Quick, name a public space where you’d encounter aggression, loud noises, and extreme sweat? Well, depending on your city, you may have guessed the city bus. But no, I’m talking about the gym. From weight-bashing grunters to perfectly-posed fitness influencers, the gym’s got it all, and the following Redditors are ready to complain all about it. Read on and see if your pet peeve is here—or maybe you’ll recognize yourself in one.
1. Baby Wants His Mommy
I’m a woman and I catch dudes sneaking glances at me every once in a while. It can be kinda creepy at times, but it’s mostly harmless. During one gym session, I noticed a guy staring at me. Most guys would look away when they’re caught, but he smiled at me. It wasn’t a good smile, either—it was just so, so weird. He was showing too much teeth.
I went about my workout, and this guy always seemed to be two or three machines away from me. I went to the mats to finish up with a stretch. He followed me and put a mat maybe five meters away. Midway through, I could feel him in my periphery staring at me. I looked over and he was lying flat on his back, with his head turned to me, sucking his thumb like a baby.
When I made eye contact, he fluttered his eyelashes. The horrified look on my face must have said it all because he left pretty quickly after that.
2. A Jazzy Time
A lot of weird stuff happens at my gym. One time, I saw a fit man with impeccable, flowing locks stare himself down in the mirror. He just kept saying “Yes!” and growling a bunch. Then he went over to the stretching area and did what could only be described as jazzercise while listening to aggressive hip hop on his headphones.
3. Say A Little Prayer For Me
I was on the treadmill waiting for the only squat rack to open up. A guy was holding it up, talking to some other guy for like 15 minutes. I was about to ask if I could work in with them when they caught me off-guard with their next move. The other guy put his head down, while the squat guy put his hands on the other guy’s shoulders and started praying.
The guy praying was doing that loud “HUH” thing between sentences as Southern Baptist preachers do. A few minutes later, another guy walked up to get in on the action; all this at the loaded squat rack. I just went away and worked my legs on the machines.
4. Flexing Away
I got literally flexed on at my gym. I saw a girl who I mistook for somebody I knew. I went to say hi, and it turned out not to be her. The woman was cool about it and said it’s happened before. Then a guy came over and asked if there was something going on here. When I said “What,” he just literally flexed. I’ve never had a bad experience at the gym before, but this dude was above and beyond.
I always see them together now. The dude must have some redeeming qualities about him.
5. Gym Etiquette
I work out at a very nice, luxury gym. A guy who I’d never seen before was not just dropping his weights, he was actively throwing them up, and letting them drop over a meter to the safety rack—causing a ridiculously loud sound and a crash. When I asked him to stop, he responded in the vilest way—he started getting extremely aggressive towards me and said he had been a member for 10 years. Uh…okay.
Management ended up tossing him out about 10 minutes later.
6. It’s Wrestling Time
Back in the early 1980s, I used to work out at Gold’s Gym in a western Canadian city. The gym was also the favorite workout spot for professional wrestlers whenever they had a gig in town. The weirdest thing was seeing how dramatically different some of those guys were in real life compared to their wrestling personas.
One guy, whose persona was of a British dockworker type, would show up at the gym in a really nice three-piece suit and speak in the poshest of British accents. But that’s not the weirdest part about him—he was also constantly giving other wrestlers investment and tax advice. This was because he apparently was an accountant as well as a wrestler.
What was surprising was that some of them weren’t faking it…they were as rude, selfish, and ignorant as their characters. I also remember how sad it was seeing how some of the older wrestlers were suffering from dementia—probably from the cumulative effects of concussions—and they were literally guided through everything by other wrestlers; even for things like getting dressed.
However, the most interesting experience was the wrestler named Jesse Ventura. Of course, when the wrestlers showed up, they were generally followed around by a horde of fans: usually teenage boys. Some were hostile to their fans, telling them to get lost. Others gave a quick acknowledgment and then moved on. But Jesse was different.
Jesse would spend an incredible amount of time with his fans, especially the younger ones. He’d listen and talk to all of them with total attention. I remember seeing him trying to do leg presses while taking questions from a crowd of boys about what it means to be a man. Even out of the ring he showed that he understood the impact that he could have as a role model to young men and took it seriously.
When he became governor of Minnesota, I was definitely not surprised.
7. Lingerie Lingerer
I went into the locker room and saw a woman hanging out there in her underwear. An hour later, once I finished my workout, so I went back to the changeroom. Not only was she still there, but she was also still in her underwear. No one takes that long to change. Later, someone told me she was probably an IG “model” doing a selfie photo shoot.
8. Into My Soul
This is probably not strange to men, but it’s always strange to me and it has happened twice. Men often stare at women at the gym—mostly at their bodies—but what’s super strange and off-putting is when a man, typically two to three times my age, stares me in the eye and expects me not to say anything. The first time this happened, I was working out with my “old-man” workout partner.
He and I were pretty close and we talked throughout our whole workouts. He was on the machine facing forward and I was standing behind him because the machine faced a wall. While I was talking, I noticed a man on a machine that was facing me just staring into my eyes. It felt like he was peering into my soul.
I ignored it, but he just kept staring at me with a weird half-smirk. Finally, I had enough. I said to him: “Can I help you?” He looked so shocked that I’d called him out. He shook his head. I snapped at him and told him to stop looking at me then. Then the guy got up and walked away. My workout buddy had no idea what was going, and he turned around like “…What?!”
