From gym bros, to newbies, to people who don't even look like they want to be there, a gym has a bunch of different members working out every single day. All those people with all those machines, it's only a matter of time before something crazy happens.
ALWAYS PUT THE CLIPS ON
“There is a young guy at my gym probably who is 19 or so. He’s not very tall, maybe 5 foot 5 inches, but he has a huge upper body. Anyway, he was bench pressing the 2 weeks ago a ridiculous weight for if you saw him in the street, about 140kg. He got this big dude who was obviously a gym acquaintance of his to spot him.
He belted himself up (not really sure why) and went for it. He picked the bar up, but his right arm was just that bit stronger than his left. He’d forgotten to put the clips on, or chosen not to, so the left hand side weights began falling off with a huge bang. Then because of the quick change in weight, the right-hand side weights all fell off too. The big guy behind him had no idea what to do (he couldn’t stop the weights) and just started shouting at him to ‘ALWAYS PUT THE CLIPS ON’.
Don’t really know whether he forgot or just thought he didn’t need them, but after watching that, I’m never not going to put them on!!
“There’s this dude with a huge upper body, and twig legs. He puts 400-500 lbs on the squat bar, goes down mayyyyybe 6 inches, screams the whole time, then will talk trash to other people like, ‘Yeah you wish you could do that.’
He’s my freaking favorite every time he walks through the door. He doesn’t realize how much everyone makes fun of him.”
“I teach Zumba and hip-hop classes at my gym (free membership, little pay, guaranteed workouts even during busy weeks… great 3-4hr/week part-time work!) and there is a wall of glass panels on one side of the studio I teach in, so other members can see the different classes and join if they want (all are free). One guy who was playing on a rec basketball league walked past on his way to the gymnasium, and apparently liked the booty shaking…because he started rubbing his balls on the window, no effing joke. Now, I have plenty of women who have had to give themselves months of pep talks to set foot in the studio and join a class, let alone one that anyone can look into and watch them within. This did not sit well with me. I put a regular in charge of finishing the song (we were nearly done with the hour as it was), and ran out after him, which he didn’t expect. I tried to stay calm and rational (and did, for the most part), but when he stepped forward and pushed his chest against mine, I flipped out in front of my ladies (who were all glancing out of the window). Luckily there were PLENTY of witnesses to his actions, and the owner threw him out. I wish I could say I was super brave, but I was shaking like a leaf once he was walked out, and gladly accepted one of our personal trainer’s offers to walk me to my car once my class was over for the night. Still makes me angry, but as the group leader I can’t just let someone get away with that, even if I’m nanoseconds to getting myself punched.”
Not Paid Enough For This
“Since I am in high school, I work part-time at the hotel gym of my 4-star hotel, and along with being associated with the hotel, we do outside memberships as well. For our personal memberships, we are mostly an ‘elderly club’, aka mostly an older crowd. We have our fair share of muscle head guys, and normal teens who want to be strong, but this story isn’t about them.
Since this club is mostly around 40 plus years old, many people’s bodies don’t act like they used to. In particular, one member sometimes sporadically poop diarrhea in the men’s locker room with no warning. The last time this happened, he did it all over our rubber floor mats, which was then assigned as my job to clean!
My boss knows I hate these mats already, they’re a pain to put together, they hurt when you try to put together, and all around a total nightmare. So, to clean them, since someone had recently misplaced the pressure washer, I had to use a normal hose. This particular rubber, which was probably not REALLY rubber (just the closest material I can think of) really likes to grip any substance it gets to. These tiles were holding onto this poop to no end. So finally, I thought ‘forget this, let’s just hammer them back into place, they should be fine.’ This is where it gets good for the few readers who made it this far.
As I am hammering these poop covered tiles together, the poop starts FLYING UP INTO MY FREAKING FACE. At this point I’m already annoyed out of my mind. I complained to my manager about how unsanitary it is and how I can easily catch some disease/illness this way. He basically says it is my duty to do it, and as we know, you don’t just say ‘no’ when you need a job and don’t want to lose yours, so the next hour of my life was spent with poop all over my hands and a blizzard of brown droplets smacking my face like a fat man trying to eat dippin dots on a rollercoaster. I basically right then asked for a raise, and I was denied.”
