There are so many types of people who use my gym that I’m going to have to give you a thorough run-down. I also need to be clear that I’m pretty sure I don’t belong there at all.
Plimsolls. Long socks. Wife-beater vests. Slicked-back hair. Pastel coloured shorts rolled up to just above the knee. The douchebags do a few gentle weights reps – arms only – as slowly as possible so they can watch their muscles gently flex in the mirror. They are douchebags.
A couple of very minor league football teams are sometimes based from the sports centre which houses my gym. Their squad comes in as a group of no less than 20, dressed in their full kit, to sit on exercise bikes, occasionally pedalling gently, and watching themselves in the mirror. Occasionally they rearrange their kit so the logo is more prominently displayed. After 15 minutes they start to go down to the café and ‘reserve’ all the sofas.
The wannabe footballers
As above but clearly not in the team. Desperately try to get onto machines next to the footballers. Embarrass us all.
Triangular muscle beasts
Where have these men come from? They’re huge! And genuinely triangular. They must have normal jobs somewhere, they can’t all be employed to haul tractor tyres around car parks, can they? They briefly enter the changing rooms (sideways) to take off a tracksuit – leave it on a bench rather than in a locker – and then heave their enormous shoulders off to the Massive Weights Room of Fear downstairs. I take solace in the fact that they must look ridiculous in normal clothes – perhaps this is a vicious circle that explains why they are always in the gym. When they get back to the changing rooms they chug an enormous plastic cup full of ground-up bison and girders.
|Pleasingly, this is a Google Image result for 'triangular muscle beast'|
I assume they are students. But I don’t remember students like this when I was at St Andrews. These girls are ridiculous manifestations of the Essex WAG ideal – miniscule waists, long blonde hair, leggings, immaculate pink trainers and matching sweat bands on their beadless brows. To give them their due, the dolls work out. Hard. Do not make eye contact. They will crush you in their thighs of steel or abrade your face with their abs of titanium.
The female footballers
Opposite of the Pussycat Dolls. The ladies football team are hard as nails. Running sprints on the treadmills, then annihilating the cross-trainer, then weights then crunches then something else then another thing then more sprints. They are all 5 foot nothing and wearing baggy football kit, possibly a hand-me-down from the men’s team 3 years ago. The pace is relentless. They are there when you arrive and also there when you leave. They’re there now.
The old boys
My favourites. Aged anywhere from early-60s to late-120s, the old boys do not give a damn that their saggy race T-shirt from 1989 is full of holes or that the sweat flying off them is offending the Pussycat Dolls, they’re old and working out and it’s amazing and they’re going to keep doing it. Invariably wearing way too many layers for this level of activity, they can be seen noting the figures of the machine next them, occupied by a student who is one-third of their age, doing one-quarter of their workout.
These guys and girls do not want to be in the gym. They want to be on the hockey pitch or golf course or ski slopes. They’re only in the gym because they have no other option to vent their extreme need for sport (and they kind of want you to know it). Easily identifiable by their club kit, elderly trainers and longing looks out of the window at the lashing rain and gathering clouds. They are not at all happy about the douchebags.