The Most Annoying People At The Gym (And How Not To Be One)

The most annoying people at the gym...  (Photo: tankist276/Shutterstock)

It’s not always fun going to the gym. It’s hot, it’s stinky, it can be boring or annoying or intimidating, and all the people you have to deal with can make it so much worse. Here are the most annoying people you’ll encounter during your workout, and how to make sure you don’t become one of them:

The Moaner

You have to expect some muted grunting if you work out at a gym that has weights. The moaner definitely is not grunting—every rep makes him sound like he’s engaging in activities far too intimate for a public gym.

You may be a moaner and not even realize it. Next time you’re getting to the end of a set, go for a deliberate grunt—not a roar—and see if that helps you move a little more weight.

 The Slug

No matter what piece of equipment you’re pressed against, you leave a damp, slimy trail behind. If you had more time you’d clean up after yourself, but everybody sweats—it’s not that big a deal, is it?

Yes. It is a big deal. I don’t want to sit in a puddle of my own sweat, and I definitely don’t want to sit in yours. It’s unhygienic, it’s distracting and it’s a really easy thing to prevent. Use a towel.

The Boombox

The repetitive beats and not-quite-Top-40 pop your local gym is probably pumping in is at least easy to ignore. The tinny, scratchy sounds of Rihanna coming from the earbuds of that girl 100 feet away, not so much.

Noise cancelling headphones are your best bet to avoid distracting all the people around you, but if you only have regular earbuds, try taking out your headphones while your music is playing and holding them at arms length. Can you still hear your music clearly? Then it’s too loud.

Mr. Universe

Has to check himself out in the mirror constantly. Can he tell if his pecs are getting bigger yet? He better take a good look between every set—he wouldn’t want to miss out on an epic pump.

It’s easy to be subtle about looking at yourself in one of the dozens of mirrors scattered around the gym, but any difference you see immediately after a set is going to be gone in a few hours anyway. Fitness is a slow, gradual process—progress usually takes a lot longer than a few minutes to be visible.

The Businessperson

Spends every rest period—or better yet, just wanders around not working out at all—writing emails, checking voice mail, making phone calls.

It’s OK to make like you’re at a movie and turn your phone off for a while, people will understand. Or if you have pressing business that can’t wait, maybe you should schedule your workout for a different time.

The Plainclothes

There’s always at least one person at the gym wearing jeans, or workboots, or big dangly earrings. You don’t need to go out and buy a whole new gym wardrobe, but there’s a reason we don’t all do it: jeans don’t breathe well and can get kinda musty; boots leave marks on the equipment and make a hell of a racket on the treadmill; those earrings don’t always stay where they’re supposed to and can get caught in unfortunate places.

You’re better off pulling on an old, ill-fitting t-shirt and some sweatpants—you’ll be more comfortable, and so will everyone else.

The Earthquake

In case you didn’t see him deadlifting 400lbs., he’s going to drop that bar and make sure you hear it. And feel it.

You’re doing just as much work lowering the weight as lifting it, so why cheat yourself out of half a rep? Even you’ve hit your absolute limit, just keeping your hands on the bar as it drops can muffle the sound so people around you aren’t distracted (just make sure to keep proper form so you don’t hurt yourself).

The Rester

No one’s going anywhere on the stationary bike, but you really aren’t getting anywhere if you aren’t even going to pedal. If you have time to kill, there are far more interesting places to be than in everyone’s way.

If you need a rest, get up and take a slow stroll, maybe get a drink of water. And if you’re just looking for a spot to read the paper, try Starbucks—they even have free WiFi.

The Casanova

The gym is a great place to meet a romantic partner, right? Not everyone at the gym is looking for a date, though, so maybe pick up some weights and drop the pickup lines.

If you want to strike up a conversation with someone who catches your eye, go for it, just don’t let it become a reason to be at the gym. People will notice when you’re doing laps and chatting up all the lovely ladies or hunky guys, and it’s not going to help your love life.

The Complainer

Everyone at the gym is the worst, but the one who goes home and complains about it is the worstest. Get over yourself, go do some work and stop worrying about what everyone else in the gym is doing.

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