Mean Girls and Cliques at the Gym


So as you know, I’ve been thinking about joining a local gym to get in shape. I paid for a drop-in class today to get another sense of the place.  The gym is very small and because of this, it has small classes (5-10 people). It’s more of a studio, actually. There are no machines or equipment. We work out with freeweights and bodyweight. The workouts have a tiny tiny bit of a Crossfit feel to them, but aren’t nearly as intense. I really like this a lot.

The downside to this is that the small number of  regular customers all know each other and are rather clique-y. Both times that I’ve gone, I’ve just listened to the other members have inside conversations about people that they know in common or each other’s personal lives. I suppose I should be more outgoing, but this is something to be said about making visitors feel welcomed. It’s been a little uncomfortable at times, but whatever; I’m there to workout. And workout I did. …Or, at least I tried to.


The exercises are almost all new to me so the instructor had to keep correcting my form and giving me waaay scaled down modifications. It’s a little sting to your pride when you can’t do something that all the other students in class are doing. We all have a little competitive streak in us. This is why classes work better for me. I appreciate the correction and feedback. That’s why I’m there. As long as I feel sore in the morning and I get a good workout, I can deal with a little ‘gym-timidation’. Well, I can deal with THAT kind of gym-timidation (above), NOT THIS kind (below). Yikes! 😯


Well, one chick shows up late and instead of taking a wide open spot on my right next to the windows, she starts working out right behind me. What? In an effort to not kick her in the face during my exercise, I politely move over a bit. After a couple of more exercise rotations, I notice that she has maneuvered herself between me and the rest of the class. I am now against the windows.  Whatever, no problem.

mean-girl-at gym

As the class progresses, she talks a lot to everyone, but never to me. In fact, she turns her back to me, effectively cutting me off from the rest of the people, and talks with everyone else. Uhh, okaaay. Whatever.  I keep doing my reps. I got a pretty decent workout. I’ll know how good of a workout tomorrow depending on how I feel in the morning. Soreness=good.

There is a routine at the end of class that we wipe our mats down with cleaning wipes that we are handed. Little Miss Welcome Wagon grabbed the container of wipes and started handing them out to everyone. She came over to where I was and pulled out a wipe. ‘Oh! Thank you’, I said and went to grab  it. She dropped the wipe on her own mat. Oops, ok. That wasn’t for me.  She pulled out another wipe. ”Thanks’, I said again and reached for the wipe. She kept the wipe in her hand, turned around, and continued giving them out to everyone else.

(Image: Kevin Hart, Comedian)

WTF? It took me a few seconds to process what just happened. I didn’t know her name so I couldn’t call her out on it. Am I reading too much into this, or did this chick just diss me?  I don’t get it. Well, I have a few theories about why, but I still don’t get it.  I want to give her the benefit of the doubt. I don’t know why she would intentionally do passive aggressive things against me, someone she doesn’t know. Maybe it was a simple misunderstanding. Or maybe I should have kicked her in the face when I had the chance. 😈

I’m still undecided about joining this gym, not because of what happened today, but because it is quite pricey. I want to attend at least one or two other classes with different instructors to get a full feel of the place and what they have to offer. I may also check out another gym for a class or two, but that gym is even father away. I know I need to try working out more in my room but my motivation is as small as the space that I have.


I have some time to think about it.  What do you guys think? Do you belong to a gym/studio?  How did you acclimate? Is it worth it to you?


“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW)


  1. B. · August 7, 2014

    Oh man! What a ….(fill in the blank)…Encounters like this are actually the reason I am more of a workout at home person – and I work in a gym!
    There’s loads of stuff you can do for a workout in tiny spaces but most people seem to really get something (psychologically) out of having a dedicated space to workout, be it a gym or a corner of the living room, so if you know that’s you, I’d maybe shop around at a couple other places first.
    PS: Don’t be afraid to tell each of the gyms you’re shopping around – sometimes they’ll offer you a discount or promotional price for the first couple months. 🙂


    • doubledebtsinglewoman · August 7, 2014

      Thanks for writing. Yeah, I like having dedicated spaces and routines for things too, which is part of the reason that it’s so hard for me to workout in my little room. But yeah, there are other gyms and there is also plenty of space outdoors… I’ll keep trying things until I find something that fits.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. girlseule · August 9, 2014

    What a snob! I’m not really a gym person, I prefer to ride my bike or go for a run outside, but they are good for the classes and paying all that money might be a good motivator!


  3. The Bookworm · June 19, 2016

    Sending an email to management has also work for me because I may be to “passionate” at the time to communicate with the manager at the time. If the problem isn’t resolved, go to yelp and write a bad review.


    • doubledebtsinglewoman · June 19, 2016

      That’s a possibility, but I hesitate to leave bad reviews in situations like this. My problem was with that one chick, not the business or the two owners. It’s true that the owners to have a responsibility to make the place welcoming, but leaving a bad review would make it uncomfortable for me to ever go back there. Maybe if I went back today, that mean chick wouldn’t even be there anymore, but owners would, of course and they would likely remember me if I left a bad review. I wouldn’t want to burn a bridge… Yeah, I overthink things. A private email to the owners however, might have been more my style. I didn’t think about it at the time.

      Sounds like you have some gym stories to share! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Bookworm · June 20, 2016

        I create a new account and name my self something random like JaneDoeLikesScoobyDoo. Then I let it rip!


  4. Anonymous · March 20, 2017

    I can very much relate to your post. I just recently moved to a new country and am experiencing the exact situation you described. Cliquey, small 5 – 10 people classes, everybody knows everybody. I have been attending spin classes for around eleven years now and usually go because I love how spinning really is worth the time and effort you put in. I go to the gym to workout, and warn friends that want to come with me that I am not great with the social aspect that can sometimes be there because I work extremely hard during that one hour and that is my main priority. Although I’m not a chatty Cathy when I’m at the gym, I am however, very friendly to everyone. I’ve recently felt very awkward at this new gym on more then one occasion when everyone chats amongst each other, all about ‘tight inner circle kind of things’ and make absolutely zero effort to notice my conversation efforts… I am not hurt by it but more so feeling left awkward and puzzled. I have been to many different gyms over the course of my life, in many different cities in my home country and never have I come across such an awkward vibe at a gym with strangers… it’s also with the instructors. I for the first in my life am considering quitting the gym and trying something completely solo and new. It’s just strange and it is a first for me.


  5. Double Debt Single Woman · April 15, 2017

    Thanks for sharing. Yeah, I know the feeling. Don’t feel compelled to stay in an environment where you are made to feel unwelcome. There are always other gyms around, and even if there aren’t any other gyms around, you always have the outdoors. Let us know how things go for you.


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