Gym Stereotypes

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This is a post I wrote awhile back for a former blog endeavor. I was in my hotel gym today and a nice looking Asian couple came in and completed an intense, synchronized type lift. I was both impressed and envious. It reminded me of this post.

Below is an edited, updated version of what I wrote a few months back. Who cares.

 

Gym Stereotypes

I need to make an important opening remark, for my own personal safety.

For whatever reason, aside from the fact I’m one of the funnier beings this side of the Mississippi, this blog is getting a little traction. It’s picking up a little heat, and I dig it. But with more publicity comes more viewers. As more people read my words, the probability–upon my return to American–of me running into someone I write about does concurrently increase. That’s scary, because I can’t fight. So let me say this, to the juiceheads I’m about to discuss (roast):

Don’t hurt me. Please. Don’t abuse me like you abuse supplements and snap-backs. I respect the commitment to health and personal appearance; I’m envious. I respect the confidence to adorn affliction t-shirts and dominate mirrors. I respect it, because I can’t do it. The ambiguously colored liquid you carry in a gallon jug, everywhere, to every part of the gym, you drink it without fear; I would be too scared. I can’t pull off what you guys do, so I make fun of it. I’m on your side, though. Know that. I too think cardio and stretching are for women.

I go to the gym to stay fit and to maintain a feeling of relevance. When you play a sport your whole life, at a high level, it’s difficult when playing days are gone. It’s hard to fill that void. Everyone has their own way to cope. Some people take to men’s leagues. Some drink beer and watch tape from homecoming 07’ where they threw for 300 and 2 touches. Some rip the bong and decide the best days are behind them and they accept life: marriage and kids. I turned to the gym.

The gym can fill that void in some ways, providing both physical challenge and motivation. It serves as an outlet and an extension to your more competitive, driven days of glory’s past… With that said, it’s hard for me to stay focused in the gym. It’s hard for me to fully concentrate on my lifts. It’s hard to do, one, cause my playlist isn’t great, usually an Ed Sheeran/Nelly Furtado type mix, and two, there are always certain types of people present that I have to laugh at. I’ll expound.

I’m going to list some 10-15 types of “lifters” I’ve come across that make me smile.

  • Juice Head: It felt right to start with this stereotype. They are the most prevalent and the most detrimental to society. I will also list some subsets of the finer, more particular juiceheads. But, in broad terms, the juicehead is what you saw on MTV’s Jersey Shore. That feels like a cop out, just a little, but putting Jersey vernacular aside, it is the best way to describe them. 1) In the gym, their first staple is the previously noted water gallon. The color of the liquid varies, but it is never left out of arm’s reach. Never. Despite numerous, conveniently placed water fountains throughout the gym, this gallon must go with them everywhere, to every station. It must! And despite the fact that they walk back to their athletic bag in the corner after every rep, to check texts and Instagram feedback, they can’t leave the gallon there. They can’t, because it would be sensible, and it wouldn’t be funny. 2) Secondly, in hierarchical value of juice head essence, is their demeanor. Most of it is physical, and posture related. A little deals with lingo and gym banter. Regarding the physical, obviously they are large and muscle bound; ingesting anabolic aid meant for horses and bears. But posture is important too: shoulders back in raised shrug position, imbuing a willful domination of the weak. With the same intent as an animal marking its territory with a good pee, a juicehead circles weight-room equipment, hoping to be challenged. 3) Lastly, but a staple nonetheless, is the head-wear game. You will never, ever, find a juice head in the gym without a fresh snap-back or a firm, lined up fade. You won’t. I also want to mention skin complexion, although it’s not ubiquitous amongst juice heads. It is common, and a strong indicator, whereas most maintain a false bronze complexion, but I’ve seen a lot more pale, natural juice heads. If you can check off three or more out of those four: water gallon, posture/demeanor, head-ware, and skin tone, then you’ve come upon a certified juicehead. Once you recognize them, and respect their territory, they are both good for a laugh and deserve a bit of admiration, because they throw a shit-load of weight around and make some noise doing it.
  • Chalk Guy, Wrist Tape: First, most common subset of the Juicehead. For the less advanced lifter, white chalk is applied to help with grip and aid in antiperspirant efforts, during Olympic type lifts. Wrist tape also serves as an aid, providing wrist support, with Olympic type lifts. White chalk and wrist tape both are beneficial and necessary when performing OLYMPIC-TYPE-LIFTS – unnecessary when performing dumb bell curls and spotting the hot chick doing body weight squats.
  • Caucasian descent, Tribal Tattoos: Very easy to spot. Juiceheads, no matter what type, do not own shirts with sleeves. This brand of juicehead is of complete Caucasian (White, very white) ethnicity. They rock variations of Polynesian and Eastern Asian ink trying to mask their European ancestry. The ink will typically be covering the bicept/tricep portion of the arm. It is rare to see calf ink, as legs aren’t included in most Juicehead regiments.
  • Lulu Lemon Guy: Since I wrote this initial post, Lulu lemon has altered juicehead apparel. Shirts with sleeves are now in play. You can recognize a juicehead in Lulu if they are wearing four or more Lulu articles of clothing. They will never wear just one. Hoodie, pullover, shirt, shirt-after-the-shirt, shorts, socks, towel, keychain, girl they are spotting, will all feature Lulu logos.
  • Grunter, Verbal Juicehead: I almost paired this type with the “chalk-guy, wrist tape” juicehead. I didn’t though, because this subset of the JH (juicehead) encompasses that and then some. This guy is verbal and visual from the moment he enters a gym. Knock out a set of lat-pulldowns, guttural moan; let the people know. Take a draining gulp from gallon water jug, wipe upper lip with forearm, bicep flexed, swallow, deep grunt, put gallon down and then, let the people know. Almost all forms of the JH embody some small fashion of the grunter. But the Grunter/Verbal JH is unmistakable, you can’t miss him.
    • Pushups: start from floor, raise and extend arms, deep bellowing howl at top position.
    • Situps: Lay prone and flat, raise core to form 90 degree angle, Lamaze-type breathing on returning floor decline.
  • Gym banter: Lifting partner completes a set of 3, max effort bench press, and racks the weight:
    • Normal, non JH response, using an inside voice, “nice job Bryan.”
    • JH response, in Christian Bale’s Batman voice, “HELL YA BRYAN, F*CKING GREAT EFFORT BRO! NOW SHRUG YOUR SHOULDERS AND LOOK CONFUSED (snaps picture). NICE! HYDRATE!”
  • Do You Need A Spot Guy?: If you are an attractive girl, or any girl in yoga pants, you will be asked if you need a spot by the most adjacent JH. That will happen without fail. It doesn’t matter if you are walking on the treadmill or trying to pick the right Pandora station, you will be told you need a spot. But, I respect it, like I do all JH’s. They have the confidence. They are in their element of comfort, and asking a hot chick if they need a spot is done both with ease and genuine altruistic intent.

