Only in the Gym: The Ridiculous Things You Can Say Only While Wearing Spandex

by Charlotte on April 17, 2014 · 25 comments


“Wow, you’ve got a perfect snatch!” Yes, those words actually left my lips the other day. I was helping a friend with her kettlebell moves and that was it, I swear. Before we both busted out laughing, all I could think was only in the gym. 

I don’t know if it’s the relative lack of clothing or all the weird body positions but there are so many things that we do in a gym environment that totally wouldn’t fly anywhere else. Just today, for instance, as I tried to work out the knot in my right butt cheek courtesy by rolling all over a medicine ball, I felt someone looking at me. Someone who was waiting for the ball. Sheepishly I rolled it over and mumbled, “Sorry, I’m done molesting it now. Your turn!” Or the time I had an entire conversation with a friend while I held bridge pose (lay on your back, hips up in the air like you’re petitioning the Goddess of Fertility) and she was rolling out her inner thigh on the foam roller. Neither one of us so much as blinked. Context is king.

Yet when it comes to bizarre things people can say in the gym but not anywhere else, the Rear Naked Choke Hold always, always wins for me. I’ll never forget my first time sitting in on a jujitsu demonstration during an MMA class and hearing the instructor tell us to prepare for that move. How on earth do you prepare for something that has those four words in any combination?? For the record, it’s called “naked” because it means the person doing the submission hold isn’t using anything but their arm to do the choking portion of the program. I know, I know this is serious windpipe-crushing stuff and MMA fighters are some of the best athletes on the planet. (Truly, they are.) It’s still really really funny.  Seriously: go stand in front of the mirror and try to say “I’m going to mount you and put you in a rear naked choke hold until you submit” with a straight face. Can’t be done.

So in honor of all things awkward, here’s my highlight reel of best gym convos ever:

Favorite Overheard Gym Conversation: 

Trainer to woman lifting heavy weights: Don’t forget to breathe!

Woman: Is that even possible? Has anyone ever actually stopped breathing on you?

Trainer: Well…

Woman: One of these days I’m going to faint just to freak you out.

Favorite Gym Class Conversation:

Boxing Instructor, to me taking my first real boxing class: Oh you’ll be fine in this class! You know how to punch, right? Duck and weave?

Me: Assume I don’t know anything.

BI: I assume you know how to… Hammertime! (At which point he started singing MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This” and did a pretty decent hammer dance.]

Favorite Bad Compliment Conversation:

Fellow student: Hey, it’s your first time! You’re doing great!

Me: Really?

FS: Um, no. That’s possibly the worst speed bag I have ever seen. (FYI: He was right. I could not figure that thing out!!)

Me: Oh

FS: That was hard to watch.

Me: Yeah?

FS: Yeah. But don’t worry! You’re doing great!

Favorite CrossFit Conversation:

Guy 1: So today I’ve got a WOD of five rounds of Fran AMRAP followed by 100 kippers and thrusters.

Guy 2: You just made that up, didn’t you?

Guy 1: Yep.

Guy 2: I knew it because you spelled out W-O-D.

Favorite Conversation With a Child:

Son #1 handing me something at the store: Look mom! You should totally get this!!

Me, absentmindedly: What is it, honey?

Son #1: It says it’s a “push-up bra”! And you love to do push-ups!!

Me: Wrong kind of push-up!

Son #1: Well, what kind of push-up does this bra mean then?

Me: Ah… nevermind. It’s a gym bra. You’re right.

What’s your favorite example of something you can say in the gym that you could never say in real life? Anyone else have a funny fitness convo lately?

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Gene April 18, 2014 at 1:02 am

“If you like my clean and jerk, let me show you my snatch.” yep. heard it. laughed so hard internally that i forgot to breathe andnnearly died.


Charlotte April 20, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Ah yes, one of my faves! Love it.


Rob April 18, 2014 at 7:52 am

Great article, loved the pic at the top especially haha. That’s one of my weaknesses in the gym, forgetting to breathe properly!


Cavy April 18, 2014 at 10:04 am

This made me laugh so hard! I don’t know what I’d do if a kid said something like that to me . . . seems like an easy misunderstanding, though.