How To Exercise
“I’ve seen a lot of ridiculous stuff, as everyone who has spent any time at public gyms certainly has. Here are a few that top the list, in no particular ranking order. These are all examples of exercises being done in a ridiculous manner, not necessarily that the exercise itself is ridiculous.
A trainer at a gym I frequented for years had a regular client that he would have do one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen. His client was a frail middle-aged woman who could not have weighed more than 90 lbs, no exaggeration. Perhaps a bit less. He would load up 7 or 8 plates on each side of the leg press (630–720 lbs) and have this tiny woman pretend to do it. She would scrunch up her face into a terrifying grimace, he would stand to one side and hold onto the weight bar. She would slightly bend her knees and then straighten them while he pulled hard on the bar. No exaggeration at all, the range of motion was about 2–3 inches. The really ridiculous thing was that she would flip the safety latches out of the way, even though her tiny range of motion made that completely unnecessary. It was one of the dumbest, most pointless, dangerous and irresponsible things I’ve seen at a gym. And they did this regularly.
The same trainer from number 1 above was ridiculous working out himself. Particularly on a plate type shoulder press machine that he liked to really max out on. He always had two good-looking women with him, all three dressed in excellent high gym fashion. He would put 3 or 4 45 lb plates on each side. Each woman would take up station to either side. He would strive mightily, as would the women as they tugged on the weight bars to assist him. Particularly given that this guy was a trainer, this was hilariously ridiculous.
A young man doing bench squats and actually sitting down on the bench every rep. He would go down, and sit. I mean his posture would change from a squatting posture to an actual sitting down on a bench posture. He’d pause, then awkwardly lean forward back into a squat posture and stand back up. I kindly and encouragingly once tried to explain to him that this was completely wrong. He ignored me. Staff at the gym tried to explain to him that he was doing the lift completely wrong. He ignored them. No surprise, but this young man never made any significant progress. Bench squats are a training exercise for regular squats. The only purpose of the “bench” is to give you a tactile alert that it is time to go up. You select a ‘bench’ that is the correct height for you, so that as you squat down your butt touches the bench just as you reach full depth. The bench should not be under you as it would be if you were actually going to sit down on it. It would then be in your way if you were doing the lift correctly. It should be behind you so that at best you might be able to sit down on the edge of it if your intent were to actually sit. But you absolutely should not egregiously break form by actually sitting down and changing your posture to a sitting posture, and then doing it again in order to stand back up. Your form should not alter from the form of a regular squat. The “bench” simply lets you know when it is time to go back up.
There’s plenty more where those came from. I’ve also seen plenty of ridiculous exercises, meaning that the exercise itself is silly not merely the way it was done. A target rich environment for that is CrossFit. I think the relatively high incidence of silly exercises I’ve seen CrossFitters doing comes down to trying to come up with new exercises. This is probably true in most cases of people doing silly exercises, but coming up with new exercises is a major aspect of CrossFit. I’m not particularly critical about this kind of thing because I think innovation is good and for that there has to be people willing to experiment. But it should be kept firmly in mind that nearly all such experiments are failures.”
“There’s this kid who comes to the college gym who looks like Syndrome from The Incredibles–almost spot on. He shows up wearing all black exercise gear, alone, attaches his phone to his arm and literally wanders around the gym for an hour occasionally muttering, smiling creepily, and laughing, not approaching any equipment and not looking at anyone before finally leaving. It’s not shyness or anything–he just stalks around and leaves. It’s terrifying.”
“In the summer after 11th grade I was a lonely guy. I didn’t have any friends, I hadn’t ever had a real girlfriend, and I wasn’t the most social of people.
I decided that I’d better myself by going to the gym.
One day after at the gym, I had a pretty good workout and I was feeling pretty confident about myself. I exited the weight room and there was a girl sitting on a bench outside of the weight room. (It was a rec center and there were many activities to do) I decided that I would take advantage of this confidence I had in myself at that moment and I would try to talk to this girl.
So I walk over to where she was sitting and say, ‘Hey’
She looks up at me and says, ‘Hello.’