Then there was the second time. This guy seemed to be using a lot of the same equipment as me. It wasn’t that strange since I know we all need to use them. What was strange was he was staring into my eyes too. I ignored it the first few times because I was alone—my boyfriend was at the gym, but not near me at that particular moment.
I was a little scared because he could have been a psychopath for all I knew. Finally, he was on the row side of the cable, and I was using the regular cable side doing sit-down face pulls. I just blurted out: “Can I help you?” Mind you, not in a rude tone; I just wanted to know why he was staring at me. He, again, looked super taken aback and didn’t respond, so I asked once more: “Can I help you?”
He’s was like, “Oh no, I’m on the phone.” Mind you, I had not seen him speak once during this whole thing.
9. Wizard In Disguise
This lady who I’d never seen before walked into the gym on a Saturday morning. She was significantly overweight but had on gloves and knee braces, so I figured she was a powerlifter on a bulk. I was warming up doing some cable internal rotations and I had my headphones on, so I didn’t notice that she set herself up at the cable machine behind me. I finished my set, turned around, and I saw her getting ready.
I was not prepared for what she did next—She had a straight bar attached to the cable machine with the arm down near the ground, and the bar on the floor. She half crouched so I thought she was about to do some kind of squat, but then she started waving her hands. It was the kind of waving a wizard does before casting a spell.
I couldn’t stop watching. She did this for at least 30 seconds before she grabbed the bar to start her exercise. And when I say grabbed the bar, I mean she picked it up with both hands, extended it until it got resistance from the weight, and then started standing up, and half squatting and crouching. Clearly, she wasn’t engaging any weight.
She was just using the bar as something to hold in her hands. She did this for three “sets” and then moved to some cardio machines. I saw her a few times after that, and each time she was doing something equally nonsensical, and always, ALWAYS with the incantation hand motions. I miss her and hope she found a nice coven.
10. The Shallow End
I’m a woman and I work out at a gym that has a pool. I wanted to do my laps one day, but when I got there, I saw that a football team was training in the pool. As I approached the pool, the guys on the football team began yelling out what they wanted to do to me—and it wasn’t very nice. Thank god the gym staff immediately asked them to leave. Problem solved.
When their coach apologized to me, he expected me to ask the gym staff to reconsider their decision. I gave him a hard no.
11. They’re Behind The Walls
I worked at a gym for a while and this lady was pacing outside the front door looking like she wanted to come in. She looked homeless and like she was on something. She finally came in and said she wanted a tour. I was the only one up there at the time because my co-worker was cleaning, so I told her to wait like five minutes until he came back.
She mumbled something under her breath, and just walked to the sitting area and chilled there. About two minutes later, she asked to use the bathroom. I was hesitant at first because we only allow members to use the restroom, but since I was going to give her a tour, I said sure and let her go. My co-worker finally came back about five minutes later, and the lady was still in the bathroom.
I was going to give her another minute or so before I went in there to get her. Before I could do that, a member came up to me shaking. “There’s a lady in the bathroom screaming and swinging her arms and clogging all the sinks!!!” I immediately rushed to the bathroom to get her out. When I walked in there, all the sinks were turned on, there was toilet paper in them, and she was yelling at the wall.
I calmly asked her to come back to the front with me, and she was just repeating, “They’re back there! Behind the wall! He’s beating her just like he beat me! Can’t you hear them?? Aren’t you going to stop them? It’s disgusting why can’t they do their business somewhere else?!” And by that time I was just like…”Okay lady, time to go.”
I escorted her out of the gym, and then called for law enforcement because she was being a danger to the members and wouldn’t stop screaming. She wandered outside for a bit before they came, and they just walked her off the property. It was the weirdest and kinda scariest thing I’ve witnessed at my gym.
12. Red Hood
There was this guy who would come into the gym always wearing the same red hoodie. He would hit the treadmill at 15 kph (10 mph) and just go. He could keep this pace for 30 minutes but never seemed to get exhausted. Then it’d get awkward—he must have had headphones on under the hoodie because he would air guitar and headbang the entire time.
Imagine a guy running at full tilt while shredding on an air guitar, non-stop, for half an hour. He wasn’t breathing heavily or grunting. He’d then abruptly stop and walk out of the gym.
13. Tarzan IRL
My gym is full of the weirdest people. First, there is a dude that looks like a shaved chimp. A straight-up pink-hued, jacked, human-sized chimp. If he’s not from another planet, a lab somewhere is missing a specimen. I’m not sure what it is he’s saying when he lifts, but it ain’t a language I’ve ever heard of and it’s deeply guttural.
There’s also a cyborg that I’m sure has to be enhanced in some way. It’s the only way to explain the speeds he hits on the treadmill, or how his otherwise toothpick frame makes that thing scream like I’m on it. Seriously, he makes the ground around him shake when he’s running. He can’t weigh more than 70kg (155 lbs) unless his legs are made of steel.
But the best one yet is the Stahma Tarr lookalike. Aside from the tattoos, there is a woman at my gym who is as pale as her, either a legit albino or she just keeps her hair beyond platinum. She never takes off her shawl hood thing. She does, however, wear more colors than white; but it just highlights how absolutely pale and non-pigmented she is.
The first time I saw her, I caught myself staring—it was beyond cosplay. It’s like this woman just stepped right off a set somewhere, and threw on some workout clothes. But it’s real because nothing runs when she works out.
