a better life, attitude, awareness, basics of training, better choices, choices, consciousness, fairness, gym, habits

Animal “types” you may encounter in the gym.

Strength is not only determined by how much you can lift for one rep

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I have been around gyms for over 23 years now and have observed some interesting things that seem to be special to the environment.

Gyms are popping up all over the place now and they cater for almost every individual’s tastes. Big and small, 24 hours or not. Hard-core or fancy. The more, the merrier – right? I’m not sure about that. Each gym has its own unique ambience and attract certain types of patrons.

Now I realise that you could add many more gym stereotypes but as I have spent my time mostly in the weights area of gyms (retro gyms tend to only have weights and a few cardio machines), I will comment on 4 types or sub-groups of patrons I tend to see.

You may or may have had encounters with these gym types during your workouts.

I have tried to use an animal-in-the-jungle analogy to identify these weight-training types:

Type 1: The Silverback – “The Steroid Guy” – (and girl in increasing numbers in today’s world):

Now, I have never taken steroids or performance-enhancing drugs in all my years of weight training and I don’t know much about it but I do know when someone is ‘on it’. It is quite obvious for the discerning eye.

A visual walking, talking pumped up to the eyeballs human anatomy. The vein in his or her neck and shoulders and arms are visible and throbbing and they have acne problems like out of control hormonal teenagers.

Watch out, he (or she) look like they may snap your head off and punch someone in the face at any moment (no, most are really nice). They tend to be very serious about their workouts and do not like anyone interrupting them. They are what I refer to as “live wire”.

Fortunately, I didn’t have that problem in the period I owned and managed my Family Gym.

Your goal: Keep out of their way!

Be YOU. Never imitate.

Type 2: The Peacock – “The Mirror Man” :

I would probably fall in to this category but not for vanity reasons (or maybe just a little). More so for focus and continuous assessment and feedback, amongst other things essential to the sport of natural bodybuilding.

For the ‘mirror man’, however he (or she in increasing numbers) likes to work out in front of and as close to the mirror as possible. Preferably, with his/her shirt off (well I haven’t seen a woman work out with her shirt off in 23 years but given the pace of change in many aspects of life, it may just happen one day in my lifetime).

It appears that these weight-training types are only concerned with one person and one person only: themselves, even if it means standing in your way and blocking you off from the weights rack.

Your goal: get angry (no, politely ask him/her to move).

Is this you, too

Type 3: The Skunk– “the stinker”:

These are (mainly men) that roll out of bed and shoot straight to the gym.

They don’t care to brush their teeth and so have horrible breath and even more body odour stench. They don’t seem to have friends to tell them that they stink. Isn’t that what good friends do?

Doesn’t really affect me as my tolerance for stench is pretty high but many other members approach me and tell me their disgust, hoping that I would go up and say something. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.

Unfortunately for everyone, from my observation, it seems that these breeds of skunks tend to be some of the hardest workers in the gym and I take my hat off for them. However, they can populate their stink bombs right throughout the joint. It can be everywhere.

Let me share a health secret with you: this is one of the primary reasons why I prefer to train in non-air-conditioned gyms, there is better air-flow. Besides being tougher, but it’s healthier. A warm muscle is a healthy muscle. My family Gym did not have air-condition. 

Your goal: If you’re faced with this situation, you really have only one of two choices:

  1. Get out of there and come back another time
  2. Commence ‘mouth-breathing’.

That is exactly what many experience when they get overwhelmed & cannot manage.
They experience “Holy Shit!”

Type 4: The Hyena – “The Screamer”:

He’s the guy (or chick in increasing numbers) that shouts the roof down whenever he lifts. We’ve all seen (rather – heard them).

He’s like a screaming Sharapova on steroids and wants you and everyone else within a kilometre of the gym to know that he is lifting. He will scream even under ridiculously light weights either because of a need for attention or some other mental disease that needs diagnosing from a qualified mind doctor.

Your goal: protect your eardrums by listening to your favourite i-tunes.

My family gym was for everyone – from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, all races and ranged in age from teens to 90 year olds.
Everyone abided by ‘old-fashioned value’ – respect, patience, care, compassion, trust, tolerance etc
Here I am with one of my blind members (and her guide dog) who visited my gym 3 days per week for 7 years. Many other gyms descriminated against handicapped population. Not mine.
My gym was an ALL inclusive Family Gym.

I’m sure if you’re a regular gym-goer you could list out other stereotypes and match them to animals in the jungle. I feel that sometimes gym environments can be likened to jungles. There are many stereotypes and some of them just make you sit back and laugh.

So, my question to you is: which weight-trainee type do you fall in? Are you clearly one of the 4 types I have highlighted here or do you fall in a unique type?

So, find a gym that best suits you if you haven’t already. Actually, sometimes it is better to ask someone with the experience to recommend a ‘gym type’ that is best suited to your personality type and if you want to go deeper, then consider the best gym to suit your principles and values.

But I’ll give you more guidance on selecting the best gym for you in a future blog.

Train SMART.

Until next time,

Members of my ‘extended family’ when I used to own and manage my gym for seven years. Some of the best and hardest years of my life so far. I loved leading the members (predominantly males – 70%) and they allowed me to take them to unchartered territories for us all.
The gym was (unlike today’s) a social place. An ‘inbetween home’ between your place of work and your home.
Relationships based on fairness, trust, care and compassion.
A place where men could share stories, their aspirations, their fears and hopes …and be listened to … without fear of retribution or ridicule.
It was these group of Mens ‘last refuge’.
I hope to bring it back one day … to the world.


My Family of friends in my gym I owned and managed for 7
All working towards being the ‘best the can be’


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