The one where I join a gym

I joined a gym last Friday – hence the ultra-creative title of this here blog post. It was time. I held off joining a gym for eight months because I wanted to see if I could do it. I wanted to see if I could save money and be disciplined and work out on my own at home.

Turns out I’m a total wimp when it comes to exercise. While my husband morphs into He-Man before my very eyes with nothing but a few barbells and shear determination, I have turned into a cream puff. Not cool.

Friday night was my first workout and it was…interesting. I chalked it up to being Friday evening, but I felt a bit like I’d stepped into a meat locker. I’m used to working out with all the other smokin’ hot minivan moms. Gym time is social time. We laugh, we chat, we sweat off all our stress. Sure there are a few bumpy muscle men milling about, but mostly we rule the proverbial roost.

But I was in the minority Friday night. It was mostly men in muscle shirts grunting and gabbing while us few moms walked among their smelliness trying to look as interested in the weights as they were.

So last night I went back, assuming that there would be a little less testosterone and a little more estrogen to help me in my journey toward total fitness AWESOME. (Incidentally, my friend Melissa has labeled her spring fitness craze “Operation Badass,” which I just think is the greatest title evah.)

Tonight was worse! I kept wondering where all of the other minivan moms were. And then I noticed a packed Zumba class and realized, “Aaahhh…there they are. They all know better.”

Clearly I’m a newbie.

So I powered through my workout and as I did, I made a few observations about the male species – particularly those who fall under the category of “worker outers.”

There are six types of men who frequent a fitness facility. Most men are going to fall into one of these six categories if they work out on a regular basis. This is a clearly comprehensive list based solely on scientific research. *eye roll*

The Grunters:

The Grunters are a particular group of fitness buffs who enjoy weight training for the ultimate benefit it brings to their overall health. While the Grunter may be pleased with his appearance as he curls his 50 pound dumbells, he is more than likely just happy to work out as a general way of life. Working out makes him feel healthy and confident.

The Grunter lifts heavy weights and emits low grunting sounds with each repetition, though he tries to keep himself under control. Minivan moms can appreciate his dedication and his willingness to not give in to the obnoxious.

The Groaners:

The Groaners are one step above the Grunters. They, too, love the physical benefits of working out, but they take more pride in their appearance. They watch their muscles contract intently with each curl and they make it a point to let everyone around them know they are are lifting seriously heavy weight.

The Groaner is known to drop his weights when he’s finished lifting for dramatic effect. The heavier the weight, the more the floor shakes, the more awesome he must be.

The Growlers:

The Growler dives across the line of annoying and lands squarely in the obnoxious. Growlers emit long, low sounds that sound an awful lot like child birth, thus leading minivan moms to cringe and make a hasty escape. A Growler typically sports a tatoo of a flame or something equally as radical on his calf or chest and he likes to stand up and applaud for himself when a particularly grueling work out is complete.

The Growler is often found flexing his muscles in the mirror at the end of a long work out.

The Musketeers:

The Musketeers travel in packs of two or three. They like to cheer each other on and shout things like, “C’Mon, Bro, you got this!” and “One more, Dude. Just one more. C’Mon, I know you got one more in ya!” Sometimes they even smack each other on the butt in celebration of a job well done. Musketters are particularly fun to listen to, as they have lively stories to share in between sets. I enjoy Musketeers.

The Hover-ers:

I do not enjoy the Hover-er. This is the bulgy men who stands over you as you use the chest press machine. When you stop to rest between sets, he takes a few steps closer and leans in. “You done with this machine?” he asks and when you shake your head no the Hover-er will step back and cross his arms, clearly annoyed with your lack of done-ness. You will have no choice but to relinquish your machine to him…despite the fact that you’re surrounded by five other machines that work the same muscle group.

Hover-ers are probably the same people who ride your tail on the highway if you’re not going a minimum of 15 miles over the speed limit.

