The 10 Types of People You’ll See At My Czech Gym

21 Jan

So it’s almost the end of January 2014, &, like any good optimistically ingrained American, I made a resolution for the New Year. I know resolutions can be tricky & hard to follow. So I went the safe & smart route…I made mine super vague. At the beginning of 2013 I made an oath “to find happiness”, & fresh off the plane back from Paris to ring in NYE in my new home, Prague, I’d say that goal was very much achieved. Upon welcoming in January 2014, I realized I was in fact, happy. Mission accomplished. However, now it was time to pinpoint just what exactly I would focus on for the upcoming year. 

I decided that since I found happiness in 2013, then 2014 would be the year that I wanted to find love. But first off, I have some work to do before I can find love with another person– I need to find it with myself. I need to have better confidence & self esteem before I can love & be loved by someone else. So until further notice I’m doin’ me. 

The first step to happiness & self love for me? Getting back in that gym routine! Before moving to Prague I had an extremely strict work out schedule & clean diet. I was going to 6am spin classes, chuggin’ protein shakes & the only girl on the strength training side of the gym. I was BA. My personal trainer, Laurie would kick my butt in workouts & keep me accountable. But I loved it because I realized that I am happiest when I am healthy. 

Upon moving to Prague I realized that I NEEDED a gym. I found one across the street from my TEFL school building in the terrifying looking Hara-Gym. 


(Above: Just the casual friendly looking exterior of my gym in Prague)

I first signed up for a month in August & went daily since it was literally 5 minutes across the street from where I was staying during the course. But then things got tricky when I moved to JZP, a 30 minute commute away. 

Stress from a new job, culture shock & money troubles caused me to put off looking for a new gym during the fall. ‘It’s too expensive…it’s too far away…I don’t have time.’ The excuses came out of my mouth like 85% of my friends throughout my life every time I asked them to come to the gym with me. I was becoming lazy. I was about to fall down that slippery slope that allowed me to gain 20lbs while studying in Paris. 20lbs that took me FOREVER to lose. I could feel myself losing muscle & getting winded. After literally binge eating all through France over the holidays I knew enough was enough.

Like pretty much everyone else on Planet Earth, I began my gym membership January 2nd. Only instead of getting a one month membership, which I had previously done half-heartedly. I saved up for the three month pass. Which is A LOT of money for Prague. But I knew that since I had spent so much of my hard earned ca$h, I would be more motivated to go. I was soon able to figure out a routine. I wake up at 8am, teach, go straight to the gym, eat a healthy lunch, teach, come home to a healthy dinner! I am extremely dedicated & focused now that I have a routine (aka: one of my favorite things in the world).

Since I am now basically a regular at Hara-Gym & got my iPod stolen in November (& someone in customs stole/lost the new iPod Grampy sent to me…) I have a lot of time to just observe what is going on around me. Czech gyms are similar to American ones, but there are some differences. Let me explain a few of the people I see at the gym…

1. The Bro

ImageYes, there are a few bros at my gym. No, they are nothing like the ones at home. They aren’t tan, have no flashy workout gear & don’t spend 3 hours looking at themselves in the mirror. They are much more humble. ‘How are they even bros then?’ you ask? Because they are around my age, completely ripped, always come with their trusty spotting buddies & are just as dedicated as me. That’s my definition of a Czech bro.  

2. The Beginners 

These are the men gasping for breath after one set. I really can’t say anything bad about them, I actually really respect them. Everyone needs to start somewhere. They’re motivated & dedicated…not to mention extremely brave to step foot in this testosterone alpha-male war zone when they are either overweight or underweight. Hang in there, guys! You will definitely see results soon!

Image(Above: Inside my gym. Welcome to testosterone city!)

3. The Body Builders

A level completely above the bros, the body builders at this gym live & breath exercise. They actually bring chicken breast with them to heat up post workout, chug strange green colored liquid all day & oh my god the SOUNDS they emit while they’re working out! Please don’t kill me! I just need the 9kg dumbbells!

4. The Ones Who THINK They’re Hot 

An odd bro/has-been hybrid. Especially at this gym. They may actually have a decent body, but their attitude ruins absolutely everything. When they’re not checking me out…like deliberately making eye contact & making things super awkward…they’re checking themselves out. This is mostly a man about 45ish who spoke to me in Czech once & then about me to the whole gym. “Anglicky…krásný….” Okay so…English…beautiful…hmm, I wonder who you’re talking about? I CAN UNDERSTAND SOME CZECH, CREEP, THANKS.

