MarathonMaiden's Blog

February 17, 2010

How I Love To People Watch

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:04

Okay so I’m always impressed by the people I see at the gym.  Not necessarily impressed as in “daaaayuuuum you are working hard” but impressed by the people themselves.  I go to a college campus gym currently and even though I see some of the same people they are pretty much representative of a stereotype.  And sure stereotypes suck but they come from somewhere, right?

I will also say that I haven’t really seen any non-school-athlete athletes at the gym.  I put myself in this category because if I’m not an athlete then eff that.  Maybe these types are few and far between in college? I know that it is hard to motivate and push yourself hard for a goal while in the grind of the semester if you’re not being told what to do by a coach.  Or maybe they just avoid the gym.

But here are my musings on the people I see at the gym when I people watch.  Because I love to do it. And this isn’t a complete exhaustive list of people at all gyms, just my campus gym.


The Princess: These girls don’t really do much at the gym except try to look hot all clad in head to toe spandex.  They hop onto a machine (usually the elliptical or WALKING on the treadmill) and just go through the motions.  Obviously.  I mean why ruin the full face of makeup you just put on? Typically they also spend more time flirting with the guys below in the weights.  Or having eye sex with them.

The Chatty Cathys: The girls who show up at the gym just to chat for social hour.  May or may not actually do anything to make it appear as though they’re working out.  Or most likely they workout for 5 seconds on one machine then see someone they know, talk to them for 30 minutes then switch to another machine to finish their workout with another 5 seconds.  A subset would be The Cellphone User

The Meathead: These can be jocks but but I’m not defining them that way.  These are the guys who *were* athletes in high school but don’t have the goods to play in college. These guys are never on the cardio machines and always in the weight section.  Usually lifting really heavy weights and grunting a lot. They’re also the ones having eye sex with the princesses hoping to have actual sex with them later on.  Just sayin’.

The Athletes: Okay I know this is one BIG category.  But the athletes *usually* feel entitled to take over the entire freaking gym.  Our campus gym is small, our school is small, and you are not here on athletic scholarship.  Please stop staring me down as I lift or run or whatever. Just because I am not on a team does not mean I have to yield to you.  I am running the Boston Marathon and I would like to see you try and do that.  (I will say that men’s teams are worse than women’s and that baseball, lacrosse are worse than cross country, volleyball.  There is a hierarchy in how awful they are BUT when any team gets together there is a mob mentality.)

The “Nosey Rosies”: (Thanks Rebecca for that name for them!).  Anything you do they can do better.  So they peak over at your treadmill, the poundage of weights etc to see what you’re doing.  Then try to one-up you. Annoying? Yes.  But it feels amazing when you overpower them because clearly these people are just trying to show off and in no way can do what an actual runner does on the TM.  Sure they might beat you on the weights but you’re not a powerlifter right?

The Nerds: Okay so I freely put myself in the “nerd” category often and maybe I’m really meaning the socially awkward kids.  They just look so out of place where ever they are in the gym but they attack their workouts with gusto. I’m often afraid that they’ll hurt me. Or themselves too I suppose.

The Overweight Kids: Maybe not the best way to put this group but they’re obviously at the gym to lose weight.  Most of them put in really hard work and you can tell that they don’t want to be there and yet they do.  Very inspiring to watch them try to do something good for themselves.

Faculty / Staff: In general I LOVE when the faculty and staff workout in the gym.  They’re obviously older than the students and are a source of huge motivation for me because they’re working hard to lose weight or stay in shape or get in shape.  I’ve also met quite a few who are training for tris and road races. Definitely what I want to do when I’m their age. In fact there is an older staff member who runs marathons and she was partly responsible for planting the seed of a full marathon after I was done telling her how scared I was about my upcoming first race ever (a half). So cool to be inspired. However the following people can refrain from showing up when I am there:

  • The Walkers.  Yes I know that there is a setting that allows you to go slow.  But please for the love of god unless you’re warming up please get off the damn thing. And I know that walking DOES count as cardio but not at 2.0 mph.  Definitely doesn’t count as your half-hour of vigorous exercise. (Note: I do not have a problem with them when the gym isn’t crowded sayyy before work? But when they go after work (aka peak student hours) that’s when I get annoyed)
  • The Creepers.  Typically men who gawk at the co-eds and attempt to show off for us.  So unnecessary and I would like you to stop undressing me with your eyes. Thank you.
  • The Ex-Athletes.  See “Meatheads” for their younger counterparts but these are people who were once athletic but have taken a long hiatus.  Clearly not athletic anymore but think they still can win State.

So hopefully you enjoyed this 🙂 It’s (mostly) in jest so I hope no one is offended by it (totally not my intent at all!)

Hope your Wednesday is going well. Mine’s been wicked busy although I’ve been sitting around waiting for 45 minutes for my 1400 meeting to show up / call.  No such luck.  Very annoying as I couldn’t really do anything during that time that was easy enough to put away if she showed up. And I rushed through my morning so that I could be on time. Grrrrrrr. So inconsiderate and rude!