I wish I could continue this story and say that I totally nailed it and got a date, but when I was basking in my confidence and approaching this girl I missed something that I really, really probably should have thought of before opening my mouth to talk to someone.
I had no idea what I was going to say after, ‘Hey.’ and if I was a normal person I probably could have recovered quite easily and had a conversation like a freaking normal human being, but no. I’m special, guys. Really, really socially ‘special’ I guess.
I panicked after she said hello and instead of saying something that could have been normal like, ‘How are you?’ or something similar, I decided to say the following sentence.
‘So… do you think that Disneyland gets a lot of creeps?’
When trying to talk to someone, not just a member of the opposite gender, but anyone you probably shouldn’t make that your first topic.
She nervously says, ‘Yeah’ and lets out a fake laugh that meant ‘go away’
So I walked away and went back to my car and drove home.
And that was the last time I ever tried to talk to someone I didn’t know.”
Canine To Canine
“When I was in college, I was one of the building managers at one of the campus gyms. There were a few basketball courts, and one of our responsibilities was treating minor injuries and assisting for more serious injuries. One guy got pump-faked into the air, and he came down hard on another guy on his team that was going up for the block. The aftermath was gruesome: guy in the air lost all of his upper teeth from canine to canine. Well, 5 of those teeth were scattered in pieces on the ground. The 6th tooth was embedded in his teammate’s cranium. Toothless was crying and the guy with the tooth in his head was bleeding like crazy.”
A Sad Obsession
“My story is alternately disgusting and sad.
I worked at my university gym for a couple of years and during that time there was a female student who came in every single day and worked out for two to three. She was from somewhere in Eastern Europe and spoke English in a somewhat broken fashion.
The sad part: She was a walking skeleton. Those two to three a day were spent on nonstop cardio whether it be on a treadmill, an elliptical, or on the track. During those two to three she never once stopped to take a break. I don’t even remember seeing her drink water.
The disgusting part: I wasn’t there the day this happened, but my coworker told me she came in wearing her trademark lycra leggings nearly falling off of her too-skinny frame and a long sleeve lycra pullover. She went to an elliptical and began her two-hour cardio routine. She always did her cardio with a sort of mindless, desperate focus, apparently oblivious of her surroundings. When she was done, my coworker noticed something that looked like dirt on the base of the elliptical. It was liquid human feces. She had worked out on that machine for two hours never stopping despite poop literally running down her legs.
She was then banned from working out in our gym for health concerns (both hers and the general public), but one day she managed to get past a new employee onto the indoor track. She ran laps around the track for nearly 30 minutes, once again, with feces running down the back of her legs and onto the track before she was stopped. When she was approached and told to leave she tried to keep running, desperate to get back to her workout.
I’m not sure what happened to her in the end, but between her brutal cardio routine and the excessive use of laxatives I’m afraid it could not have been good. I never saw her in either of our gyms again.”
Lat Pull Downs Rant
“I watch the weight room at my gym just to make sure no one hurts themselves. A usual patron comes in and I basically know his entire workout. He goes to the lat pull down machine and replaces the handles with a rope handle and starts working his abs. Nothing unusual, as I’ve seen many people do this. However, a guy comes over to him and starts lecturing him about the proper uses of the machines. This guy goes on a 10 minute rant while the other guy casually continues his workout. Guy ranting gets annoyed and I go over and ask if there is a problem. He starts ranting to me the same thing, and I had to explain to him that there’s nothing wrong with what the other guy was doing. Guy gets even angrier and I had to call my Lead so she could talk to him. Repeat the same conversation, except this time he gets told to leave for disturbing the peace. The real kicker? We had two more of those machines right behind the original.
I’ll never know why this man was so passionate about his lat pull downs.”
At Least They Made Up In The End
“Lifeguard at a gym. Had one guy come in the pool who looked a bit… off… and he starts swimming laps. At one point he starts to turn his head to the right, I just assume he is talking to the other lap swimmers (it was very busy that day so I couldn’t hear what he was saying), but the closest lap swimmer to him just has this confused look on his face. He then gets angry, and only when he is hockey punching the air do I realize that he is talking to someone only he can see. Eventually he calms down, and has a talk with the invisible person (one of the other guards has already gone to find the MOD). He then proceeds to wrap his arms around his special friend and leave. I think he might have been messing with everyone, but you never know. Really hope he was.”
