Musclehead at the Gym

The Urban Dictionary defines Musclehead as

"A selfish, narcisstic, egotistical person in the gym or fitness center. One who is a bodybuilder or aspiring strength maniac who usually looks at others with disdain unless they need them for a spot.

They almost never put their weights away when they're done with their exercise -- sometimes leaving a pile of 45's (45-pound plates) next to the machine or leaving a heavy load of plates remaining on the machine."

If you've been working out in fitness centers or gyms, you would've probably seen one. In the first fitness gym I joined, there certainly was one.

The Musclehead at my First Gym

The guy wasn't exactly huge the way bodybuilders are stereotyped. No, actually with his eyeglasses he gave the impression of an smart bloke - a corporate kind of guy.

But he was fairly muscular and thought more about himself as an athlete or "varsity player" rather than a bodybuilder.

He'd come to the gym wearing a tank top, tennis shorts and tennis shoes with white socks coming up to his knees - looking like an overgrown boy scout from the waist down.

The first thing he'd do is hurl his huge gym bag at a corner - like he just bought the gym yesterday - or something. He made sure his entrance was felt by bellowing out to the in-house gym trainer, a guy named Lito.

He'll then grab one of the stretching poles at the aerobics. With the pole on his shoulder and his arms holding the pole ends, he'd whip the pole side-to-side as quickly as he can. You can be sure no one was near him when he did this.

Hogging the Exercise Equipment and the Gym Trainer

After the frenzied stretching warmup, it's squat time. Yup, the squat rack was his favorite piece of exercise equipment.

He could probably stay there all day and he'd be happy. In fact, he became a semi-permanent fixture in the squat area.

I don't ever recall using the squat rack, not that I'd be terribly interested in doing squats myself. No, during those times, I was just interested in getting a bit fitter.

It became a little disappointing though when Mr. Musclehead was there because he made sure that you can't work-in with whatever gym equipment he was using. Maybe it was at this time that I had some musings on how it'll be great to build your own exercise equipment and workout at home.

Mr. Musclehead would leave his stuff on the exercise equipment like the lat machine and the pec deck machine to claim ownership for the duration of his entire exercise.

And he made sure you know he's still there. He'd grunt loudly doing his exercises and let out a mighty yell that shook the gym at the last rep. And then pose.

Yup, he was quite visible near the wall mirrors. He'd pose and flex after EVERY set. I was like, hmmm, did your muscles really change after THAT set of 5 reps? Maybe I was just clueless back then.

The exercise equipment wasn't all he hogged, by the way. He'd call out the gym trainer like the trainer was his personal assistant. The gym trainer, Lito, was there to assist everybody, but eventually he became a personal spotter for Mr. Musclehead.

The Jump Rope Incident

Having been a recreational runner for several years while I was in college, I had good aerobic conditioning. But I also had good rhythm and coordination and for sometime became interested in recreational boxing at home.

Boxing requires you to be light on your feet and one of the tools of the trade is the jump rope. And I was good at jumping rope - boxer style. I brought my jump rope to the gym. After seeing there was no one at the aerobics area, I jumped rope there.

Some of my friends seemed impress with the rhythmic jumping and fancy crossings that I did. Well, Mr. Musclehead must've seen how good I was.

I suppose he became curious that someone ELSE was actually good at something at the gym. He swaggered towards me and motioned that he wanted to try the rope.

He tripped on the jump rope most of the time and jumped like a total klutz. He wanted to mimic my jumping style but he just had no sense of rhythm or timing.

Determined not to make a total fool of himself, he shoved the jump rope back to me like it was nothing and quickly retreated to the squat racks.

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