Image(Above: Děkuji. Děkuji moc)

5. The Ones Who Are Actually Hot

Thank you for making this 45minute session from my elliptical perch so much more bearable 😉

6. The Anti-Deodorant Users

A classic theme of Europe. It’s bad enough that I have your armpit in my face during the morning rush metro commute, but at the gym, you know you are going to sweat, sir. So plan accordingly. Getting a whiff of you from my treadmill around the 2mile marker is enough to almost make my breakfast come up. Stop that.

7. The Chatters/Bench & Machine Hogs

A universal role that always seems to be filled in every single gym around the world. This is a gym, you are here to exercise. Talk somewhere else, I need the bench you have been sitting on for ten minutes while you interchangeably high 5 your friends/flex your tris in the mirror. Ugh, biggest pet peeve! 

Image(Above: Or in my case, any machine…)

8. The Ones Who Try To Talk To Me

5% of the gym population. Sometimes it is in Czech, to which I give my typical “Maybe if I just nod, smile & mumble something under my breath they will go away…?”. Besides two of the super awesome guys who work there who are always really nice to me, only one other gym-goer has ever spoken a word to me in English. One of the #6’s. Who is built like a god. And other guys actually gather around him to watch him work out. Our exchange went like this.

Me: (resting in between sets on the lat pull down machine)

Him: (resting in between squatting like 58483kgs) How’s it going?

Me: What?

Him: How’s it going?

Me: Oh, good…uh, do you like need this machine or something?

Him: No, I just wanted to see how you were doing.

Me: Oh okay…um, how are you doing?

Him: Good.

Me: Cool

He hasn’t spoken to me since. God I am so smooth sometimes!

9. The Ones Who Just Stare At Me

95% of the gym population. Especially when I leave the protective female cocoon of the cardio equipment & bravely enter the weights/machine area. I get to watch myself in the mirror & watch everyone else who is watching me in the mirror. Subtle. 

10. Andddd…The Girls

I think there is roughly 8 females at my gym. Or at least 5 that I have seen more than once. At least I know I will never have to fight for a locker! Some are wives of the body builders who brisk walk on the treadmills gossiping, one is this woman with short hair who I think is on steroids because she sounds like man & one is a girl my age is who is dating one of the employees. She always comes in with a matching track suit & full face of make up & leaves before she sweats any of it off. 

So there you have it! Needless to say, I certainly stand out. Who knew New Year’s Resolutions could be so entertaining! Every day is a new adventure, but I feel like I have found my way into this bizarre little family. I am just simply known as ‘The American’. I have been invited & went to the fall kegger cookout (ONLY A GYM IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC, EVERYBODY) & even the big scary 300lbs of muscle personal trainer says Dobrý den to me when I come in now! 

This is all part of getting healthy & happy so I can achieve my goals & you can totally czech me out 😉



12 Responses to “The 10 Types of People You’ll See At My Czech Gym”

  1. pickledwings January 22, 2014 at 5:55 am #

    Too funny! 😀

    But seriously, I know how you feel about getting back into fitness. I’m not a gym person at all ,mostly because of types you mentioned here, but I do certainly have to get regular trips to the pool back into my routine.

    • jgravesss January 22, 2014 at 8:39 am #

      That’s great! Every little bit counts! 🙂

      • pickledwings January 22, 2014 at 10:02 am #

        Very true. I’ve been trying my best to keep to a healthy diet until I can work the pool back into my schedule.

  2. Nina January 22, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    Just got back from the gym and this had me in stitches, Jess! Nice work! -Nina

    • jgravesss January 22, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

      Haha thanks girl! I know! Isn’t it too true?

  3. ronald stacy January 23, 2014 at 2:42 am #

    I don’t blame them for checking you out. I think your cute.

    • jgravesss January 23, 2014 at 8:23 am #

      hahah thanks, Grampy 🙂 love you

  4. ronald stacy January 23, 2014 at 2:46 am #

    I forgot if I left a comment

    • Maureen Graves January 25, 2014 at 3:38 am #

      Great insight….So funny. I think Jerry Seinfield would get a kick out of you. Great writing keep it up. Some very NICE pictures WOW is he cute, hello friend

      • jgravesss January 25, 2014 at 10:58 am #

        He does not go to my gym 😦 are you kidding me? Do you think I could just whip out a camera and get that close to someone like that?! Haha it’s a picture from google

  5. Warren September 16, 2015 at 9:10 pm #

    Hi, just wondering if you could tell me where I could find a sight that translates Cseke gym terms and slang? Cheers

    • jgravesss September 22, 2015 at 2:26 am #

      Hi! Sorry just responding to this now. Hmm, I am not really sure of any good translation sites. I would avoid Google Translate, especially with Czech, it’s not very compatible with English. I think the best thing to do would be to ask a Czech person!

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