There’s a Plague Upon All Our Houses’ Gyms

Help! The gyms are infested with rats!

By Blake Bush

I’m going to level with you, I’m not muscular. Matter of fact, I never have been. Despite this, I still try to work out when I can, but early on I learned that someone like me wasn’t welcome at a gym.

That’s not entirely true: I’m welcome at gyms between the hours of 1-2 a.m. when nobody’s there. You may be wondering, “Why just between one and two? Wouldn’t going even later be better?” Well, in a perfect world, yes. In our world, however, borderline sociopaths show up to the gym at 3:00a.m. Ignore the fact that at one point I was also there to witness it, that isn’t important. What is important is the reason I have to wait until the witching hour to get any sort of physical activity: the gym rats.

Gym rats, or “people” if you happen to be one, are the bane of any casual gym-goer’s existence. If you walk into Ultimate Goals Fitness at any time before sundown you can see multiple groups of shirtless muscular men ogling themselves in the mirrors that adorn the walls. Despite how ridiculously narcissistic this scene appears, these men would brutalize you for even thinking that. Oh, but don’t worry, I have nothing to fear by publishing this article: the only media they consume are sports highlights and the Joe Rogan podcast–I’m perfectly safe.

“Wow, that’s a bold stance for this article to take so early on.” “Aren’t you being a bit harsh?” No, no I am not. These people are the catfish suckling at the bottom of the gym pond. They consume pre-workout and Bang energy drinks like it’s the only high they can feel since their wives left. Don’t think my malice comes from somewhere unfounded; these people I’m talking about are downright terrible. These types never wipe down the machine that they just used, which sounds innocent enough until you realize that they’re all shirtless. What’s worse is that they take over entire gyms like a plague. The gym I go to is small, sure, but somehow one group of gym rats monopolizes all four rooms.

Now, while these problems are all surface level, the real problems come down to how they behave around other people. For some reason, presumably because all those muscles draw the blood away from their brains, they never speak. The only communication a normal person would understand is their strange sign language. I call it GSL (Gym Bro sign language). A point, thumbs up, or shrug is all you’re liable to get if you ask a question, mostly because these guys are too busy blasting Seether or Guns N’ Roses at top volume to hear you. The other form of communication is screaming. Lots of screaming. Inordinate amounts, really. It’s gotten so bad that my gym put up a sign stating, “Screaming out during your workout is not necessary.” Well, no matter how obvious the signage, these chalk-caked, He-man wannabes still scream like they just saw the grim reaper do an ollie on his scythe when they do almost anything. It doesn’t matter if it’s free weight, machine, arms, legs, or otherwise. These muscle-bound banshees are going to make you void your bowels and move to Malaysia if you aren’t expecting their intense screams.

“Blake, aren’t these insane metaphors a little much to describe a very normal stereotype?” No.

Well, maybe. I hope they at least express a fraction of the disdain I feel for the plague of rats that has forced the gym peasants to seek refuge in the wee hours of the morning. Maybe someday I’ll be able to work out in the light, but until the rats are quelled, I am unfortunately left waiting on the exterminator.