No one human is alike, and this is remains true when we step foot into a gym. All the possibilities to be had for workout drills, clothing choices, and protein shakes end up resulting in a huge melting pot of personalities to dissect. In just one quick glance, you can easily tell the college has-beens from the business professionals and the tomboys from the primadonnas. Sure, sure, everyone knows that the gym isn’t about what you wear but how you work out. But you know you’d be lying to yourself if you didn’t put some thought into what you wore out or judged someone for something they put on just to hit the treadmill. There’s quite an array of characters you’re going to run into at the gym, and the majority of the time you’ll be able to peg their personality on their threads alone. Whether they’re sporting a neon headband or the latest pair of Yeezys, there are only a handful of niches for them to fill.
1. The Greek
Outfit: Oversized, neon fraternity tank. Black cropped leggings from lululemon or Nike. Neon shoes. Plastic thermos with a Vineyard Vines sticker. Philanthropy fanny pack. Outfit Vibe: Always down to socialize with their brothers and sisters or relive the glory days. You’ve seen these guys and girls at least once exercising at your local gym. They’ll come in flashing their letters and muscle tees all while taking the elliptical more seriously than their five-year plan. Flocking to the gym in a moderately sized herd, the girls typically can be found attending their favorite yoga class before Monday night’s chapter meeting. Their shirts hardly seem worn and somehow continue to get brighter every week. The messier the hair and the higher the bun, the older they are. There’s also another type of Greek that isn’t often discussed but can be found at almost any gym on a weeknight. They’re known as The Alumna. This person is someone who can’t let go of the good ol’ glory days. They’ll be representing their faded Greek tank in hopes that they’ll be mistaken for a current member. And yes, the amount of frat tanks directly correlates to how many different “visits” they took. They’re not people you should feel bad for though—they’re proud of their accomplishments and all of the humanitarian accomplishments they made in and around their rec center.
2. The Tomboy
Outfit: Tank top. Baggy shorts. High socks. Black sneakers. Outfit Vibe: Don’t mess with her. Backwards baseball cap, baggy shorts, and a surprising knack for climbing trees—the stereotypes for tomboys have been around for years. But there’s no denying it, these women can be very intimidating at the gym. They’re not to be messed with because they’re there to get a job done. Typically sporting no-nonsense attire, their aptitude for all things physical puts a lot of men to shame. And girl push-ups? Yeah, they’re not even touching those. Tomboys don’t have to be ‘roided out either—it’s more their attitude than anything else that really sets them apart from the other gym-goers. You can easily tell who the girls are that find themselves in their element as they walk through the gym door. They’ve used the machines and mats a thousand times and have the worn kicks to prove it. Tomboys are typically easygoing, but make sure to give them the respect that they rightfully deserve.
3. The Macho Man
Outfit: Muscle tee. Short shorts. Blender bottle. Outfit Vibe: You’ll be crushed if you step in his way. Taking his time very seriously at the gym, this guy will definitely be walking in with a protein bottle in hand. Lugging a huge duffle bag with lifting gloves peeking out, bodybuilder type men are the easiest to spot. It’s not so much the attire they choose but their physical appearance as a whole. Their muscles are larger than life, and the groans they let loose while they lift border on mildly disturbing. Some people even refer to these guys as the “nudists” due to their affinity for constantly being shirtless while they workout. Whether it’s more comfortable or just another way to show off remains to be determined. When you see one of these characters, you’re not far off if you assume that his personality is commanding, to be polite. He’s used to sticking out in a crowd, and he embraces it. Why wouldn’t he, when he’s clocking so many hours at the gym? It takes a lot of discipline and diligence to sculpt your body into that chiseled form, so cut him some slack when he decides to strut around.
4. The Athlete
Outfit: Nike Dri-Fit gear. Apple Watch. Custom arch shoes. Outfit Vibe: They’re about to get down to business. Athletes are distinct: They’re in impeccable shape and have a no-nonsense air about themselves. You can tell that they know exactly what they’re doing, whether it’s a lunge or pull up. When you’re jogging and let your eyes creep over to the athlete to your right, you can almost feel your spine straighten as you observe their form. Their focus and acumen for excellence is palpable and gives you serious goals. Their gear isn’t an exception. Sure, they like being on trend, but they’re more concerned about the durability and performance level of the product. Any sort of combination product is key and the more versatile, the better. It’s unlikely you’ll see them repeat an outfit anytime soon—they have more pullovers and race shirts than you have socks. Athletes are typically judged as being snobby, but it’s rightfully earned. They’ve sunk time and money into excelling at their chosen craft and refuse to be sidetracked when they’re working on achieving a new record. Just like perfectionists in other areas of life, the gym athlete is very motivated and goal-oriented. If you ever find yourself in the market for some new cross-training gear, your best bet would be to hit up this group of people for their expert opinion.
