The sun creeps into your room and hits your sleepy eyes, thus starting your daily tradition: tossing and turning for ten minutes while still trying to sleep halfway through, before inevitably leaping straight into your please-god-wake-me Instagram -e Sesh from TikTok. After an announcement and a viral AI-generated song, you land They. They’re at the gym, dressed head-to-toe in the latest gear, posting a suspiciously sweat-free selfie with the caption: “Work on yourself. Atmosphere alone. Act with intention. Pleasure always comes from outside you, while joy comes from within. It’s your old friend, The Gym Philosopher.
The selfie went live at 7:30, but their day has begun way before that. The gym philosopher had things to do before he hit the gym, you see. Namely expressing their blessings in their gratitude journal and repeating their daily mantra in the mirror, but not before cramming a live meditation onto Instagram for their worldwide audience. Pre-gym came the pre-grind dawn, which they observed at Battersea Park with a sustainable, vegan pre-workout.
You will often find The Philosopher loitering on the Third Space floor as if it were their First Space. I’m not a personal trainer per se, but they really see themselves thriving in that role. That’s why, for a month, they’ve been demonstrating it. Of course they don’t take the necessary courses, they just demonstrate.
The Philosopher joins a big-budget cast in The Gym: We have the illustrious Chad, who aggressively paces the floor between sets and spits into the water fountain. The well-meaning old man in the smart suit with slicked back hair, a towel around his neck and an undeniable (Paul) Hollywood energy. Then there are the usual extras: the machine hustlers, newbies, sane gym buddies, and, of course, the gym-influencing hunks, who bear a passing resemblance to The Philosopher, but actually do bone-busting circuits. Our slightly confused Philosopher bounces from car to car with no real intention, mostly focusing on their new iPhone 14 (the camera quality is so worth it, they say).
Because Instagram is where The Philosopher really finds its niche. You’ll see Ekhart Tolle’s words paired with Sahara-level thirst traps; a highlight entitled “inspiration” which will be exclusively early morning coffee; a monthly dump of yoga timelapses with featured incense; green juices and vegetables galore; just endless gym attacks. Each caption is infused with joyless holiness. And if you momentarily stop disliking this person — because “content is content and it’s good for them to secure their purse” — remember that this person only has 287 followers. All their content exists individually to say: I am better than you.
The crazy thing is, The Gym Philosopher was once just like you and me. They too fell asleep fully clothed while waiting for their order from McDonald’s. They too vaped so much they felt sick. They too have wasted several hours on TikTok when they really needed to go to sleep early. But they recently underwent a tough rebranding and are now reveling in a holier-than-thou nirvana. This person really enjoys trying to make you feel inadequate just to enjoy life, all because he thinks that ditching his old mates and going to the gym makes them spiritually godlike.
Really, The Gym Philosopher is just like all the other boring people who found a hobby, enjoyed it, then decided to give up any personality from now on. Same as that friend of yours who once went to a driving range and now posts stories at 7 a.m. every weekend on a golf course with the caption, “Early riser gets the worm.”
But the problem with The Gym Philosopher in particular, is that they essentially misrepresent what the gym is and discourage a whole group of people from joining. They see The Gym Philosopher’s endless barrage of gym-adjacent content and think, A) “See, the gym is for boring people.” Or, B) “That’s what the gym does to people, it makes them lame as fuck.” So they don’t go, because they see it as the death of individuality.
Anes, a 24-year-old personal trainer from London, believes people who post about their entire gym life on their social media usually come from a place of insecurity. “As you start going to the gym, it’s important to figure out why you want to do it and keep that in mind,” she says. “From there, everything will come naturally and you’ll feel good.”
The philosopher of the gymnasium will never cease to exist. Wherever there are chakras to align and a personal best to manifest, they will be there. But here’s my conscious advice: ignore them. Hit the gym and get those endorphins racing, so you can enjoy the weekend. But for the sake of all of us, please don’t start posting this on your social media.
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