The Guppies:

The Guppie comes to the gym in his work clothes, his tie slightly loosened. He walks in with cell pressed to ear and a fancy gym bag slung over his shoulder. The Guppie will come out a few minutes later in a nicely pressed, coordinated work out outfit. His shoes are brightly colored and his hair is neatly coiffed. He still has his phone and will shoot off clearly important texts in between sets. When using the free weights, The Guppie will frequently stare at himself in the mirror. He’s known to fix his hair throughout his work out.

So what do you think – Maybe it’s time I looked into Zumba, eh?

Image Credit


  1. You don’t have any of my group–the middle aged daddies? We only come in about 4 times a year. We have on our XL church t-shirt and cargo shorts. We lay a towel down on the machine because we sweat so much (once the gym owner looked at me with great concern and said, “Wow you really sweat a lot don’t you?”. His concern was for his machine not me). We shake our head a lot because 20 years ago we were so incredibly buff and we owned the gym. We start with too much weight thinking we can do what we used to and incrementally work our way down in humiliation until we get to the setting the woman next to us is using. We look over at the Zumba room, “Maybe I would be better off in there . . . no that would be creepy”. We get on the bike or elliptical machine and put it on the “no hills” setting, hopefully finding one in front of a TV showing Fox News. We watch the countdown constantly hoping 20 minutes will come soon. On the way home we get a grade Starbucks caramel macchiato because, “Dang it, I earned it”.

  2. Love this post and of course, thanks for the shout out! What! What!

    My gym is the same love, very much the same. There are biceps and triceps larger than my head in that place. A full gym is pretty motivating though. I typically do one of two things: 1). Use it for my entertainment to pass the time when running or 2). Get into tunnel vision mode and just do my thang!

    You’re very own Operation Badass is well underway!

    I’ve heard good things about Zumba too, but I’m not the dancey dance type so I’ve not tried yet. HOW EV A, Body Pump is my all time fave and I do feel like a Badass when I leave!

    You go girl! Proud of you!

    • Your badassery has inspired me. Here’s to bikini bods in 2012! 🙂

      I’m not a dancy dance girl, either.

      • I am not a dance girl either, but zumba with friends was lots of fun!!!! I only got to do it a couple of times, but really enjoyed it. I just accepted the fact that I could not make my body move the way the instructor’s did so my friend and I would just roll our eyes and laugh at our lack of coordination!

  3. Hilarious! I have never worked out at a gym, but cyclists fall into roughly the same categories, although not really based upon their random verbal utterances. I used to be able to hang with the guys who would be the equivalent of the Growlers but on nights when Kevin wasn’t with the group at least one of them would play the part of Musketeer and pull me back in when my sorry slow butt got dropped like third period French.

    • My favorite yesterday was the Growler who did, indeed, sport a flame on his calf. He was so loud and obnoxious and when he finally stood up, he grimaced to reveal he was missing a front tooth.

      I cannot make this stuff up. I simply adore observing people. We are an odd bunch. 🙂

  4. You are much braver than me. Believe it or not, I’m not so confident when away from my safety zone of family and friends. I would never join a gym!

    • I thrive on the energy at a gym, actually. I’m a total weenie if left to my own devises. Although I will confess that I was terribly overwhelmed yesterday when I realized I was the only woman in the free weights area. I was surrounded by grunters, groaners, growlers and guppies. It was terribly uncomfortable. I navigated my way out of there pretty fast. I may try tomorrow morning and see if the morning crowd is a little less intimidating. 🙂

  5. This is hysterical. I’m a former personal trainer and have been a member of just about every gym in my immediate area. I can say that your breakdown of the gym clientele is pretty spot on. I would also add the the Guppies will drive around for 15 minutes trying to find the closest spot to the door so they don’t have to walk the extra 10 feet to the gym. The funniest Gup I’ve encountered is one guy that always wore sunglasses during his workouts . . . he’s soooooo cool.

    • Hahahahahaha! That is awesome. You’re right – Guppies are there to look good, not overly exert themselves. 🙂

  6. I’m trying to figure out which one my husband is. Probably the Guppie. Fun post.