The fitness world is an environment ripe for embarrassment. Sweat everywhere, people showering en masse, movements that require coordination.
This occurred to me recently when I tried to fix my ponytail in the middle of a HIIT class. My hair tie snapped and shot across the room, leaving me and my long, thick mane attempting to make it through jump squats à la Cousin It. A few days later, I showered after a dance cardio class and discovered I was locked out of my locker…alone, naked, and dripping wet. (Thankfully a woman eventually wandered in, at which point I had to beg her to go get a staff person.)
I told the second story to a close friend, and she confessed the same thing had just happened to her. So, in the spirit of making you feel less alone in your fitness faux pas, we asked you to weigh in on your most embarrassing gym moments.
Here’s a roundup of the five most common blush-inducing scenarios, with some pretty hilarious examples of each.
1. Face planting (usually on a treadmill)
The number of people who have experienced the Taylor Swift treadmill face plant is pretty shocking, according to our informal survey. Many people reported slipping during distracted moments and going flying off the back. One woman ripped her rotator cuff and had a gash in her shin (ouch!) and just kept running. “The girl next to me asked if I was okay, and I was so embarrassed, I got back on and jogged another mile,” she writes. Face planting isn’t just for treadmills either: People are also falling all over the gym, during box jumps and onto yoga blocks and spin bike handlebars, too.
2. Clothing malfunctions
Many people forget to put on an important item—say, a sports bra for a plyometric class—and end up putting on a show. The most common scenario was clothing holes in unfortunate places. One woman had a guy report her to the front desk for climbing on a StairMaster with her booty peeking out of a large split in her sweats. And trainers aren’t immune to wardrobe malfunctions, either. “I taught a full block of SLT classes with a noticeable hole in the crotch of my spandex. It was three classes full of clients before I realized my wardrobe malfunction,” writes Bethany Meyers. “I was like, happy Monday night guys!”
3. Locker room bloopers
“I waltzed into the women’s locker room. Went straight to shower..and froze. Naked women everywhere. I bolted,” one male reader writes, and many people echoed the sentiment, saying they had inadvertently wandered into wrong locker room—where they were met with shocked expressions.
Yoga and barre classes are apparently prime spots for breaking and witnessing embarrassing wind. “Guy in front of me farted in yoga and I lost my tacos laughing so hard—like tears shooting out and giggling ridiculously…had to leave the class because I couldn’t get it together!” one reader writes. And another hilariously laments, “It’s always a fart.”
5. Other bodily functions
Exercise does weird things to your body, guys. It might make you pee your pants; it also makes lots of people vomit, sometimes in public view, and sometimes in the locker room while imagining the looks of horror on people’s faces outside the stall. “The first time I tried Barry’s Bootcamp in Los Angeles, I threw up right after the class outside in front of everyone who just walked out,” writes one reader. “Didn’t stop me, though. I’ve been going multiple days a week for the past year and a half.” Turns out the #gymfail might just be the best form of #fitspo.
But if you want to avoid future embarrassment, you can start by learning how to lift heavy weights properly and what you’re actually supposed to do with a foam roller.