The Five People You Meet in the Gym

Stereotyping the most extreme modern health nuts living at the intersection of social media and fitness

Pursuing fitness and health is definitely a good thing, a great one as far as we’re concerned. But it can tend to attract a certain personality type, a bit of a narcissist if you will. And nowhere is self-obsession and self-congratulation more ubiquitous than on social media. So it’s no surprise that the point where the two meet is cluttered with caricatures of humanity, people so oblivious and vapid it’s legitimate to wonder if they have any thoughts at all, or if they’re just roaming collections of exercise pseudo-advice and viral health gibberish, communicated only through brightly-lit six-inch screens.

Here are five of the most common types you’ll encounter if you join, or even observe, the social media fitness community. These are for entertainment purposes only – they are cartoonish abstractions and certainly not representative of actual people. Unless you don’t see any problem with this sort of behavior, then yeah, it’s probably about you.

The Physical Specimen Facebook Humblebragger
Makes every status about working out and takes pics during every trip to the gym. Posts every run time and distance and includes the time of day whenever exercising particularly early or late – doesn’t even need sleep to train constantly! Tells the entire online world about every personal record; still pretends to be surprised by own level of fitness: “Even though I was suuupppper not motivated today, I dragged myself in for one more seven-hour session at Exclusive Fitness Studio 24/7 Burn Club and forced my way through 437 pull-ups – BEST EVER!!!” Only gets likes from gung-ho workout partner.

The Exercise Model Instagram Oversharer
Treats every trip to the fitness center as an opportunity for an impromptu photo shoot; basically thinks of social media as a DIY True Life documentary about exercise. Ponders which filter will properly display the grittiness of post-workout face without losing ab definition. Has 4,000 barely clothed selfies in bathroom mirror, 2,000 more in bedroom mirror, and is lifting shirt while standing near barbell rack in profile pic – taken in gym mirror. Has photos of the lake at sunset from cycling. Has photos of the front of the gym sign late at night. Has photos of new training shoes and shorts. Has a photo of every single post-training shake and meal since 2005, each one the exact same. No photos of actually working out.

The Health-Loving Twitter Hashtagger
Doesn’t like fitness #LovesIt – Has all social media accounts linked in every way possible #SyncedUp – Adds at least three hashtags to every post, always loosely related to health and fitness #CantStopWontStop #Grindin #LiveWell – Follows trending hashtags online to piggyback on more popular conversations #EatClean #GetStrong #HealthyLiving #HeathBar – Sometimes makes a mistake and misses a letter #Whoops #FatThumbs #LeanBody – Actually speaks in hashtags during conversation now, assumes people think it’s clever #TheyDont #NoSelfAwareness – Doesn’t understand why no one will be workout partner #ShouldStopPleaseStop

The Aspirational Pinterest Almost-Health Nut
Spends all day searching for exercise tips – “10 Steps to a Better Butt,” “30 Days to a Toned Body,” “12 Killer Moves for Arms to Die For.” Always pinning healthy recipes – “Quinoa Squash Avocado Salad with Guilt-Free Balsamic,” “Homemade Snacks with less than 43.5 Calories,” “The Ultimate Guide to Wild-Grown Native Berries.” Constantly sharing inspirational fitness-related quotations – “What happened yesterday no longer matters. Get back on the treadmill;” “Every great body starts with the first squat-thrust;” “It hurts now but one day it will be your warm-up.” Keeps getting distracted by Modern Family reruns on USA Network; hasn’t quite warmed up yet.

The LinkedIn Fitness Expert
Shares fascinating, thought-provoking research from around the health industry. Updates network with well-written, interactive and intelligent blog posts from own website about exercise science. Scours the web for more information to continue learning about emerging trends and techniques. Composes reasonable and helpful comments to updates from other connections. Doesn’t realize LinkedIn is only intended to be a self-promotional echo chamber.