"You need any help with that?"
The gym would be a fantastic place if you were the only person working out at any given time. Imagine—no waiting for machines, no listening to perky musical selections that all sound like Ace of Base circa 1993, and, most importantly, no teeming, sweating, stinking mobs of humanity.
The bad news is that, no matter what you do, you’re unlikely to get any personal space at the gym — even when there are plenty of machines available, it is a law of the universe that some man will choose to work out no fewer than six inches from you.
But there’s good news, too: Even the worst of the invasive man species at the gym can be thwarted with a few special tactics. When you can identify your nemesis in his native habitat and employ the proper repellant, you’ll be able to best control man infestations in your workout space. Here are some of the most common pests and how to deter them:
1. Unsolicited Advice Guy (UAG)
While UAG is the least toxic of the invasive man species, he is among the most common. He likes to peek at your heart rate monitor and offer helpful suggestions as to how you might improve your performance, or offer lengthy critiques about your form with free weights. When confronted with UAG, it’s best to keep a bottle of the antimicrobial spray that gyms keep handy for cleaning machines. Repeatedly squirt the solution at UAG’s face while asking, “Am I doing this correctly? How about now?”
2. Wannabe Motivational Speaker Guy (WMSG)
A close cousin of Unsolicited Advice Guy, WMSG is notable for his spandex shorts and fun-run T-shirts from late last decade. He likes to comment on how your weight loss is progressing, or offer a “Keep it up!” as you lumber along on the treadmill. The best deterrent to WMSG is one that takes dedicated practice, but is well worth including in your man-response repertoire: the dead-eyed, unblinking stare. The stare is best achieved while also baring your incisors.
3. Checking You Out in the Mirror Man (CYOITMM)
CYOITMM is a special type of gym pest that believes he is being sneaky in assessing your rear view by working out directly behind you. If CYOITMM takes an interest in your gym shorts, he will next want to ensure that your face also meets his rigorous male standards. He will go to great craning and stretching lengths to assess your face in the wall mirrors. Repelling CYOITMM is typically as simple as coming prepared with a pair of wax lips from your local party retailer, and popping them in at a well timed moment. You may wish to complete the effect with an affordable and reusable Groucho Marx nose/glasses combo.
4. Dude Who Smells Like He Just Devoured a Raw Onion (DWSLHJDARO)
Among the most pernicious species of gym man is DWSLHJDARO, who is easily spotted by his sleeveless, armpit-airing shirt. Part of his special nature is his lack of awareness of his general surroundings, hence his distinct and nauseating personal odor. As he is immune to both the dead-eyed stare and wax lips, it’s best to approach DWSLHJDARO with a range of scented candles, oil diffusers, and bottles of Febreze. Place an array of these products on the piece of equipment he mounts. He may not take the hint, but at least you’ll be able to overpower his reek.
5. Overly Sexualized Grunter Guy (OSGG)
Your first indication that you are working out near OSGG is likely to be his plumage, typically comprising a significant volume of hair product and Under Armour garments. Confirmation that you are indeed in the presence of an OSGG comes when he utters his mating call: a low, strained, inherently creepy groan that bears no relationship to the difficulty of the fitness task he is performing. Your first instinct may be to reach for the pepper spray, but OSGG quiets down best when you point at him directly and laugh.