This article was also published in The Eurobubble Blog
Let’s get this straight. I don’t expect this post to be funny. If you don’t usually go to the gym you will find this tedious. Anyway, since I’m in Brussels I have been to quite a few gyms, mainly to exploit the “essais gratuits” that most of them offer to then never come back.
This gym-crawling gave me a great perspective on the stereotypical Eurobubble gym-goers. That’s right. Because, going to the gym gives you exposure and the way you expose yourself in Brussels makes a big difference in your networking. Going to an expensive luxurious fitness centres in the Place Lux/Schuman/Arts Loi area is not like going to a gym/garage/suspicious sub-basement in St. Josse. Fitness centres are in fact very much like clubs, not gyms. You pay to be part of the club, not to work out.
So, let me introduce you to some of the recurring profiles you can come across when going the gym in the Eurobubble.
The real trainer
This is somebody that actually goes to the gym to work out. They go, they train, they sweat it out and go home. No questions asked and they get great result. Nobody in the Eurobubble, and I mean nobody, matches this profile. To find this rare specimen you have venture yourself out of Brussels 1000 (the post code obviously).
They haven’t started training yet, but their phone is ready on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram simultaneously. They look for likes and comments as a reward for their workout (that they don’t really do). The self-portraitor belongs to those categories of professionals that you can’t really tell what they actually do. All that is based on “being visible” rather than “do something”
The Gazza Gascoigne of bodybuiding
In a previous post I explained the Gazza-type Eurobubble footballer. This profile also exists in Brussels’ gyms. They couldn’t care less about their body and fitness but will go every time a “superior” colleague invites them to try their gym. They usually end up like the picture below but they will for sure have a great career in local politics
The phone booth
In short, they are those who talk about going to the gym, meaning “transporting themselves to a place called gym” not necessarily to workout. They are constantly on the phone and after a 53 minutes call, they say “wow I have been here for almost an hour. I’ll jog 5 minutes and then I’m off to Place Lux.” They have a gym subscription for 8 years and strangely they physically look the same way they used to when they joined.
The exercises updater
When you start going to a gym, usually an instructor gives a schedule to follow in order to break the ice and get familiar with you training programme. Many people here taking this programme really seriously. Some guys come to the gym with squared notebooks and every time they finish an exercise they note down the weights, the numbers of reps and the breaks’ duration. No space for flexibility. These guys don’ t last. They take workout as a job rather than an entertainment. They wear ties every day to work and are out of the office at 17:31. Typical skinny bureaucrats that think they can become Schwarzenegger in 2 months. Fooooooooooooooools.
The “I can lift more than you and I want you to know that”
Living in the Bubble is also a competition. You compete with your colleague at who works until the latest, who got the best EPSO score, who has the worst boss or which level of fonctionnaire you are. This is not healthy.
The same thing happens in the gym. There’s always that one guy that trains to be the best of his small circle of gym mates. The guy that can always bench-press 2kg more than you, that can run longer than you and that “you know, before coming to Brussels I was stronger and fitter.” If you run into someone like this in the gym you can be 100% they are lying. These people always lie. They are usually lobbyists for evil corporations and play the big shots. They are good at their job. Very good.
The one that in says “I will seriously start working out for the summer”
They usually work for the helpdesk of EU institutions and distance from any sort of screen is equivalent to missing a insuline shot for a diabetic.
The Personal Trainer you didn’t ask for
Honestly, going to the gym is not that hard. Pay your subscription, go there with your gym bag twice a week and get a trainer to help you out at the beginning.
Nevertheless, some people feel almost the imperative moral obligation to provide a second trainer for you. This improvised gym consultants are actually consultants in real life. They think they know better than you and their job experience justifies them providing you with some spam advice on how to do your workout.
They stare at you silently, they figure out your current business model ehm… sorry, I meant body shape, and start thinking what could be your business need ehm… sorry again I meant physical need. They approach the unexperienced gym goer by saying “Hi, could I provide you with some advice on your workout?” Very typical of public affairs staff of small consultancies that still need loads of clients.
Those who blame the machines.
Even though you have to be careful when managing weights in the gym, this is certainly not rocket science. Still, you will always find some who can’t manage to do a specific exercise but not because they’re just bad at it. It’s because “the machine is broken.”.Unless you are going to a 1940s gym with rusty dumbells and iron benches that’s probably not true. These guys will even approach some other people they don’t know in order to justify themselves ” You know, that machine doesn’t work. I can’t finish my workout then.” They have all done the EPSO 5 times and, according to them, they always didn’t make it all the way by 1 point.
Those wearing leggins or cyclist-like tight short
I just wish they didn’t wear leggings or cyclist-like tight shorts in the gym. Please, if your friends do that, talk to them out of it. They can be cured.