14. Locker Room Rehab
I was in the locker room at my gym when I saw a guy in the corner who had a really intense stare. He was just frozen in the locker room. I used to work with the homeless and in rehabilitation, and there’s a certain look I’ve gotten used to that’s hard to explain. It’s the “I’m an addict and I’m about to mess up my life and all the progress I’ve made so that I can score” look.
This kid had that same look. So I went over and talked to him: wearing a swimsuit, goggles, and my flip-flops. There’s a certain pushy-ness that comes with an “I’m a stranger who thinks you’re about to mess up your life, so let’s talk about it even though you don’t want to talk about it” kind of conversation. Turns out, I was right.
The guy had been clean for two months, and life was falling apart for him. He just wanted a good score of his choice. So, I talked him down. I talked about how he had a bunch of white chips—you get a white chip for 24 hours of sobriety—but hardly any one-month reds or two-month golds. I told him that he was closer than he’d ever been to getting a green, which means three months sober. I said that I’d be thrilled to see him get that.
As far as I know, the guy is okay. I never heard from him again after that day, but that tends to happen with addicts. They cut folks out of their lives when they want to move onto a better place, or when they go to a darker place. I’m betting “guy in the gym” isn’t someone he cared to keep around, as I’d just be a reminder of a rock-bottom low.
15. Gym Express
There’s a regular at my gym who always gets stares. She’s pretty much built like a stick, and she’s an older woman in her mid-50s. I’ve seen her a couple of times doing this one workout. She literally spends no more than 30 to 45 seconds on each machine. Also, she uses them with the worst form I’ve ever seen in my life—and as fast as she possibly can.
For example, when she’s on the cable pull-downs, she always pulls the handle to her neck level, then lets it rise to about nose level, and then pulls it down again. She’ll do this move of about 10 cm (4 in.) of motion just as fast as she possibly can for about 30-45 seconds. Then she’ll move on to the leg press. Her form on that was really something else.
Once there, she’ll fully extend her legs, and, with her legs nearly extended, she’ll just bounce the weight over and over. At no point does she return anywhere close to the start position until she’s done after another 30 to 45 seconds. Then she’ll go to the treadmill or the rowing machine or something, and do that with the worst possible form.
16. Smelling Salts
I saw a skeleton of a man who was psyching himself up for a 100 kg (225 lb) squat. There were lots of deep breaths, loud grunting, and smelling salts included. The guy proceeded to get under the bar, squatted what seemed less than a half rep—more like a quarter rep with bad form— re-racked the weight, and proceeded to yell, “Yeah!” as if he was at a powerlifting meet.
I think he had too much pre-workout in my opinion.
17. Dance Like Everyone’s Watching
I went to my local gym at three in the morning once. As I was walking to the weights to do barbell curls, I noticed a man prancing to one of the shoulder press machines. He wasn’t walking, he was prancing. He then stepped on top of the press machine and started dancing on it for about 30 seconds. After that, he started skipping over to the dip machine. Again, he was dancing around the whole thing before proceeding to do the workout.
But the worst part was when he stood in the middle of the gym and started shaking his butt to a tune. These dance moves went on for about 40 minutes. The kicker? There was no music playing in the gym and he had no headphones! I asked my buddy who worked there what this guy’s deal was. I was told by him and a coworker that he refuses to look at people because he thinks they’ll “remove his soul through their eyes.” He’s a frequent at the gym, and everybody usually just tries to stay away from him.
18. Race With The Flash
I hate running with a passion. I force myself to run a short distance at what I think is a pretty good pace before I do weights. Like, I hate it so much that I wish for a heart attack to take me away at about minute four. In any case, the treadmills at our gyms have big-timers on them that are easy to read. I got on the treadmill one day and noticed the guy beside me was running pretty fast.
I looked at his timer and saw that he was running a 5k run, which is pre-set on the machine. I was also in awe that he had been on the run for about four minutes. But he was going FAST, like a full-out sprint. I punched in my 12 minutes and started to run myself. We finished at the same time—the dude ran 5 km in about 16 minutes. He was in a full-on sprint the whole time.
I was just kind of in a daze thinking about it for the rest of my workout.
19. Leg Guy
There’s this guy my old lifting partner and I used to call “Leg Guy.” He’s this guy that’s about six feet tall and he’s super lean with the widest lats and biggest traps I’ve ever seen. Anyway, I always used to look forward to watching him lift, and for a while, I would make sure I was scheduling when I got to the gym for when the Leg Guy guy got there.
For months, at least six times a week, he would exclusively train his legs. And by exclusively training his legs, I mean he would be at the squat rack for no less than three hours. Amazing! I’d always just kind of hang around after my own workout to see if he would do anything else. For that period of time, he never did.
Then, one day, I caught him off-guard. I was doing a push workout and was doing lateral raises. I was using pretty light weights for a warm-up, and between squat sets, he came over to the dumbbells and repped out like three reps of 25 kg (55 lb) lateral raises. I looked at him weirdly. When he saw me, he ran over to rep out another five reps of 150 kg (330 lb) squats.
I was so stoked that I’d seen him doing something other than squatting. I told my friend that I’d seen Leg Guy doing lat raises trying to one-up me. My friend responded by saying he did the exact same thing to him with the exact same exercise. Anyway, after a few months, Leg Guy started doing an actual normal rotation of push-pull legs, which was far less entertaining.
