The archetypes at the gym class

In case you haven’t heard, exercising is good for you. People who exercise regularly feel better, sleep better, live longer and—thanks to the endorphins the body releases—live happier. If you still don’t believe me check your social media: everybody has a picture with their latest gym outfit and a post about how they are going to work out and how much it makes them happy…

Rain or shine I’ve been working out 3 times a week with a trainer at the private gym in my building. For the past 2 years I have been talking about increasing my workout to add some cardio. Finally, it happened. I joined a public gym for cardio classes and it’s been an enlightening experience.

You know those gyms that have popped up all over with more locations than Starbucks? Well that’s where I decided to explore my new cardio commitment. I am trying all the different classes with all the different teachers in all the different locations. The only thing that doesn’t change is the archetype of the classes offered and the types of people who attend these classes. After observing my fellow exercisers, I have discovered 5 distinctive groups.

I call the first group the pros. The pros will always be in the first row close to the teacher, with no smile and following the teacher as if their life depends on that routine. If they miss a step, the world might stop turning… I am sure they have taken the class for the past 10 years and can easily replace the teacher. The pros are always present in the class, at every location; I don’t know how they do it! (maybe they tele-transport themselves?) While we, the regular people, are about to die at the end of the class, the pros don’t seem to be affected. They are ready for the following class. The pros can be divided into 2 sub-categories: the “sweaters” and the “non-sweaters.” The sweater is soaking wet after class. You can even see a puddle of water around their station. I sweat but I have never seen anything like this in my life. The other group—the non-sweaters—must be aliens because they jump and jump and jump and I don’t see one little drop of sweat. How is it humanly possible? My conclusion: all pros are aliens implanted in classes with the sole purpose of making us doubt ourselves.

The second group is the grasshoppers. You know there is always at least one super-excited person in your class and that’s the grasshopper. When the teacher says turn left the grasshoppers don’t just turn left, they jump their left turn.  They jump so high you might need binoculars to follow them. After jumping 3 times I start seeing stars so I don’t know how they do it. Sometimes looking at them is sufficient to raise my heart rate. Now the grasshoppers are not pros; they never attend the same class. They appear and disappear from classes. You don’t know where they’re from, but I can say they are far more entertaining than the pros.

The desperate housewives are very special, especially in my neighborhood. They are at the gym because everybody else is there and they are bored at home. They meet other members of their tribe and pretend to work out together before going out to have lunch. Their superpower is working out with full make up on, and finishing class with the same look. I look like a mess at the end of each class, face all red, hair all over the place. I think if I had make up on it would melt on my face by the end of the class and stain all the towels. The desperate housewives don’t leave the gym after their gym classes. If you see one sitting on a bike pretending to work out don’t be fooled: they are just killing time until their massage, lunch or happy hour. 

The most entertaining group to watch is the narcissists. Their workout is an excuse to shop and show off. You recognize them from their sexy outfits and fashion-magazine body type. Sometimes their top is so low that I wonder how their boobs don’t come out but then I remember that in most cases their perfect body has been reduced and enhanced by the right doctor to avoid a “wardrobe malfunction.” They stay in the front row, not because they are capable like the pros, but so they can watch themselves workout and take better selfies. Maybe they are your friends who show off that they are the gym for all their Instagram friends.  In the pictures they always have heavy dumbbells, but you can be sure they will work out with none once the camera is off. 

And finally we get to our last group: the uncoordinated.  This group makes me feel bad, especially because sometimes I am one of them. They have no coordination in their moves. If the class goes left, you can be sure they go right. It is hard to watch when they try a dance class. I understand if they are new at the class; but again, they should do like me and stay at the back of the class. Unfortunately, most of them don’t even know they belong to that category. So, you can see them in front of you, ruining the perfect synchronization of the class.  

In French we say “it takes all kinds to make a world” and I think it applies to the gym. Thank God there are so many crazy types at the gym and thank God they are entertaining, because it makes my classes much less painful. By the time I finish identifying and observing them, class is over and I have burned 700 to 1000 calories. I am happy from the rush of endorphins and (most importantly!) because I have earned good food and drink credits.

Who is up for lunch with bubbles?!?

Nathalie Botros