For the average Joe, joining a local health club is kind of like buying a four-door sedan: Sooner or later you reach that point in life where it just makes the most sense.
Maybe you don't have the room in that one bedroom apartment to be setting up a weight bench, or maybe your better half is tired of tripping over the rusty plates piled up in your basement.
And we don't have to talk about the half-assembled, mail order contraption that's slowly decaying under your bed.
The fact of the matter is you've ended up "going to the gym," which means you can show up, use someone else's equipment, suck down an eight dollar smoothie and call it a day.
Pretty simple, no?
Unfortunately any endeavor that requires you to share your personal space with the general public puts your safety at risk. And at no place is it in greater jeopardy than a warehouse full of heavy metal.
And the douchebags who populate it.
Aye, there are so many to choose from, but I've made a concerted effort to narrow it down to the five biggest. Do you recognize any of them? Spend more than a week at your local health club and you're likely to see this entire list.
With that in mind, I present to you the five biggest douchebags at your local health club.
#5: Sweaty Van Halen
I don't know about you, but my local health club is so cold that Walt Disney has become a lifetime member. Of course that hasn't stopped Sweaty Van Halen from leaking at the pores and leaving his trail across the gym floor like a hairy snail in a pit-stained pocket tee.
It's not the sweat that earns him the key to Douche City, it's the half-hearted attempt to "wipe down" the equipment after he's done greasing it. News flash Mr. Van Halen, that petrified towel that's been slow-roasting in your musty gym bag does nothing but push the sweat from one side of the vinyl seat to the other.
Sure, every gym has a complimentary bottle of "sanitizer" to hose down the equipment, but that's like getting one of those little wet wipes at the BBQ rib joint. Your hands may look and smell clean, but make a fist and your skin is still nice and sticky.
Thanks but no thanks.
#4: Noisy, Idaho
No matter where your health club is located geographically, you can always count on running into some douchebags from Noisy, Idaho.
Not only will they let you know they're on the scene, they're also going to make sure you know just how hard they're working. Noisy is actually big enough to be divided into two locations, North and South.
Douchebags from North Noisy will give you the "flat tire."
Does this sound familiar? "Ready, 3, 2, 1 lift!" followed by "HUNH! ... ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss ... HUNH! ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss ..."
Not to be outdone, douchebags from South Noisy have their own battle cry, which I refer to as the "Texas Health Club Massacre." This one can be heard inside the sauna on the third floor because dammit, you're going to know these cats are dealing with some heavy-ass weight.
"C'mon, C'mon, you got it, you got it, lift! HUNH-ARGH-RAHRRRRRRRR-EEEEEEEMP-RAWLRRRRRRRRRRR ... YAH!"
It's only natural to make noise when dealing with heavy weight, but if I'm in the parking lot blasting AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" and I can still hear you, chances are you're being a douchebag.
#3: Some Assembly Required
You would think that $5.2 million dollar upgrade your local health club just invested in would be enough for some douchebags but no, they're going to show you just how groundbreaking and innovative their routine can be.
After all, why settle for standard bench-presses when you can anchor the bar with a San Diego Jam Knot using a neon resistance band to, you know, get that extra torque. Just be sure to hide behind the squat rack when this hero decides to dismount.
Assemblymen (and women, sorry gals) have also been know to attach 45-pound plates to the high/low pulley to maximize the whopping two reps they do with a cable crunch or even worse, roll the swiss ball into the free weight area to get those incline presses done right.
When these douchebags aren't assembling the equipment, they're usually assembling themselves. I don't pretend to be the gym's strongest cat, but I'm pretty sure you don't need leather gloves, wrist straps and two pounds of chalk to bang out a dozen shrugs using 40-pound dumbbells.
That's assuming you can even see them after tripping over their 40-kilo
suitcase gym bag they have double-parked next to the incline bench so they can have easy access to their "equipment."
#2: The Alchemist
If you're lifting for size or performance, it's probably in your best interest to make sure you get a good helping of protein pre and post-workout. That's all the excuse the alchemist needs to bring his portable chemistry set to your local health club.
Thanks, but I like to work out in shorts and a t-shirt, not a lab coat.
These douchebags need to fuel their 15-inch guns, and that can't be done with bicep curls alone. Oh no, they need to scoop, measure and pour their way to success before and after every workout. But does it have to be in the locker room amidst the smell of sweatsocks and swamp-ass?
Unless you're driving 90 minutes to get to the gym or have a serious vitamin deficiency, leave the tub of mystery powder at home. And no disrespect to Mother Russia, but I'm not sure it's a good idea to be drinking any kind of "muscle builder" where the company logo is a blood-stained hammer and sickle.
While we're on the topic of liquid consumption, can we scale back on the size of the water bottles? Plenty of H2O is always a good thing, but for the hour or so you're at the gym I don't think you need a drink that has its own undertow.
#1: Swollen Powell
Welcome to the world of inflatable egos and inflatable anatomy. Treadmill? Stairmaster? Puny human, don't be such a wuss! Swollen Powell doesn't have time for such trivial pursuits as cardiovascular fitness, it's all about the numbers.
Like, gee, how many days before his heart explodes?
This douchebag is the master of hostile takeovers. See that bench over there? I hope you don't plan on using it for the next three days because that's where Mr. Powell will set up shop for his "heavy day."
We're all familiar with his "heavy day." That's when you walk in, usually behind schedule, and want to knock out a few leg presses -- but are so exhausted from unloading the bar you're too pooped to complete the actual exercise.
You can thank ol' Swollen for that, as he needed 940-pounds to crank out his two, one-rep sets that usually involves lowering the weight about four inches, turning beet red, then clasping his kneecaps (presumably to keep them from exploding) as he grunts his way to completion.
He's also been known to
launch drop 120-pound dumbbells after every set, because as we all know, when you're trying to develop your body, it's much more important to bring every supporting muscle into play rather than isolate/target specific areas.
That explains his early onset of I.L.S. (Imaginary Lat Syndrome). You're strong, we get it. You can put your arms down.
To cap off his douchebaggery, Swollen Powell can be seen wearing an old sweater with the sleeves cut off, a faded bandanna, knee and elbow wraps and of course, a leather belt that looks eerily reminiscent of the strap used to keep Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt grounded in the final moments of "Twister."
There you have it, my list of top five biggest douchebags at your local health club.
Danger Rick: He runs backwards on the treadmill, texts during squats and goes heavy without a spotter. Avoid at all costs!
Wardrobe malfunction: Overalls and steel-toe boots? Seriously?
Walkie-Talkie: Also known as "headphone blindness," due to his inability to see you're in the zone and all alone, this douchebag will do anything to make conversation, including a trip to your house three days after you went to the gym. "Hey bro, you still using that Smith machine?"
Conrad Shitty: Most people shower after their workout, but this douchebag smells so bad he needs one beforehand. And by "shower" I mean "tied to a utility pole and hit with a fire hose."
Roaming charges: If you're looking for that other kettlebell, try the obvious places, like behind a pile of trash bags in the janitor's closet or under the sink at the juice bar. I'm not sure how these things disappear, but it's only when you need them the most.
So how about it? If you've been to your local health club, you've battled a douchebag at one point or another. Which one irks you the most?
If you don't see him/her here, let's have your pick in the comments section below.