Just the other day my husband and I were horsing around in the gym entrance, and our little play-fight ended with my husband running off towards the cardio room like a madman and me chasing him like a psychopath (I think he stole my towel?), and one of the personal trainers yelled after us, “Hey! No running in the gym!”


smac-a-roo April 18, 2014 at 12:22 pm



Charlotte April 20, 2014 at 9:01 pm

I love this so much. Did the trainer even catch himself/herself?


Marcy April 18, 2014 at 11:54 am

Just last night @ workout. We did reverse lunges on Tuesday and her quadswere sore – not her Glutes. She said to the trainer , “Can you help me figure out how to use my butt?”. LOL!!!


Charlotte April 20, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Hahahaha – what did the trainer reply?


Bethany April 18, 2014 at 12:20 pm

I was teaching Zumba to a bunch of high schoolers as a one-time thing. I cued them to hamstring curls (in the warm up) and then clarified, “pull your heel toward your booty.” And they all started giggling hysterically.

I was watching an exercise video once and the instructor said to, “hug your muscle to your bone.” And I thought, seriously? How on earth??


joemama April 19, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Was it Tracy Anderson? All kinds of nonsense like that comes out of her mouth…As if you could loosen the muscle off the


Charlotte April 20, 2014 at 10:11 pm

Hahaha agreed Joemama!!


smac-a-roo April 18, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Well, to many bin the UK saying “I did snatches for my WOD” gets a “rise” (no pun intended…)


Amy @ Run Mom Run April 18, 2014 at 2:02 pm

My husband is an avid cyclist and in a crit race a few years ago a guy lost control coming around a corner and caused a crash. My husband ended up on top of some guy (not the guy who caused the crash) and the guy looked up and said “Hi, I’m Bill, nice to meet you.” Okay, I can’t actually remember his name.

I guess that’s how boys make friends because they’ve been friends ever since. Well, in that they talk to each other at every bike race, boys are bad at being friends.

My husband came out of that crash without a scratch but was still in pain because he broke one of his carbon fiber wheels.


Charlotte April 20, 2014 at 10:11 pm

This is the best “how we met” story ever!!


Sara April 21, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Oh I know, my boyfriend is an avid cyclist too, and even if he broke every bone in his body, he’d be like, “I’m fine, I’m fine, is the bike ok??”


Katrina April 18, 2014 at 2:55 pm

hahahaahahahhaa…. you’re right, it’s a gym bra! ahahahahahaha


Jacquie April 19, 2014 at 12:00 am

The conversation with your son reminds me of a game of Catchphrase with a few of my friends a while back… one of the guys got the word “training bra” and figured it must be a bra used for training for a race, so we fruitlessly guessed “sports bra” over and over, only to erupt in laughter when he frustratedly revealed the actual phrase. Haha!

Who knew bras have so may unintentional references to working out?


Charlotte April 20, 2014 at 11:16 pm

That is hilarious! I love it. Ah men.


Terri April 19, 2014 at 6:19 am

Your kids crack me up – thanks I needed the laugh !

Have a great Easter with the perfect amount of confectionery of your choice :)


Charlotte April 20, 2014 at 11:24 pm

Aw thank you! It was delightful and I enjoyed a LOT of jelly beans;) I hope your Easter was beautiful too!


Paula April 19, 2014 at 6:51 am

Awesome! I was training a client who was a TOTAL newbie to the gym scene. It was the lunch hour and there were other trainers/clients working together in the same space. About half way through the session my client gets a really concerned look on her face and pulls me aside. She leans in and says, “Why did that male trainer just ask his female client if she has ever had Herpes?”. I look over and to my amazement the client is doing ‘burpees’. I giggle and tell my wonderful client that he actually asked if she had ever done burpees!!! :) We both laughed so hard!


Charlotte April 20, 2014 at 11:29 pm

Hahahah that is the best thing I’ve heard all day! I’m totally calling burpees herpes from now on.


Amalia April 19, 2014 at 4:11 pm

These are hilarious. I am very very happy that I read this today!


Charlotte April 20, 2014 at 11:28 pm

And I’m very very happy it made you happy:)


Bob April 23, 2014 at 6:42 am

Ha ha ha ha. Great article. Love the conversations. You made me laugh! Thank you!


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