Somewhere along the way, he started using locker number 69—which is the one I usually use. So, I’ve started trying to go before he gets there. I miss Leg Guy.
20. Loony Feet
There’s this guy at my gym who does interval training on the treadmill hilariously wrong. It looks like he’s trying to imitate the Road Runner from Looney Tunes. Imagine someone upping the speed on the treadmill so much that they have to hold on to the railings to keep from flying off. That’s how this guy sprints on the treadmill.
The stride of his legs is ridiculous as well, his heels are legit halfway up to his back on each stride.
21. Weirdo Inspires
I was running on the treadmill and there was this scruffy guy all hunched down like three treadmills away. He kept loudly muttering to himself: “You can do it, you got this.” He was also making weird noises. He kept doing it for like 20 minutes. At first, I was, like, annoyed because he was rather loud, and it was weird.
But after about 10 minutes, I distractedly started thinking to myself, “I CAN do this!! I GOT this.” He was unintentionally inspiring me.
22. A Cast Of Crazies
Gyms are notoriously where the oddest people congregate around. My brother and I would always try to keep track of the different oddballs at the gym. There’s one guy we like to call the “Mirror Man.” No one knows if he actually lifts at all since he spends nearly all observable time flexing and checking himself out in the mirror.
Next is the “Old Book Lady” who literally comes to the gym, changes into workout clothes, sits on the end of a bench press bench, reads from a book, changes back, and then leaves. She never talks to anyone or exercises at all. Then, there’s “Flipper.” This guy hangs around the free weights but never lifts anything. Every 10 to 15, minutes he would randomly do a backflip. That was his workout.
But perhaps the most interesting character is the “Hot Chick.” This girl in yoga pants and a sports bra would set up at the squat rack opposite of the benches. She would play on her phone, for close to an hour, until a specific large guy would start doing the bench press. Suddenly, she’d be doing weight squats and some hip thrusts right in line with him taking breaks between sets. Everyone knew why she was there.
23. Tattoo Cult
One time, while I was getting changed in the locker room, some random asked me if I worship the devil. I have a tattoo between my shoulder blades that the guy thought was Satanic. Somehow, my back hair makes it look that way, so I don’t really blame him for thinking it…but saying it? I just responded with, “What a strange question.”
He then pointed at my necklace and asked if he could have it. He walked off after I said no.
24. Challenge Not Accepted
I climbed on a treadmill and started walking to warm up. I usually do intervals where I walk quickly for some time, then jog, then go back to walking. I was the only one on a treadmill in a row of eight in a pretty empty cardio section. At some point, a guy set up right next to me—instead of any other treadmill in the row. Then I realized what he was actually trying to do—he was trying to race me…on the treadmill.
I had my headphones in, listening to music, but I turned it off because I had to listen to this man start to grunt, holler, and curse. He was going full sprint, sweat streaming off of him, splashing the treadmill, and even splashing me. He couldn’t let me win. He had to beat me. Petty revenge, but I stayed walking on that treadmill for much longer than I normally do.
I like to think I helped him set a personal best. He didn’t clean that treadmill after he staggered off too. Dirty fool.
25. The Karate Man
There are always a few strange people at the gym I go to. There is one old guy who wears karate attire and it smells like he has never washed it. He proceeds to put a ton of weight on the cable lat pulldown and will kind of hop up and jerk it back down with no form whatsoever. He does do dragon flags and other pretty crazy ab stuff though—that always impresses me.
But probably the worst thing I saw was a woman who had her three or four-year-old daughter literally sitting in her lap with an iPad while she benched. I get the whole “needing to work out, but not having the time because of kids” thing, but at least have her sit on a nearby unused machine.
26. Don’t Submit To The Starer
I’m a woman and one time, I was working out on one of the arm press machines. This dude in his 60s started standing right in front of me, staring at me. Mind you, this was like the second time or so that I’d ever gone to a gym. I’m not sure what the gym etiquette was yet. I asked him what he wanted, and he just shrugged and said, “Don’t worry, I’m just waiting for the machine.”
I asked him to stop staring at me, but he just continued to do so. I later observed him doing this with other people in the gym too. After I while I realized the truth about him—he’s just a jerk who feels the need to intimidate people into giving up their machines for him. I was secretly chuckling when a girl wouldn’t let him have it and played with her phone between workouts while he was growing angrier by the second.
I changed gyms after that, as he was a regular at that one.
27. Child Of The Treadmill
There’s a kid at the gym who always shows up with his mom. He’s maybe 11 to 13 years old. The mom is fine, but the kid is unsettlingly weird. He always walks on the treadmill next to his mom, but never walks forward. He walks sideways or backward. Even worse, he will lock eyes with anyone who looks at him and just stare.
This goes on the entire time. I’m a dude, but he’ll stare at anyone, it doesn’t matter. So I don’t think it’s a puberty thing. It feels like a horror movie in there.
28. Just Hanging Out
The gym I go to is full of regulars, and in a well-off suburb in the Midwest. Everyone kind of knows everyone from the community, and you eventually get forced to know each other. I have tried on several occasions to ignore most of these people there, but you eventually get roped into some convo and then introductions. Before you know it, the whole gym is calling you by name.
One evening, an older guy—who I had never really talked to other than a hi or bye—was lifting like usual. After some time, I didn’t see the guy anymore and thought nothing of it. I was finishing up and later headed to the locker room where I was met with a shocking surprise. The guy was confidently standing outside the locker room without anything on. He just seemed to be going about his day.
