Strange Things are Afoot at the Circle K*

* And by Circle K, I mean the gym. I know, it’s not super accurate — but I couldn’t resist the temptation to use one of my favorite quotes from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

Anyways, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve seen some really weird stuff in my years of gym-going.

Some of the most bewildering things have happened in the locker room, because this is a place where people feel it’s completely acceptable to parade around butt nekkid in front of strangers. Call me old-fashioned, but this creeps me out.

The worst case of this happened when I was working as a lifeguard during grad school. My usual routine was to hit the gym before my shift and then change into my pool gear in the fitness center locker room, but this became increasingly untenable. Why, you ask? Because and every day, without fail, there was a patron who’d prance around said locker room wearing only a leopard-print thong and clear lucite heels. She’d do her hair and make-up in this get-up, and would strike pouty supermodel poses in the mirror while doing so.

Not only was this bizarre and incredibly awkward, but I also I began to question my own perception of reality. Had I somehow wound up in the back room of a strip club instead of the locker room of the fitness center? Was I losing my mind?

Thankfully, I’ve had a gym in my apartment building for the last 4 years — so I’ve been able to avoid the dreaded locker room weirdness. In recent years, though, I’ve started to realize that apartment gyms have their own weird cast of characters. Behold, the following cases in point:

  • The dude who wears street clothes — and not just any street clothes, but jeans and a button down shirt under a sweater — as his workout attire. How is this not incredibly uncomfortable? I mean, I sweat like a wildebeest when I work out in shorts and a t-shirt, so I can’t imagine how he doesn’t feel like he’s suffocating under multiple layers of regular clothes as he huffs and puffs on the treadmill.
  • The chick who wears a full face of make-up for her workout. Maybe it’s because I have sensitive, zit-prone skin that practically looks for an excuse to break out, but my only discernible thought when I see women schvitzing through their copious foundation is HOLY ZIT INCUBATION, BATMAN. Bacteria! Sweat! Clogged pores! Complexion devastation! Whhhhyyyyyyy?
  • The dude who gets on the bike and pedals blissfully while drinking three — count ’em, three — big cups of jet-fuel strength black coffee. Now, I love coffee. (Y’know, hence the name of this blog.) But when I can smell someone’s high-octane java from 20 feet away, it’s kind of absurd. I also question the wisdom of drinking coffee while working out: I mean, it’s a diuretic. It dehydrates you like a mofo.ย  I get thirsty — insanely, deliriously thirsty — when I’m at the gym, and the idea of quenching that thirst with a cuppa joe, especially one so strong it could double as propulsion fuel for a rocket, makes my kidneys want to jump out of my body while waving little white flags of surrender.
  • The dude who gets on the elliptical and goes into what can only be described as uber-rabid-beast mode. Simply being in beast mode isn’t enough for him — no, he’s pedaling so fast and hard that the machine is swaying and making horrible noises reminiscent the scene from Titanic when the boat is sinking and breaking in half. Homeslice, I get it: you’re more hardcore than all of Seal Team Six combined. But the machine is showing signs of metal fatigue, and you don’t want to meet your demise at the hands of an elliptical that can’t handle the brute force of your very existence.

I can’t be the only one who sees weird people doing weird things at the gym, right?

It’s storytime, folks: have you ever seen things that made you pull a Scooby-esque “BWWWEH?!” while working out?

17 thoughts on “Strange Things are Afoot at the Circle K*

  1. Jorie October 29, 2013 / 9:47 am

    The guy with the street clothes on baffles me all the time. I think every gym has that dude (it’s almost always a dude). I abhor the thought of doing one squat in my street clothes, let alone squeezing in a 30-minute cardio session followed by free weights. No and thank you, good sir!

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte October 30, 2013 / 6:43 pm

      Precisely! I can barely stand walking home from work in my street clothes, let alone cardio at the gym. No and thank you, indeed!

  2. Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama October 29, 2013 / 10:57 am

    Love this! Everything about it! I’m right with you on the women who wear full Broadway style make-up to the gym or to run. I’m a disgusting, sweaty mess by the end of my workout. There is no way make-up would survive the onslaught! I also get a kick out of the meatheads at the gym who are constantly strutting and preening in front of the mirrors. To see the big dudes checking themselves out is hilarious!

