about other members, he will monopolise any equipment he gets his hands on. He will sit for long periods on the training machines without using them, grab all the weights and dumbbells, hog the water-cooler, insist that the gym stereo plays loud gangsta rap in which the only word you can make out starts with an F, and use the treadmill for hours on end. One way to stop him is to liberally sprinkle itching powder on the dumbbells.
The Topless Narcissist: Fills himself up with imported protein supplements that cost a thousand bucks a spoon, regards Arnold Scharwznegger as a divine incarnation, bulging with muscles in odd places, this type sports a sleeveless T-shirt and ultra-tight shorts, if he sports anything at all. He usually parades around topless, coated with a thin layer of oil, flexing his massive biceps, striking bodybuilding poses before the mirrors, flaunting his rippled abdominal muscles and making his pectorals and gluteals dance on command. Mistakenly believing that the disgusted looks he gets from women are due to his extreme sexiness, he goes about his workouts not realizing that the only person in love with him – is himself.
The Gym Lech: Repressed and frustrated, in his early forties or late thirties, claims his wife doesn’t ‘understand’ him, believes that the women in the gym deliberately wear tight clothes just for his sake, knows the exact location of all the mirrors in the gym. The only muscles he exercises in the gym are his eye muscles. And those muscles get a real workout as he rolls his eyes at every human female around. He will strategically position himself to ensure he gets the best ‘view’ while making his instructors think he is actually working out. The Lech can ogle at a female at the other end of the gym without even turning his head in her direction. It’s done with mirrors, of course.
If caught ogling, he will respond with either a sheepish grin or pretend to be answering a call on his mobile. The Gym Lech is easy to spot in a gym. He’s the guy with the perfectly innocent face, and a bulge in his pants.
The Angry Old Man: Middle-aged, pot-bellied, hypertensive, hormonally challenged, deeply worried about his flagging libido, caught between a high-stress job and a high-maintenance teenager, the Angry Old Man is determined to prove he’s still young at heart and elsewhere. To that end, he will go out of his way to make a spectacle of himself and to give himself a heart attack.
He hits the treadmill with a vengeance, huffs and puffs for five minutes, and gets off gasping for breath. Proceeds undeterred to lift weights that no one else in the gym would dare to attempt, and sprains his back at the first lift. Still undeterred, he will perform three push-ups, four pull-ups and two sit-ups in quick succession, before collapsing in a heap. Will then proceed to impress the nearest young female by telling her how important his job is, and withdraw promptly when she refers to him as ‘uncle’. Will drop out of the gym within a week, because he says he doesn’t wish to lose weight ‘too fast’.
The Erotic Grunter: If you hear obscene grunting, moaning and groaning sounds in the gym, know that you have an Erotic Grunter in your midst. The Grunter is usually a young flabby techie, the butt of jokes in his office, madly in love with one of his curvaceous colleagues, trying to prove his manliness by building muscles in the gym and by moaning loudly while so doing. Thinks that the louder he moans, the bigger his muscles will grow. Lifts weights with a surprising vehemence and loud grunts, works out for two hours a day every day, heavily indulges in high protein meals, adds exactly one inch to his muscles after six months of grunting and groaning – and groans even more when he finds out that his curvaceous colleague has gone off with his gym instructor.
And lastly …
The Perfect Gentleman: A credit to any gym he is a member of, the Perfect Gentleman is a rare specimen indeed. He carries himself with silent dignity, goes about his workout without raising a sweat, wears the finest brands but takes care to discreetly remove the brand labels, always smells heavenly, treats the women with the greatest respect and always looks down at their feet and nowhere else, politely hands over whatever equipment he is using to anyone who asks, uses the treadmill for the stipulated time only and gives away even that time to any member in need. The men admire him and wish they could be like him. The women adore him and wish they could have him. He loves all and all love him. Truly, he is a man like none other.
Alas, our gym has only one Perfect Gentleman – ME!
Cheers … Srini.