In some form or another, I’ve been working out since I got my first Mousercise cassette tape at age four. I went through a Get in Shape Girl phase in the mid-80s, and I was an early adopter of the aerobic step. These days, my fitness routine is a mix of hiking, yoga, and a legitimate gym.
From kettle balls to classes with the word “fusion” in them, gyms have changed quite a bit in the last decade; but the cast of characters has remained the same since the NordicTrack. After some mild recon, I’ve discovered the following species of gym rat:
Minnie Mouse: From her red shoes to her red headband, you can recognize Minnie by the color-coordinated ensemble she purchased over the weekend to inspire her to be more fit. She is often seen hunched over the stair stepper clinging to a Shape magazine. Minnie can only be found in the gym on Mondays.
Mighty Mouse: While it’s clear by the magnitude of his biceps that Mighty has touched every piece of equipment in the place, no one has ever actually witnessed him work out. He spends several hours a day at the gym, but has only ever been seen pacing – presumably, “between sets.”
Three Blind Mice: A row of friends hogging the recumbent bikes who are too engrossed in Keeping up with the Kardashians to realize you’re next on the list.
Stuart Little: Small but mighty, Stuart looks like he could barely spot you, but he hoists 50s like they’re cans of Pringles. He is a Mighty in the making.
Splinter: He lurks in the background of your yoga class as if it’s his first time, but this unassuming savant dramatically transforms from lotus to warrior to a wicked shoulder stand as you cower in downward dog.
Speedy Gonzales: He is running when you get to the gym, and he is running one Zumba class and twenty minutes on the elliptic later when you leave the gym. He is the reason gyms impose a thirty-minute limit on cardio equipment, but no one would dare ask him to leave.
Chuck E. Cheese: Chuck’s gym attendance is directly correlated to his game day/pool party/happy hour/somebody’s birthday pizza and beer consumption. Thus, he is in the gym at least five days a week. So while this makes him appear a fitness connoisseur, do not mistake him for a Mighty Mouse. This gym rat sticks to the slow lane on the treadmill.
Although my water bottle does match my running shoes and I have been known to linger on the leg press, I’ve got a little bit of Chuck E. Cheese in me and I’m not too proud to admit it. But if nothing else, the gym is a great place to people watch thirty to sixty minutes a day three to five days per week. And while our gym schedules range from rigid to erratic, we all are truly creatures of habit. Which breed of gym rat are you?