If you have ever seen a case of acting as you belong, this would be a textbook case, because he walked past several other people who didn’t even say a word. Immediately, I made a beeline to the gym staff and told them what was going on. I mean, there are kids who occasionally come to this area, and there were also women around.
The guy proceeded to hold conversations with other gym-goers—his member out and everything. They tried to corral him into the locker room, but he didn’t want to go. I’d done my part, so I just sat in the sauna. By the time I came out, the paramedics were there and they were asking him questions. The staffer I alerted said they think he had a stroke.
I now see that man almost every day and we have not mentioned that day at all since. We are more talkative than ever, greeting each other daily, sharing quick work stories. We’ve never once mentioned the day he came out of the locker room and stood in the middle of the weight room with his butt—and everything else—hanging out for all to see.
29. Let’s Step Outside
The dude on the Stair Master next to mine was listening to music using his phone speaker. His music was loud enough to drown out the music on the gym’s PA system, and I could hear it even though I was wearing earphones. I asked him to turn it down. He ignored me. I told him he was being rude by making everyone around him listen to music they probably didn’t want to hear.
It was especially rude because the gym actually offered loaner headsets to people who forgot to bring their own. He then suggested we step outside and “settle it like men.” I responded in the most sarcastic way possible: “I’ve heard of fighting for your right to party, but I’ve never heard of fighting for your right to be a jerk.”
He didn’t think it was as funny as I did, and despite my effort to lighten things up, he seemed to “step outside” even more. I declined but said I would be willing to bring our disagreement to the gym staff and live with whatever decision they made on how to settle the dispute. All of a sudden, he looked like he was about to cry. He apologized and said he had had a bad day.
I said, “No worries.” I went back to exercising, and he left. Problem solved. I give him credit for apologizing. But it was incredibly weird.
30. Not My Sugar Daddy
I used to go to the gym with my dad, and of course, I called him “dad” while we were talking there because…well, he’s my dad. This random woman came up to me and, in a very nasty and demeaning tone, she asked me why I keep calling “that man” my dad. I was like, “Umm…’cause he’s my dad?” And she was like, “Yeah,, but you don’t have to call him that at the gym…it’s weird.”
And so I asked her why it was weird when he is literally my father. And she was like “Oh, ok” and left. I was so confused.
31. Bird Trainer
I’m in the cardio room at my local CalFitness. I look up, and there was a man in the most colorful, tight-fitting workout outfit I’ve ever seen. He’s also wearing sunglasses inside, but that’s not even the best part—he has a parrot chilling on his shoulder. A parrot! He wasn’t even working out, and I don’t even know if he could with a whole bird on his shoulder.
He was just casually standing in the hallway, chatting up a few gym-goers like it was the most typical Tuesday afternoon. I still can’t believe it to this day, and I haven’t seen him since.
32. Locker Room Confidential
There’s this one random guy at the gym. Every time I see him in the locker room, he tries to strike up a conversation with me. He doesn’t do this with anyone else. You will see him changing quietly to himself, saying nothing until I walk by. Then he starts talking to me. I’m not terribly comfortable talking to strangers in the locker room beyond telling people I’m almost done with my locker.
I walk past the guy multiple times in the gym, and he doesn’t say anything. In the locker room, I walk past him toward the showers, and he doesn’t say anything. It’s not until I’m on the way back with nothing on but a towel that he wants to talk. He’s also persistent. I ignore him, but he keeps going. I try to politely hint that he’s bothering me, but he still keeps going.
33. Co-Ed Confrontation
One day, I was in the middle of a lift set, and this guy asked me to take a video of him doing pull-ups. I thought it was rude of him to interrupt me in the middle of a set but whatever: I guess I’m a pushover. I recorded him for about two minutes as he did a set of pullups, gutturally screaming with each one towards the end. I thought it was super weird.
I guess he took this interaction to assume that we were now acquaintances because every day after that, he would walk uncomfortably close to me, circle around me during sets, mumble things at me, and stare at me. I kept my headphones in playing nothing, and a lighter set of weights next to me at all times, so if he came close I could pretend to be in the middle of a set to deter him.
One day, I noticed he was bothering another woman at the gym in a similar way. So she and I kept glancing at each other and mouthing, “What’s the story with this guy?” at each other in acknowledgment. She eventually told the gym manager who gave him the warning to leave us alone—and also to stop screaming during sets, thank God.
Unexpectedly, the guy flipped out and absolutely lost it. He started swearing under his breath, and purposefully shoulder bumping her in passing as she continued her workout. The gym manager came over, immediately kicked him out, and revoked his membership. While he was being led to his locker by the manager, he looked me straight in the eye and screamed something incoherent about all the terrible women in this gym.
34. Broken Silence
It’s usually dead silence at Planet Fitness because everyone has their headphones in. On this day, my Bluetooth headphones needed charging, so it was already weird just being in a room full of heavy breathing. All of a sudden, Super Guy came out. He was wearing cut-off sweatpants, a sleeveless hoodie, and sporting a sweet mullet. I am not in great shape—but this dude was Homer Simpson with a mullet.
He went to the weight bench, did his stretches, and then laid down. That’s when he startled everyone unexpectedly—he just started belting out Creed, out of nowhere. “WITH ARMS WIDE OPEN,” he sang. And then silence again.
