From possessively hogging kit to having too much energy, there are some habits that all gym-goers will recognise in themselves. Now, just to get them to admit to themselves…
Right, let’s face it: walking into a smelly room to repeat movements over and over until your muscles are burning is weird, right? Yet we turn up, day after day, week after week, and leave feeling on top of the world.
Just going to the gym isn’t the only bizarre habit that those who lift have, though. When they’re in the weights room, things get weirder. From how they interact with each other to the way they get distracted by their own reflection, gym goers are full of complexities and contradictions (even if they won’t admit to it).
It’s not all bad – some are hilarious, others are silly and and there are even a few that are downright lovely. Here are just some of the interesting quirks all gym-goers have – even if they try to pretend they don’t.
Being too over excited
Most gym-goers hit the weights room before or after work, when regular people would be flagging (it is 6am or 7pm, after all!). Yet, we’re there bouncing off the walls at ungodly hours. The reason? Most likely an intense pre-workout coffee or supplement that we promise isn’t an addiction.
The awkward hover
When you really want to use a squat rack but there’s none free, so you just… stand on the sidelines. You might occasionally attempt to catch the eye of the current user to ask them how many sets they have, but mainly, you just hover in the middle of the weights room trying not to draw attention to yourself while other people probably question why you’re not doing anything.
Getting Gollum-like over kit
When you’ve finally got your hands on whatever it was you wanted, there’s no way you’re letting go of it. If anyone’s eyeing up your barbell, you shoot them a look that says, ‘That’s mine, back off’ (and, on occasion, you even have to verbalise it).
Because it’s one rule for you, and another for everyone else
Look, you can tut all you want at the kit hoggers, those who leave their dumbbells strewn around the floor or anyone who asks to “just jump into alternate sets with you” but you know you do it too. It’s just so much less annoying when you have the leg press for half an hour compared to when someone else does, right?
The eye rolls
“Huuuuuuuh,” you hear a person grunt from the far corner of the room. A noise so ridiculous you can’t help but laugh. When you look up, you notice every other woman in the room also biting their tongue, so you catch eyes and shake your head in unison, shooting glances at the offender. A friend made for life.
The relief of realising no one cares
The biggest fear in the gym is that everyone is watching you, right? But when you accidentally fall over, can’t get a machine to work or get over excited with the weights and realise it’s too heavy to even get off the ground, no one laughs (let alone notices). They’re so wrapped up in their own set that a flying donkey could come in through the ventilator and no one would bat an eyelid. It’s never felt so good to be ignored.
The love/hate relationship with pain
It’s time everyone admitted that, despite them categorically not being a signifier of a good workout, it’s slightly gutting when you don’t have DOMS the day after a challenging workout. Sure, it means your recovery is on point and you can walk up and down the stairs with ease, but there’s something satisfying about the pain. In the same way that you’ll always force one more rep and then limp to the changing rooms, the aching muscles are a badge of honour you love to moan about.
The resting bitch face
Whether adopted as a tool for swerving creeps or simply a result of being in the zone, we all look downright miserable – even if we’re loving our training session. Some call it resting bitch face, others might say preservation. In fact, walk in to the room and everyone looks downright miserable, despite actually enjoying their time training. Perhaps it’s actually just their faces trying to reset after the grimaces they were pulling during their set?
The extended rest period
You set your timer nicely in front of you to clock a 60 second rest break but then your friend comes over to say hi and you end up gossiping, or you get distracted by a great tune that’s come on your playlist or you end up watching a music video on a distant screen. Suddenly, it’s been three minutes and you’ve done… nothing? Whoops.
Forgetting your pants
You’ve showered, scrubbed off the sweat and dried your hair in the changing rooms. Only to realise that you’ve left the most crucial thing at home… spare underwear. Guess that means wearing the sweaty pair to the office, then?
The post-workout feast
There’s no hunger quite like a post-weight lifting hunger. Your body is crying for all of the carbs and all of the protein, so you end up eat endless bowls of porridge or an extra-large Nando’s order and still have room for more.
The automatic sisterhood
The patriarchy would have you believe that all women on the gym floor are in competition with each other, but the reality is that every woman in the gym is your silent BFF. If they have a bad experience, we all have a bad experience, and we’d support each other with everything we’ve got if push came to shove.
Looking to take your training up a notch? Join the Strong Women Training Club for strength training workouts you can do at home or take to the gym.
Chloe Gray is the senior writer for stylist.co.uk's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).