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte October 30, 2013 / 6:39 pm

      Right?! The strutting and preening meatheads are hysterical to watch. I once saw one guy who didn’t take his eyes off himself for the better part of 30 minutes. Did he watch himself as he did his lifting routine? Yes. Did he also watch himself walk across the gym floor to put the weights back? You betcha.

  3. Becky @ Olives n Wine October 29, 2013 / 1:26 pm

    OMG, I’m dying over here. Seriously LOLing in my office.. BAHAHAHHA!!!! There was a guy at my old gym (the one in my condo building back in MPLS) that would seriously try to kill the elliptical machine. I was always like DUDE, you’re not making any progress if you’re not increasing the resistance. Crazy people… And for the makeup…. SO many women do that at my gym. I honestly think they’re just trying to pick up a rich man but seriously, no man is going to want you if you lack so much confidence so you have to wear makeup at the gym (no offense to anyone…) My skin also breaks out by just looking at that!

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte October 30, 2013 / 6:38 pm

      Right?! The people who try to kill the ellipticals boggle my mind. I don’t understand it! Just like you said, there’s this thing called “resistance,” and it really helps when you’re pedaling at light speed and nearly breaking the machine… ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Michelle @ 3cheaprunners October 29, 2013 / 2:58 pm

    I guess I’ll consider myself lucky that I don’t have any stories to share…but these are pretty funny ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Taryn October 29, 2013 / 4:12 pm

    The weirdest thing I’ve ever seen at the gym was in college. There was one girl who would run on the track in flip flops. That’s not the weirdest part though. She ran with her hands behind her back in a praying position. (I hope that description actually paints the right picture for you.) I only saw her there twice, but it was the same both times. So so strange.

    There have been so many times I’ve felt self-conscious at the gym because I basically look like I just rolled out of bed when other girls are all done up. But I could never go to the gym with makeup on.. my skin would break out like crazy too.

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte October 30, 2013 / 6:36 pm

      Whhhaaaaaaaaaaaaat?! Ran with her hands behind her back in a praying position?! That’s unbelievably weird! Was she training to be the next Houdini, and needed to train herself to run with her hands tied behind her back? I mean, there’s no logical explanation for that. At. All.

      As for sporting the “Yeah, I pulled my bedhead up into a ponytail” look when all the other girls are all done up, I can completely relate. I figure it makes us far more serious about fitness than the done-up types though, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Charlotte October 29, 2013 / 5:19 pm

    HAHAHA omg i love this. can we all start saying “homeslice” more often please? that needs to come back into modern jargon. the girl who wears the full face of makeup really bugs me. i feel like my face breaks out just from looking at her.

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte October 30, 2013 / 6:31 pm

      Right? My old apartment had a mural on the gym wall which featured, no joke, some chick working out with heavy eye makeup. I wanted to write “WTF?!” all over it, just to make a point.

      Also, I fully support bringing “homeslice” back into the normal lexicon of daily life. It’ll be the best language campaign ever!

  7. Alex @ therunwithin October 29, 2013 / 8:16 pm

    so many. I could do posts like this for days between gym, gym classes, apartment elevator awkwardness, metro watching… like so many

  8. Dana @ The Daily Moderation October 30, 2013 / 11:42 am

    ha! love this. It’s the makeup thing for me. Why…just, why?!! I relate this to people who shower, wash their hair, put on makeup and jewelry before heading to the beach for 8 hours. Just, no.

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte October 30, 2013 / 6:22 pm

      That’s a perfect comparison! Why anyone would get all gussied up to work out or hit the beach is beyond me. I mean, any context involving sweat, sand, or salt water seems like the perfect excuse not to do all that stuff. Hell, I use rain as an excuse not to do my hair — so there’s no way I’d do my whole routine for the beach!

  9. Claire November 4, 2013 / 8:44 am

    I have to reply in shame to this…

    I totally fell off the elliptical because I was trying to sing along to the “Les Mis” episode of Glee. Not enough lung capacity for the high notes.

    Oh, the looks. The LOOKS!

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