People Who Drive Us Crazy at the Gym

When we ran this article for the first time, it got a huge response. So we're bringing it back again, because some things (like bad gym behavior) never change.
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People Who Drive Us Crazy at the Gym

When we ran this article for the first time, it got a huge response. So we’re bringing it back again, because some things (like bad gym behavior) never change.

-Amy Levin-Epstein

woman in a gym

Going to the gym is generally not at the top of most Americans’ lists of favorite things to do. If it was, our country probably wouldn’t be suffering from a 35 percent obesity rate and The Biggest Loser wouldn’t have attracted 10 million viewers for its recent season premiere. But for many of us who strive to be thinner, stronger and perhaps more centered, we hit the elliptical, weight room and yoga mat. At times, it’s cathartic. But too often, the gym becomes less of a sanctuary and more like a petri dish of unseemly characters. And no, we’re not referring to lecherous locker room peeping Toms or flirty fitness trainers. We’re talking about fellow members with behavior that can zap the endorphins right out of you.

Meet the eight most annoying gym-goers:

The Close Walker. There are 10 other treadmills in the gym. They are all currently unused. So why do you always choose the one next to me? Were you recently separated from a Siamese twin and need to be close to someone? Get your own personal space, please. Note: Particularly insufferable members of this contingent are the competitive treadmill types, e.g. a Close Walker who will sneak a peak at your speed, calories or distance, and adjust accordingly. 

Read Behind Closed Doors: Six Locker Room Dos and Don’ts

Mr. Pigpen. It’s true — we’re not at the opera and maybe a little bit of manly sweat shows you’re working hard. But if we can smell you from 10 yards away, we’re guessing you haven’t washed those gym clothes since your high school wrestling days. We need all the help we can get with catching our breath, so please don’t pollute the freshness of our oxygen — wash your clothes, wear deodorant and, lastly, wipe down the machines after use.


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11 thoughts on “People Who Drive Us Crazy at the Gym

  1. uptowngirl says:

    Exhibitionists are the worst!

  2. Catca says:

    I’m sorry, but why do you have a problem with exercise lovers wiping each other’s machines off or getting fresh water for each other? I get the pda, but the other stuff? Shouldn’t you just be happy the machine is getting wiped off? You sound like you hate exercising and being at the gym is torture for you. Maybe you should try a sport or some other way to get/stay fit or toned if the gym is that bad. Also, maybe people aren’t stalking you. I’ve taken the treadmill next to someone when there were several other open ones because maybe the other ones looked dirty or had mechanical issues. Sometimes it’s not about you. Maybe I picked the locker right next to yours because it was the only other open locker.

  3. Lisasenora says:

    I see a lot of Exhibitionist at Bally Total Fitness and its older women that just go there to swim and they shower and just walk out of there like they are at home, please put on a towel, I don’t really want to see that when all I need to do is use the restroom, That is so annoying!!!

  4. Sreyr says:

    You forgot Machine Hogs – people who either take 5 minutes in between sets and “rest” on the machine instead of letting the line of people behind them use the machine while they rest, or the people who will put their phone or towel on a machine to hold it while they stand up and rest. Those are the ones that annoy me the most. If you’re not actually using the machine, there is no reason nobody else should.

  5. phantomspots says:

    FYI, there are different types of yoga breathing. “Heavy breathing” is called Ujjayi breathing, and in many shalas this “ocean breath” is the preferred style. Just because the person on the mat beside you is loud doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Try a class outside the gym and you may be the only one not making noise.

  6. alh2027 says:

    I agree with most of this list. But you might also want to consider — besides the valid point phantomspots mentioned — that the heavy breather might not be doing it on purpose at all. They may be overweight or out of shape, and they’re not yet able to control their breathing. Shouldn’t they be praised for making an effort to be healthy, rather than being mocked and/or avoided like the plague? Or they could have a respiratory condition, or a heart condition, or nasal congestion or a deviated septum, or autonomic nervous system dysfunction. That last one causes my heart to race over 100 bpm even when I’m sitting still, so you can imagine how fast it gets — and how hard it makes me breathe — when I’m exercising vigorously. I have been cleared by my doctors to work out; I’m not going past what I’m physically capable of, nor am I in any sort of medical danger when I breathe like that. I can see how it might annoy people with noise sensitivities (I am extremely sensitive to noise too, and I can’t tune out bothersome sounds properly, so I can sympathize). But I have every right to go to the gym and work out at the intensity level of my choice. I’m all for being polite and conscious of the people around you — at the gym or anywhere else — but I’m not going to hide or stop working out simply because my breathing might annoy people. If it does, then wear earplugs or listen to music. I wear earplugs all the time to block out noises that bother me, but I would never suggest that my desire for a comfortably quiet environment outweighs another person’s desire to use a gym’s equipment/resources (or to eat food around me, or to talk to a friend, or to type loudly at their keyboard, or any of the million sounds that irritate me).

  7. elliekayres says:

    the worst is when people sing loudly or talk to themselves next to you.

  8. Calvinalibra says:

    Oh man, those are so funny, I’ve seen them all. One thing I don’t understand though, why do women get all pissy when dudes check them out at the gym?? Women are sexy beings, and guys are “for the most part” attracted to them. Not to mention, a lot of the times women wear very provocative workout clothes (little shorts, lingerie sports bras, etc.) if you don’t want anyone to look, why not just cover it up? Rock some basketball shorts with some biker shorts underneath (you’re not sacrificing comfort, basketball shorts are really comfortable). I know i know, you should be able to wear whatever the heck you want right? well that’s true, just know that if you do, and it’s skimpy, we’re going to look and probably drool.

  9. workout wear says:

    hose are the ones that annoy me the most. If you're not actually using the machine, there is no reason nobody else should.

  10. steve says:

    They are all currently unused. So why do you always choose the one next to me? Were you recently separated from a Siamese twin and need to be close to someone personal trainer palm beach gardens

  11. Kristie says:

    I totally agree that obesity would not be such a big problem if only people went to the gym and did some workouts.Not only will it help to shed some pounds but it also helps in several other health problems like treating nasal polyps. Even people with diabetes can benefit from it.

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