My name is Ian, and I have gym rage.


It wasn’t that long ago I was pretty fat. Not Bernard Manning fat, but fat nonetheless. And I got bored of it, so I embarked on what I laughably called a “fitness regime” which basically involves not eating beige carbs and using the gym, once I figured out where it was. And it was horrible at first. Flab jiggle and general ineffectuality on any machine you care to mention cursed my shuffling from exercise bike to “pec deck”.

But then something weird happened: I suddenly started to see some results. Love handles turned from those massive ones they have on doors on submarines to those of a dolls house chest of drawers. Shoulders got lumpy (in the good way) and that vein that runs from wrist to bicep that’s a bit gross but a bit cool started showing.

A few months on and I feel as good and more in tune with my body as I ever have. But this obviously means I now judge everyone in the gym. And boy are there some annoying people out there. Unfortunately for you, this is unlikely to be the last your hear from me on this, but I wanted to get a few general gym gripes off my chest. So here are, in no particular order, the things that give me gym rage.

1. Machine hoggers.

No, really, please do completely interrupt my workout because you’re on the machine I need to use next because your inane text conversation with that bird from the typing pool who’s grateful for the attention simply has to take priority. Get comfy. Why not crack out your Kindle and make a start on The Luminaries? I hear the Breaking Bad boxset is pretty good while you’re there.

If you’re not here to work out, get off the machines. See also those who take a load of the free weights over to an area and then proceed to use each of them once every 15 minutes. Take it when you need it, ta.

2. Three-rep wonders

There tends to be a bit of an overlap with machine hoggers here – these are the guys that hop on a machine, select the weight one down from the full stack (well, they’re not that strong yet) and struggle their way to one rep. Ten minutes of intense huffing, puffing and wheezing then follows before these delusional buffoons embark on another futile effort to lift the weight.

Look, I’m all for pushing yourself, but you’ve got to be able to actually lift the damn thing.

3. All body, no legs

One of the most LOLsome yet depressing of all gym phenomena, these peculiar creatures have spent so much time benching weights that they have completely neglected their legs. Muscles ripple on their upper body, only to give way to nobbly, Twiglet-like limbs from their inevitably belted waists down.

The irony is twofold. One, the work put in to the upper body means they are usually overdeveloped and two, even if not, the comparison is so stark they still look ridiculous. And no mate, hiding your spindly pins beneath a hideous and synthetic pair of trackies from Sports Direct isn’t fooling anyone.

4. Over-sweaters

You sweat, you wipe down the machines. You sweat profusely, you give it a good going over, not leave a soggy pool of your excreta all over the gym’s most porous materials. Machine seats, mats and those funny sausage things people roll up and down are not the place to store your precious bodily fluids. Use a towel for all our sakes.

5. Adjacent Adams

OK, so sometimes it’s busy and therefore unavoidable, but there is a breed of inappropriate gymmists who think it is OK to take the machine directly next to yours when there are plenty of others to choose from that are not within my personal space. I was on a rower today, one from the end of a row of 12 in a big gym, only to be joined by a sweaty oaf on the machine RIGHT NEXT TO ME.

Who is so socially inept that, despite the expanse of free machines disappearing off into a vanishing point somewhere in the next county, they deem it necessary to get up close and far too personal (considering their dubious hygiene) by taking the adjacent machine to me?

As far as I am concerned, it’s the same rule as urinals. Never opt for one directly next to someone else if you can be further away. Further away is always best.

6. Technique-schmechniquers

“This doesn’t look too difficult,” they say, “I’ve seen people do this before. I’ll just give it a go.” Wrong. Always concentrate on technique and form. The worst machine for this is the rower where most people seem to think flailing indiscriminately and slapping the chain around is far more effective than actually pulling the bar through in one smooth and level movement. A bad back and no stamina are the only results you’re going to get I’m afraid.

7. Vest wearers

Unless you are ripped beyond ripped, just stop.

8. Bad short brigade

Despite the prevalence of the aforementioned Sports Directs everywhere, it seems as though men in the gym find it too difficult to purchase an appropriate pair of shorts in which to exercise. Instead they choose to dig out either that awful pair of blue and white checked cargo shorts their wives bought from Next for that all-inclusive holiday to the Costa Brava that he hated as she made friends with that other couple of dullards, or a pair of too-long football shorts. None of these are OK.

See also: velcro ‘fashion’ trainers or anything that in truth isn’t a running shoe.

9. Hairdryer freaks

As they are the fairer sex and, unlike the lads in Porky’s (remember that?), I have never been privy to what goes on in the women’s changing rooms at the gym, I am going to give ladies the benefit of the doubt, but guys, they give out complimentary towels for a reason. See, at home, you get out of the shower and use one to dry off. You do not, as I have seen far too many times for it not to have scarred me permanently, need to use the hairdryer to dry the parts of your body other dehydrating methods cannot reach. Hair on head, yes, hair anywhere else, no. Simple.

Apologies in advance, but there will be more of these gym rants to come. Stick with it, it can only get better from here on out.

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