Gym Stench

There is nothing quite as disturbing to a workout as the stench of a fellow gym rat.

Now, let me explain before you start defending yesterday’s offender.

I realize it’s the gym. People sweat, sweat sometimes stinks and that’s all okay. I generally assume that it’s the type of place where we can look disheveled and NOT be interrupted by Stacy and Clinton berating us for fashion fails.

HOWEVER, I do expect a little personal cleanliness. Here are some of the gym experiences I’ve had in the past week:

Yesterday: man hops on the elliptical next to me. Once he starts breathing heavily, I realize Dude hasn’t brushed his teeth recently. He smelled like stale breath, coffee and garlic. And a little bit of BO. I was briefly relieved when the woman on the other side of me cleaned off her machine with the best smelling Clorox wipe ever, but, alas, the scent of disinfectant cleared and I was left with bad oral hygiene overwhelming me for the next 20 minutes.

Wednesday: woman hops on the bike next to me in spin class reeking of cigarette smoke. My eyes were watering and my sinuses felt like someone was shoving pins up them within minutes. I hopped on another bike, pretending that the bike I was on wasn’t adjusted properly. After class, I noticed the 4 bikes surrounding her (one on each side, one in front and one in back) were still empty, despite a packed class.

Last Monday: I hop on the only empty elliptical–it was rush hour/happy hour at the gym (5:30pm). I was actually excited because the people on each side of me were hardcore elliptical freaks. One had a high resistance and will still going 140-150 strides per minute. The other had a lower resistance but was going nearly 200 strides per minute. Yes, I pay attention to those things. And I’m one of those girls who “competes” with her neighbors. Sometimes. I don’t do it to beat my neighbors or make them feel bad. I do it because it can be pretty easy to tune out and slow down on cardio equipment. I need a pace-setter. And sometimes the dance/club remix radio station isn’t enough! Anyway, back to my gross neighbor. The man going 200 strides per minute was working up a wicked sweat. It was dripping off him and onto the machine. Thank goodness the gym has TONS of Clorox wipes in huge buckets throughout the facility. Too bad he didn’t wipe his machine down with one before he left. Instead, he smeared his sweat all over the elliptical by using the same towel he used to wipe his dripping wet head, face, arms and neck! Oh and the best part–when he stepped off the machine and shaked out his shaggy, sweat-wetted head. I was sprayed with another man’s sweat. Ewwww. Grosssssss.

For the record, when someone started to hop on the sweaty man’s elliptical, I did tell her that the previous user hadn’t wiped it down. She thanked me and wiped it down before starting her workout.

So, question for all of you:

Would you confront any of these individuals? What would you say? Am I overreacting?


One response to “Gym Stench

  1. Generally speaking – I am grossed out but I don’t say anything. Unfortunately I am one of those horribly sweaty people at the gym, although I hope I’m don’t smell horribly too, so I give a little wiggle room to others. I TOTALLY agree with you regarding people reaking of cigarette smoke – I move away from them. Luckily my gym has a great set-up that seems to help minimize the odors on the machines.

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