35. Background Check
I was doing some dumbbell presses on a random bench, and some guy just came up to me. He pointed at me, cocked his head to the side, and said “Lebanese?” Befuddled by the question, I just laughed and said, “Nope, I’m from here.” The guy walked away, and as I was putting my headphones back in, I hear him say to his buddy: “I could have sworn he was Lebanese.”
36. At The YMCA
There was a fairly muscular man lifting on an incline bench. A girl, who I assumed to be his girlfriend, walked over to him mid-lift and she proceeded to shock everyone in the gym with what she did next—she reached up the leg of his shorts and groped him for like 10 seconds. When she’d finished groping, she then left to go do her own thing.
I’m guessing it has something to do with that one study about how having your significant other near your crotch or whatever helps you lift. It was weird how casual and open it was in the middle of a YMCA.
37. Exercise By The Slice
Once, I was working out at the totally empty gym in my apartment building during the middle of the workday. I was using a mat in the yoga area when an elderly woman came in while Face-Timing with someone. She sat directly next to me and set up the camera leaning against the wall at an angle where we were both clearly in the frame.
It turns out that she was Face-Timing with her personal trainer. As soon as she got set up, he told her to stretch and that he would be back in a minute. Well, he soon came back, but now he was holding two slices of pizza. He ate the pizza while directing her to do exercises…things such as dribbling a yoga ball like a basketball. I left after a few minutes of this.
38. America’s Abs
This happened in my local LA fitness. There was a super bronze old guy who was totally ripped. He was a little too big, in my opinion, and also had a weird physique. He didn’t have the pure bodybuilder symmetry at all—he was very vascular. So this guy went up to the adjustable bench in front of the mirror. He set it at a deep incline, climbed on, and grabbed a plate that was 20 kg (45 lb).
He proceeded to crank out 20 full sit-ups with the plate. “Wow,” I thought to myself, “Totally impressive. He’s gonna do three sets of that? No, he’s just getting started.” For his next set, he took three plates—and they were all strapped together. He did them on his chest—single-handed! But you can’t get a clean rep with three plates on your chest. Still, he took it to the next level.
He increased the weight of each set until he reached six plates on his chest—all strapped together, and all single-handed. All the while everyone else was doing their thing. You’re looking over as you do bis, and some dude is literally ratchet-strapping six plates together on his chest, while on a decline, before doing sets of sit-ups. But imagine six plates on your chest on a decline. It’s not like you can get a clean full sit-up.
The whole thing was like this huge process just to get these shorty reps. And do you really need to do sit-ups with all that weight on your chest to get abs? As a guy who’s over 55? He had to have the strongest abs in the country.
I live in a Central American country, and one day I was on the elliptical machine with five other women next to me. A guy suddenly stood in front of us and asked us all how many of us spoke English. Four of us proceeded to raise our hands. Then he asked: “How many of you want to make $2,000 in a month?” Of course, we all raised our hands.
Little did we know exactly what the job he was offering entailed. He then said that he ran a romantic call-in business. He said we could make this and that much money by whispering a few phrases in some Americans’ ears over the phone. He added that we could even work from home! He told us to come with him, and he would explain it in more detail. Two of the girls took off with him!
40. Why Do They Do It? Why?
There was this total idiot at my gym doing shrugs while letting out some over-the-top groans and moans, which was so obviously put on. So my friend and I stopped him and asked, very politely, if he could tone it down a bit. This guy’s whole attitude was off. He was so cocky and arrogant too. He said that he had been a member for X amount of years—as if I cared how long he’d been going to this gym for.
He did tone it down a bit but was still grunting. Fast forward two months later, someone else had filmed him on the treadmill, grunting and shouting as he ran! He was asked by the owner to leave the gym. I haven’t seen him since. What is up with people grunting for every rep, why do they do it, why?!
41. Day Pass
I’m pretty sure that at the YMCA where I used to work, there were old dudes who came just to be, er “free and easy” in the locker room. I mean, there was no sauna or steam room in the locker room: just lockers, a changing area, bathroom, sinks, and showers. So there was no real reason to be hanging out there without clothes. And yet there they were, hanging in their birthday suits.
So, I’d usually get there an hour or so before my shift as a lifeguard to work out. There was always this one old in-the-buff dude in the locker room. I’d finish my workout, go shower and change into my lifeguard stuff and the same old dude would still be there. I’d go to the locker room to use the bathroom during my break and still, the same old dude would be there.
We’d be closing up, and I’d have to go clear out any stragglers in the men’s locker room. That’s when the old dude would finally put his clothes on to leave. It was really weird.
42. A Ghost Of Her Former Self
It was impressive at first, watching her drop from nearly 135 kg (300 lb)—if I had to venture a guess. Every Sunday, she came in to lift around the same time as me. Her weight loss was always noticeable, but for the first few weeks, it just appeared that she was really nailing her weight goals. After five or six weeks, she was down to around 100 kg (220 lb) and was starting to look good.
That’s when it started to become weird. She looked to be 75 kg (160 lb) and I thought she had hit her goal. I thought, when I saw her the next week, she would switch her routine and maintain her new healthy weight. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sunday rolled around and there she was, even thinner. I thought maybe she was going for more of a model look.
It concerned me that she’d dropped from 75 kg (160 lb) to around 65 kg (143 lb) in a week. I couldn’t help but worry for her health. The next week was the wost–there she was, sleek and tight in every way—but it was almost terrifying. The transformation was too sudden for any human body. At that point, she was stick-thin, yet her face showed no signs of weariness, and her lifting was as strong as ever.
