As an avid gym-goer since the age of fourteen, I have spent more than my fair-share of time working out and watching the people around me in the gym.  I have always been intrigued by the gym and it’s regular inhabitants, for the environment and the people in it provide for many an acquaintance-ship and even maybe a friendship or two.  Interestingly, these people who you see everyday are in their rawest form (both physically and mentally), but you really do not know much about them other than what they tell you and what you make-up about them in your mind.  As time goes on, it is interesting to see how your fellow gym-goers change over-time.

Over the past six-years, I have managed to classify some of the types of people that make up this interesting dynamic.  The following represent the extremities of this social sphere, however.  Most people (myself included) fall into some, all, or none of these categories in multiple capacities:

The Cardio Queen:  Do not allow my alliteration mislead you.  The name “Cardio Queen” does not only refer to women.  In my opinion, anyone who does more than forty five minutes on a cardio-machine at least four days a week can be considered a Cardio Queen.  These people tend to be master multi-taskers.  I have seen a man run at seven miles per hour on a treadmill while reading a novel.  I have seen another man read the whole morning newspaper while working up a sweat on the stationary bike.  Even still, I have seen women have full conversations while watching the news all the while burning one thousand calories on the treadmill.  These people also tend to be creatures of habit in that they tend to frequent the gym at the same time everyday and use the same machines.  If they enter the gym and someone is on their piece of equipment, they show obvious distaste for the person already working out and will sometimes even verbally claim their “property”.  As a self-proclaimed ex-Cardio Queen, I am fully aware that these are some of the most dedicated gym-goers there are.

The Chatty Cathy’s:  Once again, my terminology is inappropriately feminine.  Chatty Cathy’s can be women or men who go to the gym and spend more time talking than actually working out.  I like to say that they just spend their time working out their jaws.  Just this morning, I got three sets of an interval workout in while two men held a conversation all-the-while by the weight-stack.  To someone who is actually working out, Chatty Cathy’s can be of the utmost annoyance, because they usually travel in clans and take up a lot of precious gym-space.  The gym is a great place to meet people, but is it really necessary to go to the gym solely to socialize?

The Meat-Heads:  Meat-Heads can easily be confused with people who portray mere serious dedication.  The difference between someone who goes to the gym regularly and works out hard and a Meat-Head is one thing: substances, and I do not mean illegal ones.  There are tons and tons of legal substances that are sold to help enhance muscle growth, burn fat, and/or diminish bloat.  In my opinion, one of the funniest things is seeing a scrawny boy lifting fifteen pound dumbbells one day, only to come in the next day and see the same kid three shirt sizes more muscular, and multiple neck-veins more vascular, lifting sixty-five pound dumbbells.  Do not get me wrong; being a Meat-Head requires dedication and hard work.  So, if you can find/have found a substance that works with your body-type and routine, more power to you!

The New Year’s Resolutioners:  These are the people that start off strong during “peak” gym seasons.  I have concluded that there are three peak seasons: January (hence, “New Year’s Resolutioners”), April/May, and September.  In January, people are attempting to stay true to their New Year’s Resolution of being healthy, therefore spend a few good weeks going to the gym.  This crowd comes in with a bang and typically pitters out by the second or third week of January.  In April/May, the weather starts getting warmer and people start realizing that they will be putting on bathing suits in a few weeks.  This crowd’s presence is not as obvious to the regular gym-crowd, but increases gym-traffic nonetheless.  Similarly, in September, the change in temperature seems to remind people that they should be exercising.  The routine that comes naturally with the new school year, etc. seemingly sparks the desire for a structured, healthy lifestyle.  This increase is also not as obvious as January’s, but exists nevertheless.

*Disclaimer- I am, in no way, a professional people watcher.  The above conclusions were made by 14-20 year old me from an elliptical machine, ab-mat, or weight bench.