Oh well, nothing I can do about it now.  I did have a very nice recovery run this morning, veryyyy slow though.  Even though it appears obvious right now I realized that I can’t compare my Monday recovery runs to Wednesday because on Wednesdays I have my interval session under my belt and DUH my legs are going to be more tired.  I probably should have realized this earlier but oh well.  Now I have a rational explication to soothe my mind when it’s telling me that I’m going wicked slow. Even though I don’t think I could have gone faster even if I had wanted to.

Since this is getting lengthy (and I have class like….veryyyy soon!) I’ll wrap it up by saying check out the giveaway Mel’s having.

Happy Wednesday all!


  1. Thanks for this awesome post. It makes me miss the gym. They are such fodder for great comedy! In college, I was definitely a Meathead. Ha!

    Comment by A Marathoner — February 17, 2010 @ 15:14

  2. lol. nice demographic survey 🙂 the middlebury gym was pretty much everyone on campus. when i was there it seemed like everyone was either an athlete or at the very least active in some way. this is going to sound REALLY bad so please don’t hold it against me, but when i go to visit now i notice many more “bigger” students. maybe i am wrong, and think i lived in the glory days, but honestly, i don’t remember ANY overweight kids on campus…

    Comment by Lacey — February 17, 2010 @ 15:20

    • No judgment at all! I can’t remember having overweight kids in my elementary school classrooms and now it’s about 80% overweight kids. I think it’s just a reflection on how society is today. Very sad

      Comment by marathonmaiden — February 18, 2010 @ 19:15

  3. I love posts like these. I don’t know what I would be. Maybe “Dubious Re-wearer of certain shorts” person? J/K- I wash my clothes.

    You’re not a nerd! Not, not, not!

    Comment by EE — February 17, 2010 @ 15:25

    • I totally call myself a nerd with 100% love. I embrace it 🙂

      Comment by marathonmaiden — February 18, 2010 @ 19:15

  4. OMG. LOVED THIS POST. It made me laugh so hard during my break and brings me right back to college.

    Comment by Kerry @ Runnin on Faith — February 17, 2010 @ 15:26

  5. Love this. 🙂 We had the WORST creeper older guy in my campus gym during college. He’d always work out in the “girls weights” area. My friends and I started comparing notes about him being there. We couldn’t figure out if he was actually there for five or six hours at a time, or made several trips… it’s still a mystery.

    Comment by Amy — February 17, 2010 @ 15:30

  6. The only group you forgot to mention was

    Foreign: Probably not working out very hard. Possibly doing something strange/potentially harmful. Definitely wearing something weird. Like the Russian guy at the UF gym who always lifted weights in a purple wrestling suit. Or the Chinese guy at the UW gym who was drinking from a 1/2 gallon of whole milk in between sets on the lat machine where he pulled the bar behind his head.

    Comment by EarlyRunner — February 17, 2010 @ 15:33

  7. haha I love this post! So true about the chatty cathys and princesses haha. And I completely agree with the addition from Early Runner, I definitely see those people every once in a while.
    I don’t know where I fall though..

    Comment by BostonRunner — February 17, 2010 @ 16:45

  8. Just found your blog through Lacey’s blog. I love this! So true.

    Comment by Kim — February 17, 2010 @ 17:06

  9. Haha nice post! It’s been ages since I went to my old university gym but the princesses used to annoy me the most!!

    Comment by laura — February 17, 2010 @ 17:13

  10. This post is awesome! I will definitely have to keep it in mind when I hit the gym in the morning for my recovery run.

    Comment by Nick — February 17, 2010 @ 18:58

  11. This is hilarious because it’s so true even at other gyms, not just gyms on college campuses (you just have to shift the demographic to middle aged people instead of college kids). I judge women based on if they wear their hair down or up because let’s be honest, you clearly aren’t at the gym to work hard & break a sweat if your hair is down! Also, I love the people who work out on the elliptical with their cell in one hand and a starbucks coffee in other….sad but true.

    Comment by Jenny — February 17, 2010 @ 19:29

  12. Let’s add one thing to the Meatheads. They HAVE to be in view of the mirror, so they can watch themselves at all times. Heehehe. Great post! It made me smile. (I would’ve laughed, if I weren’t injured.)

    Comment by Rebecca — February 17, 2010 @ 19:43

  13. Awesome post. The princesses are the worst – and they don’t just exist in college gyms!

    Comment by Erin — February 17, 2010 @ 20:36

  14. I love this! We were talking about it at dinner tonight. I was complaining about the princesses and the chatty cathys!

    Comment by Morgan — February 17, 2010 @ 20:40

  15. this is funy and definatly true,,, but i think we should give people a break… something is better than nothing in terms of exercise and i sure know i have my days when i get to the gym and get on the machine and after 15 minutes I am like ugggh not today i cant do this.. I( props to you) can not and am not training but when this rarly does happen to be i always wonder if the person behind me is snickering under their breath. One day i realized i dont care because usually i work hard, sometimes you just arent feeling it and in my mind at least- something is better than nothing

    very awesome topic- and at college sooo true 🙂

    Comment by Larissa — February 17, 2010 @ 20:55

  16. Such a FUN post brings me back.. Soooooo as a former college athlete who was forced to work out in a SMALL gym I ask you to see the other side. We have been in practice for 3 hours and are supposed to get in another hour++ in the weight room, bike or whatever….we are not trying to push, but we just want to get in our workout and get DONE.. Often the “Chatty Kathy’s” and other cause daily frustration.