Business Never Sleeps
“I taught aerobics classes at the YMCA for a few years. One guy would do his workout wearing a suit; jacket, tie, dress shoes, whole nine. If he got a good sweat going he’d take off his jacket and loosen the tie a bit. It didn’t seem like he was in a rush, on his lunch break or something. Sometimes he’d be there for a few hours. He actually went into the change room a few times but never to change his clothes. I always wanted to ask what was up with the suit but after a few months he stopped coming.
A close second is the time a guy dropped dead of a heart attack on the treadmill. Fell right off the back onto the floor. He had no vitals as soon as the trainer got to him, which was probably less than a second after he fell. They used the defibrillator and everything while waiting for the ambulance but couldn’t revive him. That was slightly traumatizing.”
Nothing To See Here
“I’m a gym employee but don’t have anything particularly amazing. A co-worker did though. At one of the previous clubs he worked at he was showing a family of four around the gym. He showed them where the locker rooms were and where the sauna and hot tubs were. As he opens the door to the sauna room there are two middle-aged men getting freaky with each other. He immediately closes the door and casually continues with the tour since they didn’t see anything.”
Not A Great First Day
“This happened last week. A woman that seemed to be having her first day at the gym was getting guidance from one of the women who worked there. She finished a whole set of weights and was told to try out this ski simulating machine. The machine is pretty hard, it engages your quads the entire time. I watched the woman do about 5-10 minutes and then get off the machine take a couple steps and I’m not sure if she tripped or her legs buckled but she SMACKED straight onto the floor catching the ground with her face. Her forehead and nose split open and her bridge fell into pieces. It was horrible.
The ambulance came to make sure that she wasn’t having a heart attack etc. Then her slim attractive husband came to pick her up (she was pretty big). I felt so badly for her.”
“Not an employee, but my friend’s experience was amazing. He was training for a race, but was pretty out of shape, so he and his dad hit the gym to get a workout. He hopped on the treadmill to do 3 miles, and was going at a pretty comfortable pace. When he got to the final mile, his dad started pushing him, trying to get him to run a sub-seven. He was going about as hard as he could, and started feeling really sick.
But his dad kept pushing him harder and harder to get in under time, until he finally vomited. Straight down. Onto the treadmill’s belt. It flew off the back and got all over his dad, an employee, and some other gym goers.
The best part was he told this story a few years later to some guys, and one of them had started working at the gym. My friend had apparently become a legend around there.”
Monkey See, Monkey Can’t Do
“Not a gym employee, but I’ve spent a fair amount of time at the gym working out. By far the most memorable/worst experience at the gym was this one time I was going to a smaller private gym. I was doing shoulder workouts on a machine and through the mirror I saw this guy who looked way too old and unfit to be in the weight section. He walks over to the free weights that had probably 25 pounds on each side on the barbell and I see him mimic another guy and try to do dead lifts.
The old man picks it up, his face immediately turns into a tomato am I hear the weight crash down onto the floor. I turn around and the guy’s pants are down and the entire gym starts smelling like nasty diarrhea, he projectile pooped his pants while lifting. I was about to puke. There was poop streaming down his pants and a trail of poop into the locker room.
I went in a few minutes later because my workout was done and I was about ready to puke and there was poop all over the walls of the bathroom and his dirty underwear was hanging from a ceiling panel. It was a disaster.”
I work at my school’s gym. I always swear we can write a book with the stuff that happens. There’s the typical bad form and bro-science then you have the other stuff.
One guy can’t row (with a cable machine) the weight, so his buddy climbs over him and grabs his face to pull him back and help him out. That was his first rep.
Girl complains that the music is too loud, so she can’t sleep.
Guy complains that the water/gatorade in the cooler isn’t frozen.
Guy complains that the kettle bells aren’t heavy enough…so how else can he train his hamstrings?
Guy refuses to wear swimwear at pool, and it is ‘his right’ to wear underwear.
Multiple occasions of feces in the men’s shower.
Some guy told me he ‘stalks me’.
We had ‘Focus Dude’. He would yell ‘focus’ at the top of his lungs for every set.”