For the next three weeks, she’d come in, shrinking into a skeleton with each passing Sunday before she could be no more than the pure weight of her flesh and bones: 10 kg (22 lb) of terror throwing weights around with vigor. That would be the last time I ever saw her—physically at least. Every Sunday since, I hoped to see her again; at least alive and perhaps back up to healthier weights.
I never did see her, but every once in a while the same weights she would rotate on would creak or move slightly while no one was using them.
43. He Came Out Of Nowhere
I’m a permanent resident in a hotel, so I know who the temporary ones are at the fitness room versus the regulars and semi-regulars. One particular month, there was this kid. I’d guess he was probably just trying to be funny. Heck, he could have been a psycho, who knows, really. The kid didn’t get to stay on for longer, and no one at the gym—or the rest of the hotel—had seen or heard from this guy after three to four weeks.
Anyway, the kid would walk in as if he’d known everyone from the cleanup staff to the oldest members. It reminded me of when Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man was strutting his stuff: full of confidence. This kid would start with whoever was closest to the doorway. If you were doing your squats, the kid would be extra friendly and would ask you what your goals were. He’d even ”coach” you on the spot regarding how to have proper squat form.
If you were taking a water break by the cycling machines, this kid would chat you up as if you were longtime besties. He’d high-five whoever would give—and even not give—high-fives back. He would do all of this, and probably more—whenever I was not around and headed to the Sauna and Pool areas—every single time he would visit the fitness rooms.
One day, when the kid was leaving, I asked the trainer who I was chummy with, “Who was that kid? I’ve never seen him before.” The trainer replied with an unsettling truth: “No clue either. Been working here for 14 years, and never seen that person until today.” Could we have been seeing a ghost all this time?
44. Climbing The Walls
I go to a climbing gym as opposed to a regular gym. The things I’ve seen will make you shake your head in disappointment. There’s always that one guy who “try-hard” grunts when he’s doing a hard move. Sometimes it’s warranted, but there was someone the other day literally screaming while on an easy route—5.9 for those who care for details. It was so obnoxious and just outright embarrassing.
Then there’s an old guy—like over 60—who wears all of his trad gear, which is gear for climbing outdoors, on his harness. The problem is that the quickdraws clank together so loud that you can hear it in the entire gym. I understand training with the extra weight of gear, but he could put it in a backpack or something to help quiet things.
There’s always the “gym bros” who have huge arms and work out at a regular gym. By regular gym standards, they are very strong; but get them on a wall and they can hardly climb more than a couple of routes before being gassed. Most gym workouts don’t focus on forearms like climbing does: Biceps are not as useful in climbing like forearms are.
There’s also the extra bulk from lifting that weighs these guys down, so they just can’t support themselves when climbing. It’s funny to see their giant egos disintegrate when they see a wiry guy or girl doing the same route they tried with no problem. Most of them have good attitudes about it though, which is nice to see.
But the worst thing I’ve witnessed is this: for safety, we have rubber bits covering the floor like what you see at some playgrounds I think. Of course, they are never washed. Kids will pick up bits of rubber and put it in their mouths, play with it, and whatnot. I’m sure these bits of rubber are full of who-knows-what because they’ve never been cleaned. Yikes!
45. Fit-Fluencer Selfie
There’s a fancy studio fitness place around the corner from where I work, and I swear every time I go there I see thin six-foot models sharing the class. I wouldn’t care that they were there except that they are always using their phones. They set up their cell phones to record their 15 seconds of workout before they move to the next station.
It’s one of those HIIT workout places where everyone does a certain amount of time per workout then moves as a group. So, I hate when I end up right next to one of them because I know my actually working-out red and sweaty self is in the background of all their beautifully posed videos. Ugh. I hate sharing workouts with this kind of person.
46. You Lookin’ At Me?
There were three of us in a section of the locker room. Everyone was just minding their own business, as usual. There was literally nothing going on other than people getting dressed. Then, this weird old guy said out of nowhere, “Quit looking at me. Hey! I said quit looking at me, you!”
The other guys and I looked at each other, wondering who was staring at this old guy and his hairy, wrinkly self. Of course, none of us were. I just went about my business, but the other guy tried to crack a joke. “Oh, I only look at pretty girls” or something like that. “BS!” yelled the old man. “You’re staring at me, and I’m going to knock you out!”
The old man stood up and started walking toward this other guy who was just staring at him in amazement. At that point, I kind of piped up and said something like, “Hey, he wasn’t staring at you. Why don’t you go back to your own business?” Of course, that then made him focus his ire on me. He called me the guy’s lover—but not in such nice words.
That was annoying enough, but he kept making things even worse. He then described what the two of us did in bed—using his own twisted imagination. He finally sids that he was also going to kick my butt—in addition to my apparent gay lover’s butt. At that point, he was about five centimeters from my face. I couldn’t go anywhere because I was backed up against the lockers. But there was a bench behind him—which becomes important.
So, I don’t really have any recourse other than to push him or something—but I don’t really want to do that. The first guy ended up having to stick his arm between us to separate us. Immediately, the old man started flopping like an Italian soccer player. In his theatrics, however, he forgot about the bench behind him and went butt-over-tea kettle.
