Rarely do I break out laughing and exclaim “Bleah! Gross! No!” at the same time, but that’s the effect of this hilarious and mildly horrifying piece by NBC’s Health on Today: You Won’t Believe These Gym Gross-Outs.
Gym rats: beware of gym rats, as well as gym cockroaches. Also, you’d best avoid that dried vomit coating the stationary bike, the blood swirling in the whirlpool, and that old man in the locker room who is dutifully airing out his genitals with the hand-held hair dryer.
These are merely five of the nearly 2,000 gnarly sights, smells and sounds reported by fitness center patrons in a new Harris Interactive survey commissioned by the Cintas Corporation. Exercise buffs were asked last month, via an online poll, to list “the dirtiest object or behavior” they’ve ever seen in an athletic facility. They were urged to “please be as descriptive as possible.” Oh, and the people obliged – just in time for the January surge of membership deals from your local gyms.
“Body builder farted as I was inhaling about to bench press,” wrote a 49-year-old man.
“A woman soiled herself while weight lifting,” added a 76-year-old man.
And we certainly cannot forget the super-parched guy who, for some reason, decided to start “licking the drinking fountain.”
The rest of the piece is virtually bursting with all sorts of bodily fluids — mainly sweat, of course. And the comments host a lively debate between disgusted gym-goers and points like this one: “People do all these things everywhere, not just at the gym. It’s called being human.”
My favorite came from a microbiologist who suggested wearing gloves while lifting weights but also notes: “Sweat isn’t a problem. It’s sterile when secreted, and as it ferments it produces ammonia, which kills bacteria. The bacteria that live off sweat won’t harm you.”
Readers, I’m almost afraid to ask: Any gym reports of your own to rival these?