It’s a jungle out there.
I’m not sure why this jungle has a shark in it, but that’s neither here nor there.
If you’re getting ready to navigate the dangerous world of commercial gyms, I feel your pain. As a member of the Nerd Fitness Rebellion, it’s often difficult to infiltrate the empire and work out properly in one (don’t worry, I have you covered there).
Today, I wanted to take a comical look at the different types of species you’ll tend to encounter in a gym, how to identify them, and how to evolve depending on your classification. I’ll be borrowing the style from a guest post I wrote on The Art of Manliness back in the day, because that was too much fun.
WARNING: you will want to act like you’re on a safari next time you’re in the gym after reading this.
Feel free to do your best Crocodile Hunter impersonation while reading along, because that’s what I did while writing it.
Let’s go hunting!
(Not literally. That’s illegal.)
Ellipticus Ad Infitinitum
Habitat: The cardio section of the gym, and nowhere else!
General characteristics - Easy to spot, the Ellipticus Ad Infitinitum have the biggest numbers and can be found EVERYWHERE. Typical characteristics include wearing the newest, neatest workout clothes and the latest style in sneakers. These individuals choose to live like hamsters (right Vic?) rather than enjoying nature, so they spend hours upon hours on a treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical. They are often watching TV, reading a book, or talking on their cell phone while performing one of the previously mentioned activities.
The Ellipticus Ad Infitinitum tend to look the least happy and the most bored at what they’re doing, and yet spend more time doing it than anybody else. A large majority of Ellipticus Ad Infitinitum go home from their “workout” and stuff their faces with unhealthy nutrition or high calorie beverages as a reward, unfortunately undoing all of the work they just did and more.
Steps for evolution - Thes Ellipticus Ad Infitinitum would do well to explore the rest of the gym, namely the free weights section! Hours of cardio won’t produce the type of body they are looking for. It needs to be a combination of strength training (preferably circuits if the goal is weight loss) and healthy eating. If they happen to ENJOY running, it’s important for them to do it properly to stay healthy and safe…you guessed it, running combined with strength training and healthy eating.
Habitat: The mats section of the gym for at least 45 minutes every day.
General characteristics - Never seen without an ab roller, weight to hold while doing side bends, or some other “ab sculpting” tool, the Wherism My’Absicus species spends a strong majority of its time in the gym desperately trying to sculpt abs that they can’t really see quite yet. Unfortunately, this species doesn’t realize that no amount of ab work will actually make their abs pop out – 1000 sit ups a day will result in no changes unless the body has a low enough body fat percentage to remove the layer of fat covering the muscle.
Steps for evolution - These individuals can evolve by focusing on CLEAN EATING, heavy lifting, and sprinting. It’s how Saint evolved from a Wherism MY Abicus into a RAH monster (he can explain that to you). Believe it or not, squats, deadlifts, pull ups, and chin ups do wonders for your abs. If direct ab work is required (when you have sub 10% body fat, dudes – or sub 17% body fat, ladies), then the emphasis should be on full-range movements: things like planks or hanging knee tucks.
Habitat: The free weights and weight machine section…or anywhere with a mirror
General characteristics – The MeatHeanderthal is a semi-advanced species with knowledge of its surroundings. However, they use their surroundings for two main goals – to either get strong as Hell and/or big as hell. Ultimately, they want to be really really ridiculously good looking. For that reason, the glamor muscles are emphasized above all else: chest, biceps, and calves – not just to attract potential mates, but also to compare against other MeatHeanderthals. Leg work consists of things like machine leg presses, leg lifts, and hamstring curls.
You’ll tend to find MeatHeanderthals using the squat rack for hours at a time, but it’s usually just for bicep curls; also, they will perform 5-6 different exercises with multiple sets for each of the aforementioned targeted muscles.
Most meatheanderthal conversations begin with something like, “hey bro can you spot me on my bench” and terms like “ripped” “shredded” and “swole” are commonplace.
Steps for evolution -With all of the effort focused on glamor muscles with isolation exercises, imbalances and ultimately injuries are bound to occur should a MeatHeanderthal have to actually perform functional strength movements under duress. I have absolutely no problem with their overarching goal – looking good naked should be on everybody’s to-do list. However, it can be done in a way where the body is built safely, with functional, happy joints and muscles. Big movements that recruit muscles from different groups (yup, you guessed it – squats, deadlifts, pull ups, chin ups, overhead presses, and inverted rows) help build a balanced body. Throw in some sprints, dynamic stretching, and functional training combined with some ending isolation work will build the evolved figure they’re after.