So now he was hootin’ and hollerin’ about how two gay guys beat him up. The manager soon came in and just stood there looking very confused at the whole situation. That was the last time I ever saw that old man again.
47. Squat Sans Safety
So I was at my gym one day on the bench press when I noticed two kids on one of the power racks. They were probably between the ages of 14 and16 years old. Both were very skinny with no muscle definition. They were clearly beginners and looked like they hadn’t eaten in weeks—much less stepped foot into a gym.
Out of the several power racks in this gym, they were the only ones with the pins on the opposite side of the rack from the mirror. Meaning, if you use it to squat, the mirror will be behind you, while you’re facing outward into the rest of the gym. Most people don’t squat on this rack for that reason since they’d prefer to be able to see themselves in the mirror while they squat.
Well, the skinny kids were squatting on the rack, but they were facing the mirror while they did it. Rather than unracking the bar and stepping backward to squat, they had to step forward. This is when I started to pay some attention to what was going on. First, they immediately rack up 60 kg (132 lb) weights. Okay, they both lifted it with terrible form.
I thought that was already too much weight for both of them, at least to start out with. Definitely should have gone much lighter to start. Then they upped the weight to 85 kg (187 lb). No one got injured, but the form was atrocious. They were only quarter squats for sure. But they weren’t done yet. Now they’re racking up 100 kg (225 lb) weights.
At that point, I was watching them from the corner of my eye as I benched. “Oh no,” I thought. My lower back started to hurt just watching everything go down. Again, they both quarter squatted it. The form was so bad, I’m not even sure how neither of them hadn’t been injured yet. Now I started thinking, “Okay, now they’re finally going to pull the weight off the bar.”
Wrong. What happened next? They rack it up with 145 kg (320 lb) plates. I’m now completely stopped benching, and I was just sitting on the bench, observing…contemplating whether I should approach them and tell them they needed to stop. Before I could make a decision, the smaller of the two kids unracked the weight.
It was only a split second after he tried to take one step forward and completely collapsed. The 145 kg (320 lb) bar came down right on the center of his spine. I sprung off the bench, ran the short distance over to them, and I was fully prepared to go deadlift this bar off this skinny kid’s back. Thankfully, the bar dropped to the ground, rather than pinning the kid.
Yes, the ground, because they weren’t using the safety pins which are the whole point of the power rack. I suddenly heard myself shouting: “Don’t do that anymore, those weights are super heavy.” I sounded angry, but I was actually relieved since this kid’s back wasn’t broken. I contemplated giving them a detailed explanation and demonstration on how to properly squat.
And also on how to use a weight that they can handle. I should have since it was clear they were endangering themselves. In the end, I decided not to. Maybe I should have. That was the one and only time I ever saw them in that gym, to my knowledge. I’ve seen a lot of idiocy go down due to a lack of knowledge and experience in the gym. This one takes the cake. I literally thought I was going to witness someone get paralyzed that day.
48. In The Closet
I was going to my private country club gym a few years ago when I was about 17. The gym was never busy, and I was almost always the only one in there when I went to work out. The gym is not big; it’s about the size of a living room in most people’s homes, but it has everything you need. There is also a closet for spare equipment, which I had never thought anything of—until this day.
Well, as usual, I got to the gym pretty late, and, as always, it was completely empty. So, I began to work out and even turned on the Monday Night Football game, which I watched without headphones on. Suddenly, I began to hear some rustling noises coming from the closet. I didn’t think anything of it and I just kept working out.
Then I started to get curious. I slowly approached the door of the closet, and after a deep inhale, I swung it wide open. The male country club manager came out of the closet, followed by one of the male bartenders at the club. Both saw me looking over at them, and they just stood in silence for a few seconds. They both knew me and my parents very well. The manager pulled out his wallet, gave me a $100 bill, and said “I trust you, Ryan.”
I’ve never spoken a word about it, and I spent that $100 on some quality booze.
49. In His Zone
I go to the gym, put in my headphones, listen to metal, and disappear. It’s my zone, my own world, where I get to hurt myself in peace. Three days ago, I got dragged out of my hurty place by a woman who was standing and waving in my face. The reason was absolutely baffling—apparently, she thought I was staring at her and her sister. I wasn’t even facing them.
I told her I didn’t care that she existed and to go tell a manager. She began to insist I must be gay if I wasn’t looking at her. I shrugged, put my headphones in, and went back to work.
50. He Got An Eyeful
The gym I go to is somewhat close to a good-sized university, so some of the college students also work out there. The place is decent, cheap, and clean. I go there on my lunch break because it’s right next to my office. One day, I was at the gym with a work buddy. We were alternating sets on the butterfly machine, which was right in front of a row of treadmills.
There were a few folks on the treadmill—an older guy in his mid-50s and two college-aged women two treadmills away from the older guy. The college-aged women were wearing T-shirts and shorts from the local college. They were also running pretty hard, doing some interval work. After a few sets, the woman closest to the old guy lifted her shirt to wipe her forehead sweat off.
That’s when it got weird. She wasn’t wearing anything underneath her shirt. The older guy looked over and got an eyeful. He was so overwhelmed by the view that he promptly stumbled on the treadmill and shot backward onto the floor. I was in the middle of my rep when that all happened and I couldn’t stop laughing. it just wasn’t something that happened on the regular.
The two women immediately ran to the bathroom giggling. I still wonder if this was all some kind of prank or just an accident. Never saw those two at the gym again.