    AND FYI tell them you are training for Boston, then they wont give you the LOOK. Hugs to link love!

    Comment by Tall mom — February 17, 2010 @ 21:02

    • I totally can see it from the other side. And I have friends who fall under this category so I get it and most of the time it’s really no big deal at all. It’s still frustrating and probably a “me” thing: like I just don’t want the gym to be crowded so when a team comes in I have to roll my eyes haha 🙂

      Comment by marathonmaiden — February 18, 2010 @ 19:18

  17. Seriously love it! I totally agree! I used to go the student gym all the time but then there also was an athlete only gym which I went to. Thats a whole other dynamic! I love being on the treadmill, elitpical, etc and zoning out by just watching the crazy ppl around me. The best time for this is obviously between 4-7pm aka the peak hours!

    Comment by J — February 17, 2010 @ 21:17

  18. Ha, I lol-ed at this! I want to add one though- (but I’m not sure if your gym is student only, so maybe it doesn’t apply?) I workout at the Y, so I will add:

    THE CONFUSED OLD PEOPLE: these people are usually over the age of 70 and either dressed in dress clothes, or half-dressed in dress clothes (ie button down with sweats). They wander aimlessly among the weight machines using them at the lightest setting. Sometimes they are meticulously marking off what they do on a ‘training plan.’ They are both cute and scary in the sense that they look as though they may pass out from the effort of walking between the machines. However, you must admire them because (if your me) you know you will be sitting on the couch eating cookies and knitting sweaters at that age!

    Comment by tmart — February 18, 2010 @ 08:01

  19. Hahaa oh my gosh this is SUCH an accurate description!! My college gym was FULL of princesses and chatty cathys. I love the faculty that comes and “works out” on the treadmill with a travel mug of coffee and a newspaper 🙂

    Comment by Heather — February 18, 2010 @ 08:41

  20. […] the way, check out marathonmaiden’s post on the different people at the gym.  It cracked me up, because I was just complaining about some of these last night!  Today there […]

    Pingback by More From Fig’s! « Live, Love, Eat and Play — February 18, 2010 @ 08:45

  21. Hi ummm you CRACK me up!! seriously loved reading this post….people watching is a hobby of mine! haha I’m a creeper! I wonder what people think of me at the gym…I’m usually covered in sweat/bright red-running on the treadmill at a 70-degree angle!!! hehe! I hope you are having a great thursday…almost the weekend! CLOSE that quantum book girlie! luvvvvvveee u!! xoxo!

    Comment by Lizzy — February 18, 2010 @ 12:04

  22. People watching is one of my favorite parts of working in a gym. As a college athlete, though, I rarely even went.

    Comment by runjess — February 18, 2010 @ 14:33

  23. This was a lot of fun to read. I laughed out loud a couple of times reading this. I don’t think I fall into any category completely but have pieces of a few. And I can DEFINITELY think of at least one person that falls into just about every category at my gym.

    I also notice a couple of the “overweights” at my gym and they are fun to watch. They don’t run fast or lift heavy weights but boy they make you want to push it a little harder. It can’t be easy going to a gym knowing that somebody is probably always looking but they keep pushing. I almost wish that the gym was 80% “overweights”.

    Comment by David Dierking — February 18, 2010 @ 15:39

  24. […] So before I get into talking about my tempo I want to say I’m so glad that you guys liked my Gym Crazies post.  Again, I want to reiterate that the people I described were *stereotypes* so I know that […]

    Pingback by Self-Doubt « MarathonMaiden's Blog — February 18, 2010 @ 16:19

  25. OMG I love this post – so freaking TRUE though!!! Ughh…seriously there’s one chick who comes in with makeup on and short shorts and perfect hair…it’s a gym! And then there’s the old folks…oh my LORD – if I ever try to change a TV station from the news or poker (POKER!!?? really) or the weather channel (grrr) – they flip out!

    Comment by eatmovelove — February 18, 2010 @ 21:26

  26. haha I LOVE this! It’s so true and slightly hysterical. Last week I saw a woman out running, with bright red lipstick on. It was 6am. WTF lady? Cracks me up!

    Comment by runningfiance — February 18, 2010 @ 23:25

  27. I obviously love this post since I’ve recently witnessed some crazy at my gym!

    LOL @ The Creepers!

    Comment by runeatdatesleep — February 19, 2010 @ 00:14

  28. […] For some reason, even though lots of you praised me for being able to handle 2 hours yesterday, the time doesn’t really pass that slowly and it’s not really that boring. I guess I can entertain myself and I have exciting thoughts to think about.  I don’t have an ipod so music is out.  I can “watch” tv but I don’t have sound.  And I absolutely cannot read while working out.  It just doesn’t workout nicely for me. So it’s just me and my thoughts.  And the occasional people watching […]

    Pingback by Lady GaGa Hour « MarathonMaiden's Blog — March 31, 2010 @ 20:41

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