Let’s take a step away from juiceheads real quick. I want to pay a brief homage to some female lifters. Most of these girls are attractive and scare me. They are typically surrounded by large, primal males grunting and making ruts in the ground.

  • Let Me Take A Selfie Lifter: These girls are hot, and they want to document what they are doing. They lack all fear in their photographic endeavors because they know a few things:
    • They know the non-juiceheads, like me, are afraid of them.
    • They know other women want to be them.
    • And, they know that the juiceheads will either ignore them, taking selfies of their own, or, in fact, ask if they need a spot for that selfie. If you see any type of duck-face or forced look of consternation, you have spotted a selfie lifter.
  • They are in great shape and they are careful to avoid excess perspiration. Sweaty selfies lead to fewer likes on Instagram; just how it works… They typically wear yoga pants with a bright, neon colored sports bra.
  • She Knows Her Way around a Gym and the D, Lady Lifter: This girl is thirsty. She wants it. Girls use different outlets to meet guys. Some girls look to meet guys through work, or church, or community college courses/study groups… Not this type, not this girl. She does her damage at the gym. She is hot and in great shape. She wears minimal clothing and meeting a guy in class probably wasn’t an option because she can’t read. She enters the gym focused, confident in her gait. She disregards cardio, enters the free-weight section (juicehead hot bed), immediately engaging in a downward dog position and she stays there until approached about a spot.
  • Butch, Hair on Upper Lift Lady Lifter: This chick is badass. She has no problem mixing in with the guys. You don’t need to lower the weight before her turn. She can probably lift more than you. She definitely has been with more girls than you.
    • This type of chick will also occasionally beat the shit out of a punching bag. There is no rhyme or reason to her flow of punches and kicks. I’m not sure what she is imagining as she works the bag. I’m not sure I want to know. No shame, and probably getting in the best lift in the whole gym. Inspiring stuff.
  • Fat Lady: She is fat. Most lifts and cardiovascular efforts are tough. She adorns a long grey t-shirt soaked in sweat. She wears a mien most aptly described as “death”. If agony and torture had sex, and they had a child, the child would be the look on her face. She is fat. I root for her.

 

Back to male lifters/gym-goers. I’m going to rattle off several bullets, shorter in description. If you are a not a juicehead, but you frequent the gym, you fall under one of the pending bullets. You do, don’t think you don’t. I’m a mixture of about three.

