Hey, You're Making Me Uncomfortable

The five types of people who make me uncomfortable at a public gym.

The atmosphere inside the gym is intoxicating — but in the best way. Every day when I walk into the gym, I see a whole lot of people, gathered in one place, pushing themselves to new limits. And while it’s extremely unlikely that any two people are doing the exact same thing, everyone is there for the same reason: to better themselves. Talk about inspiration, right?

However, just by reading the title, you can probably tell that I’m not writing this to talk about gym-goers that inspire me. Quite the opposite, actually. I’m writing this to share with you some of my feelings about the people who are a little too much for me in the gym.

Now before I get down to it, don’t take this personally if any of these personas describe your behavior. I’m not here to knock anybody’s hustle. You keep doing you, I just might keep my distance.

1. The "Let's Be Friends" Guy

This is the guy (or gal) who always seems to be scoping the place out, looking for his next victim. I imagine their thought process going something like, Hmmm...maybe if I watch her from afar for long enough, counting her reps until I’ve got her figured out, I just might be able to swoop in between sets and stare at her for long enough that she feels so uncomfortable that she is inclined to take her headphones off and listen to what I have to say.

You may have made the mistake of humoring the “let’s be friends” guy once or twice, but I bet you’ve learned your lesson. Now that you’ve spoken, he definitely remembers your name and the two of you have acquired this weird bond. Every time you see him in the gym you might feel a slight obligation to wave, or maybe even say “hello.”

If you’re anything like me, these unavoidable confrontations make you queasy and you want nothing to do with it. However, your momma raised you better than to be a dick to kind-hearted strangers. The dude’s just looking for a pal and guess what, that pal is you.

2. The "I'm WAAAY Too Into This Song" Guy

Don’t get me wrong here, I love music. I listen to it on full blast for the entirety of every workout. However, at most, the only thing you will ever catch me doing in the gym is subtly mouthing the lyrics to a grungy rap song. Anything more and I’d just be embarrassing myself.

Now on the other hand, not everyone is as mindful of their actions in the gym. Every once in a while you’ll run into the guy (or gal) who is just WAY too into their music. We’re talking the full blown air guitar, air drums and head banging type of dude. I don’t know what he’s listening to, but this guy is literally having a personal concert in his head and he does not give a shit what you think about it.

Hell, I give this guy credit for his confidence, but I will definitely be found at least ten feet away from him. I’m not trying to take a blow to the face when this dude gets caught up in his guitar solo.

3. The Grunter

Kudos to this guy. The grunter doesn’t give a shit what you think either. He is going so hard that he can’t even control the noises that are coming out of his face. This dude seems to be going for a new PR every time he picks up a weight. And while I respect his hustle, I won’t lie, he’s freaking me out. I keep my distance from the grunter, just because he seems like a wild card. Who knows what this guy might do (or lift) next. Hopefully, I’m not in the way.

I won’t lie, if I’m struggling to put up my last few reps, I might quietly grunt out of pure exhaustion but I definitely can’t be heard unless you’re right next to me and there’s no music playing. I respect the grunter though. He’s wild, but I respect him.

Maybe you should get a spotter, bruh.  

4. The Looker

This is the guy who doesn’t quite realize that you can see him looking at you through the mirror. He’s like the “let’s be friends” guy, but he lurks in silence and oftentimes has a specific target. Given the (extremely high) chance that you happen to make eye contact with said looker, keep it short. Try not to make any facial expressions (especially a smile), as this only encourages the looker to keep looking.

Now, this isn’t me saying that I’ve never looked at a person in the gym before because that’s impossible. However, there is a big difference between looking at someone to see what they are doing and looking at someone to watch what they are doing.

My own personal rule is to avoid eye contact at all costs in the gym. Eye contact is typically a gateway to a conversation that you don’t want to have. If I do happen to make eye contact with you (unless you’re an extremely handsome man) know that it was unintentional and I apologize.

5. The Suggester

The suggester happens to be my least favorite of the five. This guy (or gal) is basically the self-proclaimed muscle champion of the world. And while he is probably not certified, he definitely knows what’s best for you(totally kidding). The suggester has no shame in stopping you, mid-set, to pressure you into trying something completely different. It is likely that he may stand by, staring awkwardly, until you follow through with his suggestion.

If you’re anything like me, you don’t like being interrupted during your workout. While the suggester may only be trying to help you, he doesn’t realize how bad you want to slap the suggestion right out of his mouth. If I wanted your suggestion, I’d ask you for it, sir

Don't be offended, if you fit any of these personas that I've just created.

I swear it's not you, it's me. 

Personally, I come to the gym with a very simple and personal mission. Nine times out of 10, talking to you is not a part of that mission.

But hey, don't mind me. Keep doing you! (But also, keep your distance)

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Hey, You're Making Me Uncomfortable