Public service announcement: Speaking of squats, I struggle every day in the gym while watching people doing a “squat” but only dropping down an inch or two and calling it a full repetition. If they were squatting properly, the tops of their thighs would be parallel to floor or LOWER at the bottom of their movement. The more you know…
Habitat: Random isolated corners of the gym, free weights section, and/or the bathroom (puking their guts out or bandaging their legs/hands).
General characteristics – Generally alone, but often in pairs, the Crossfitteri (plural) speak in a language that nobody outside of Crossfit can understand For example, if you approach a Crossfitterus, do so with caution: he or she is in the middle of “WOD” (possibly “RX’d”) and he/she might be on the verge of passing out and/or puking blood to try and beat a previous record on “Fran.”
I swear that sentence makes sense.
If you encounter a crossfitterus in the wild (probably doing a kipping pull up), be careful! There will be a kettlebell somewhere nearby ready to be swung violently. Some of the most intense, competitive, masochistic, and aggressive animals in the wild, crossfitteri take pleasure in the fact that they push their bodies to the utmost limit on a daily basis in various ways, often at the expense of their own sanity, bodily fluids, joints, and personal well-being.
Steps for evolution – For elite members of the crossfitterus species, evolution can come from the tutelage of a coach that specializes in program design – often the criticisms of crossfit revolve around the lack of true structure. A proper program and instruction will keep this animal safe, healthy, injury free, and not burned out.
If you don’t hear from me again, it’s because I was mauled by a crossfitterus disciple for writing this. Pray for Mojo.
Habitat: the weight machines…kinda…and the ellipticals…kinda…and the treadmill…kinda.
General characteristics – The Nofreaking Clueicus are easy to spot, as they always have a “deer in the headlights” look on their faces. They have taken their first steps towards a better life by signing up for a gym membership, but their brains haven’t evolved yet to understand how to properly take advantage of these surroundings. For that reason, these animals tend never to stray too far from their safe zone: the weight machines or treadmills, because those functions require little to no thought.
You’ll find the Nofreaking Clueicuses often wandering alone, like sheep without a shepherd, trying out each and every weight machine in a gym for a total of 10 repetitions (no more, no less) before walking aimlessly on to the next machine…which has been arbitrarily selected because it doesn’t look scary. Rarely is a sweat broken by a Nofreaking Clueicus, but a “workout” has been completed. Not really though.
Steps for evolution – The Nofreaking Clueicuses need to elevate their brainpower by spending a little time exercising their minds before exercising their body. They need to learn that machines should NEVER be used for weight training, that spending a few hours online doing research on how to NOT SUCK at working out will make their lives more fulfilling and their precious time spent in the gym more efficient.
Here at Nerd Fitness, we aim to assist as many NoFreaking Clueicus as possible, educating and nurturing them before re-assimilating them back into the wild as an evolved super-species…
Nerdium Fitticus Rebellionaire
Habitat: The free weights section, empty corners of the gym, or outside.
General characteristics – The rarest of all the breeds – for they are difficult to find in a gym! For the strain of this species that CAN be found in the gym, they are most always alone and unassuming, dressed in funny shoes like Vibrams, wearing old t-shirts with video game characters on them (or bulletproof ones), ripped shorts, tall socks, and/or disheveled hair. They might even smell funny. A Nerdium Fitticus Rebellionaire can be found in the squat rack doing things like…squats…ACTUAL squats…. or activities like jumping rope, pull up progressions, or work towards full push ups.
Although the Nerdium Fitticus Rebellionaire in your gym might not be the strongest, biggest, leanest, or most athletic person in the gym…you’ll notice one thing that you might not find with any other species in a commercial gym over a long period of time – they are constantly evolving!
Another unique characteristic you’ll find amongst the Nerdium Fitticus Rebellionaire is that the females will be spotted in the free weights section, training in the same way alongside their male counterparts – with heavy weights and functional movements! These animals understand the benefits associated with heavy weight training. Where the Ellipticus Ad Infitinitum and NoFreaking Clueicus might avoid the free weights all together (or opt for weight machines or…ugh…pink dumbbells), a female Nerdium Fitticus Rebellionaire will jump right into weight training, for she knows this is how to create a body to be proud of.
Steps for evolution – The biggest issue relating to the survival of the Nerdium Fitticus Rebellionaire is mental – many members of this species are often far too shy or self conscious to train with others around, and thus often avoid doing any training of any sort! However, once they realize that every other species is equally self-conscious and far too concerned about themselves to care, they can begin their evolutionary process and level up their lives.
Aw, crikey – there you have it!
Hopefully I didn’t offend anybody – clearly this was all meant in good fun.
Anyways, hopefully you learned a little something and are already working on how you can evolve TODAY.
What sort of changes would you make?
What species did I leave out?