  • Social Lifter: This isn’t always a bad thing, it’s just usually an annoying thing. Social lifters are always great people, they just aren’t conducive to a good workout. I worked out with a great buddy of mine in the past named Sam — huge social lifter. Sam works off a ratio of about 1 to 4. The 1 being a set of said exercise and the 4 being a thorough, open-minded, passionate conversation with whoever is nearest, talking about anythinggggggg. The social lifter comes to the gym with things they want to talk about. They will talk about them. Sam went and saw that Bradley Cooper “American Sniper” film before a lift. During that lift, after I completed ten barbell lunges, Sam noted that I wasn’t extending as far as I should on the lunge, which reminded him and led him to discuss the relevant dynamic between Bradley Cooper and Clint Eastwood. Social lifters can afford to stretch a 45 minute lift into 6 hours of open dialogue. Try and avoid, if possible. Social lifters feed off eye contact. Keep head phones on and eyes to the floor.
    • Former Strength Coach: A more particular brand of the “Social Lifter.” He is just as social, maybe even more. Conversation will always lead to personal fitness endeavors of years past. Most dialogue begins with, “great set, reminds me of the time I was hitting a lift back in 89’…”
  • One Rep per Machine Guy: This is a personal favorite of mine. I will never knock someone for going to the gym. He is there, making the effort. But he is obviously there because the wife or lady friend has indicated they are tired of the flab. He isn’t their on his own accord. They have no former knowledge of lifting, exercise, or health. But they are there, and they are trying. They move from machine to machine, never touching the bench or squat rack; those are scary. Most people and machines in the gym intimidate them. They wear high white socks and are not familiar with the term dri-fit or how it pertains to athletic gear. Cotton works fine. They approach a machine, examine the instructions, perform a rep, proceed to next machine. If there isn’t an illustration, they deem the equipment inoperable.
  • Former Athlete Lifter: I don’t qualify because I wasn’t good. But this is the guy, the former pitcher, no longer playing, who goes to the gym and does rotator cuff band work. Or the former basketball/football player, no longer playing, doing box jumps and shuttle runs. Stoppppp. You are working out for strictly aesthetic purposes now, maybe a little functionality. Team lifting gear is no longer required: you will not be subjected to punishment running if you are not in team issued attire. Nothing wrong with a blank Nike Tee.
  • 20 Minute Psyche Out Guy: Another personal favorite. Not a juicehead and not lifting heavy amounts of weight. This guy is in average shape and is average sized. He reads Men’s Health and considers content divinely inspired. He read an article in the past that stresses the importance of gym mentality. Before each set of machine abdominal crunches, designed for older women with sciatic pain, he gets in the zone: aggressive head bobbing, large ear phones, mouthing lyrics, swinging and loosening arms/shoulders, stationary high knee running, deep oral exhalation, perform rep, repeat… Sometimes this is me.
  • Can I Mix In With You Lifter?: Surprisingly, not a subset of the “Social Lifter”. This guy is an enigma to me. For whatever reason, when open machines and equipment are available, he approaches you, removes his head phones, and asks if he can mix in with you. When you say yes, because you are unsure what to do, he puts his head phones back on, disregards the 4 available squat racks adjacent, and conducts the same exercise as you. This guy is not a juicehead. When JH’s mix in, it’s because they want you to know they can do more weight than you. This guy confuses me.
  • The Creep: Different variations available.
    • The most threatening, though, is the old man who rides the bicycle. He rides for long durations, without head phones, devoid of reading material, isn’t watching a TV, and maintains an unhealthy smile for the duration.
    • Second, is the deep stretcher. He will pick a densely populated area, usually best served for walking, and take to the floor. On the ground, he will conduct several different maneuvers, contorting his hips, rolling on his back, touching toes, spreading legs, and contorting hips further. Sometimes this is me.
  • Weight Room Couple: This is the stereotype I wish I could claim affiliation. These couples are typically fit, very healthy, wear matching outfits, work cohesively, make each other better, and probably have great sex.
  • This is My Machine for the Next 45 Minutes Guy: It is usually the bench press that this guy claims. Usually, but not always; sometimes he will take ownership of a chest-fly or lat pull down machine. Most people, who possess social “feel”, can sense when others are waiting to use the machine or area you are occupying… Not this guy. He is going to perform one exercise, for 45 minutes, and he isn’t moving. Like noted earlier, I’m of feeble demeanor, and I won’t say anything to him. Usually though, a JH will approach him and hit him with a “bro, you almost done with that?” … That wasn’t a question.
  • What’s a Towel Guy?: This one is pretty simple and notorious. Dude sweats like a terrorist in church, doesn’t carry a towel and refuses to use readily available paper towels for sanitization. He will finish a set, take note of sweat left behind, smile, and leave. He was most likely abused as a child.
  • Gadget Guy: The guys who wear the elevation masks (picture Bane from Batman), are suspect number one. I don’t laugh at or hate on the elite athletes who wear these. But most of the time, inside (insert generic chain name here) gym, there are no elite athletes. If you attempt 20 pushups, a couple dead lifts, and walk on the treadmill for a mile, you are not elite. You are fat. Barefoot shoes also apply. I understand their merit and benefit for the body. But measure your body fat before you purchase and wear these. If you are north of 15% percent, don’t buy these shoes – go see a doctor, you probably have diabetes.
  • I Do Cross Fit, But at a Regular Gym: For those who don’t know, Cross fit is a highly demanding, taxing, and impressive type of exercise circuit. It involves various lifts, all high degree in difficulty. Specific gyms are made for Cross fit. What I find most difficult, actually having tried, and failed, a few Cross Fit circuits, are the pull-up type exercises. In a regular gym, these guys are easy to spot. They are the ones swinging on the tops of exercise equipment like monkeys and walking to the water fountain in split jerk position. They make everyone in the gym uncomfortable. Juice heads hate these guys.

That is all.

***Again, if you’re a big, serious lifter, and I have offended you, just realize I’m a hater. Don’t hurt me. Make it motivation: I hate ya cause I ain’t ya.

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