5. Dazed And Confused
Outfit: Sweatpants or boxy shorts. Worn out t-shirt. Beat up sneakers. Water bottle that leaks. Outfit Vibe: They clearly have no idea what they’re doing Anyone who takes up a new hobby has experienced that moment of anxiety when you’re a bit unsure about what to expect. Unfortunately for a workout newbie, it’s very apparent when they don’t know the ropes. First of all, the workouts they select are very telling. (Pro tip: setting your resistance to zero on an elliptical gets you nowhere fast.) But what really makes them stick out is their wardrobe. This isn’t to say that everyone needs to attend their workouts looking primped as can be (we’ll get to this person later), but there should at least be some sort of thought behind the process of when choosing your gym attire. After all, no one likes getting the hem of their pants caught in the elliptical. These poor, confused souls will typically wear something that’s less than effective for comfort and ease. The materials they sport are typically too warm and overly baggy. They know that having enough mobility is key, but this is usually taken to an unnatural extreme. But the best part is their personalities. They exude tepidness, not fully engaged in the task at hand. In the hopes that they’ll be able to pick up pointers from other gym-goers, they can be overly friendly. This is, of course, a big no-no. People working out are in a zone—they don’t want to take time out of their routine to coach newbs on the finer points of the treadmill. (Pro-tip: bring a friend if you’re new.) These dazed gym-goers will either fizzle out after a week or end up conquering their awkwardness. As they do, you’ll watch their style evolve into something of a more polished and self-assured individual. It’s literally survival of the fittest.
6. Perfectly Polished
Outfit: Matching pants and top. Complementary headgear. Eco-friendly water bottle. Outfit Vibe: They have their life together in every way you can imagine. Someone in full matching gear at the gym is a sight to behold. They’re always on trend and their tops and bottoms complement one another perfectly. Whether their hair is pulled back into a tight pony or they’re wearing a baseball cap just slightly off-kilter, everything is very intentional. Even the amount of sweat they exude seems carefully calculated. They’re the type of person that makes you feel bad when you show up in your worn out shoes and unflattering tank. They may very well be the reason why you’re now sporting a vest to the gym instead of your trusty hoodie. You can already guess that their personality screams Type A—they have full command over their life. At first it may appear that they’re going strictly for fashion, but that’s not the case. They just enjoy looking put together and giving their best in every aspect of life.
7. The Serial Dater
Outfit: Black leggings or Nike basketball shorts. Lululemon tank or muscle tee. Ankle socks. Black cross-training Nikes. For guys, it’s Nike basketball shorts, muscle tee, socks that hit the calves, and dark kicks. Outfit Vibe: They’re on the prowl for love. Everyone has that one friend that’s constantly on the search for love. Whether they’re at the grocery store or gym, they make sure to put their best face forward because, hey, you never know when you’re going to meet your soul mate. These type of people who are always looking for their next relationship—at the gym, no less—are an interesting breed. Just throwing something on for a quick workout is never a viable option. The outfits of choice need to have just the right amount of “oomph” to leave a lasting impression. Plus, their form is always on point. They make sure to avoid looking like a fool at all costs. There are multiple personalities that an attractive, put together person may have. Unfortunately, there’s the likely chance that they’re over-eager.
8. The Overworked
Outfit: Wrinkled Target shorts. Well-worn t-shirt. Mismatched socks. Messy hair. iPod shuffle. Outfit Vibe: Hyper alert and in desperate need of stress relief . It’s pretty easy to tell the stressed from the relaxed at the gym. You almost find yourself involuntarily tensing up when their frantic energy makes its way into your space. Even if you were to close your eyes you can hear their rapid breaths as they try to get more zen. First key is when they come rushing in with a duffel bag that’s bursting with clothes. Then they beeline it to their go-to machine where they frantically burn as many calories as possible in 30 minutes. Lastly, there’s the mad dash back to the locker room where a quick rinse is sometimes ignored. Sure, fashion isn’t the first thing on their mind, but they are a business professional, after all. Their style is no-nonsense and can easily be paired with each another. It withstands multiple wears before it becomes limps and somehow never smells. These people are more likely to engage in interval training and give the gym everything they have. Their personalities are fiery and serious. There’s no time for nonsense when the gym is the only luxury they afford into their busy schedule. They expect success, and yes, they will achieve it as well.
9. The Socialite
Outfit: Anything trendy. Outfit Vibe: These people are meant to be seen, both on and off screen. Everyone has that friend who knows the Instagram filters in alphabetical order and snaps anything and everything. If it’s not captured on their phone, did it ever really happen? This same mentality goes for the gym. They’ve been known to “check-in” for some cardio time and are the rulers of the gym selfie. They typically go for darker clothes, trying to draw away from the fact that they’re glued to their phone in between reps. Their fashion sense is understated, but that doesn’t mean their personality is. Going to the gym is just one of the highlights of their day and they love being surrounded by all the bustling activity. Beware of making eye contact. They’re dying to chat and engage, going on about just how many times they’ve been there this week. They’re also itching to spill their latest dating story because, why not? Of course everyone wants to listen to what they have to say, right? Even though the socialite may get a little obnoxious, they grow on you. They truly mean well and just have a love for socializing and being seen. In moderation, they can make a great workout partner.
10. The Hippie
Outfit: Tie-dye shirt. Well-worn shorts. Chacos. Outfit Vibe: You can almost smell the incense wafting off them, throwing you into an involuntary downward dog. There’s nothing worse than stretching out next to a person who uses “natural” deodorant. No one enjoys the mix of sweat and B.O. But in order to ensure that you’re not the unfortunate one who posts up next to them, just keep your eyes peeled for someone who looks like they have a stash of vegan yoga mats in their car. They’re generally pretty unoffensive and you can tell from their fluid gym moves that they’re in a permanently relaxed state. They typically flock towards the core station, so if you end up seeing a free spirit, just be warned that it may not end in the most pleasant of experiences. However, they will always be willing to give you a lending hand and explain to you how a deeper stretch can be reached at the end of a fitness cycle.