Which Gym Clique Do You Fit Into?

by Charisse Kenion

While many people detest going to the gym, I love it. I love the feeling of dedicating an hour or two to movement, by myself, with my headphones on. But I’d be remiss not to also mention just how much I love to people-watch while I work out. Over the years I’ve established what I see as the six main gym cliques; of course, thanks to off and online trends, these cliques might morphe and change over time, but they always seem to settle down into the key ones I’ve listed below. FYI, there’s no judgement here – well, maybe just a little if you insist on wearing a full face of foundation, but that’s only because I know my pores would be crying.


Mirror Man 

He’s usually wearing either very short, shorts, or grey jogging bottoms (insert side eye emoji here). It doesn’t matter whether it’s back, arms or leg day, this guy will go to the mirror in between every single set. When he isn’t checking out how thick his biceps look, he’s yanking up his vest top to get (another) close look at his abs. Suffice to say, more often than not, there’s really not that much to look at…


The Grunter

Again, usually male in species, the grunter is someone who, initially, you might believe is working out super hard, and is about to lift the entire stack of weights. It’s the kind of grunting usually reserved for the tennis court. However, once you glance over, you’re likely to see said grunter is actually just doing a sit-up. No weight. Perhaps they think the more noise they make, the more strong and attractive they appear? In my experience, it’s never the case.


The Crossfit Fanatic

Now don’t get me wrong, there are some amazingly inspirational Crossfit experts out there, especially in the world of Instagram. But in real life, they can often come across as, well, complete dicks – male and female. There’s a certain swagger to them – not too dissimilar to a diehard vegan that thinks everyone who isn’t vegan should DIE already. Very often they’ll be decked out in clothing that lets you know instantly which gym they belong to. Also: their eyes will often appear very small and red after one too many bullet coffees. 


The Hard Body

Head to Instagram if you want to see the Hard Body in action – most of them will already have created their own hashtag, i.e. #thickthighssavelives etc, etc. They are men and women who look like they could snap your neck with just a tweak of their thigh muscles. I can’t lie; more often than not I really admire this gym clique – it’s clear they work hard for their bodies. But at the same time, I know I could never meet their requirements of having to deny my body carbs, basically forever.


The Gym Bunny

Not to be confused with The Hard Body; the gym bunny is someone who loves to go to the gym, most likely on a daily basis, and more than likely after work. There’s definitely a different vibe at the gym after 6pm – it’s definitely not for me, it’s just too busy! Male gym bunnies wear their fave nipple-bearing vests while their female counterparts often wear pristine, coordinated #athleisure, complete with ultra-neat ponies or braids, plus a full face, complete with subtle contour, and maybe even a fake freckle. Rather than breaking a serious sweat, being a gym bunny is about being seen, and I don’t doubt they burn plenty of calories this way.


The Insta-Trend Fanatic

Ever seen someone using a rowing machine to exercise their glutes, standing on a pull-up machine, or walking backwards on the treadmill? These guys and girls live for the latest Instagram fitness challenge, and the sillier it makes them look, well, it must be doing something right, right?


Like I said earlier though, there’s no judgement here. Do what moves you, do what you feel – and find your tribe! If I’m over there in the corner giggling, just ignore me and hold that squat.

Image Credit: Manuel Nogueira for Elle Brazil in November 2011

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