3 Repulsive Things People In The Fitness Fraternity Do

Caffeinated Thoughts
9 min readJan 23, 2023

For the love of humankind don’t hug me after I’ve just run a marathon.

Photo by Brian Erickson on Unsplash

Introduction

Few things are as gross and repulsive as getting hugged by a fellow runner or friend after completing a hot sweaty marathon. It’s even worse when the entire group wants to hug it out after the race to take a group photo. No one ever stops to think for a second, “umm maybe certain people don’t want to be a part of this?”

In group sports and adventure activities, whether its cycling running or trekking, there are more or less a similar set of etiquette and rules to be followed in the best interest of your fellow participants and teammates personal boundaries. This is to ensure that everything goes smoothly and according to plan without any hiccups.

Besides, hygiene and personal space aren’t the only reasons not to engage in some of these behaviours. Some people might not be comfortable sharing their belongings with others for reasons other than hygiene. Some others might have an extra sense of personal space for cultural and personal reasons. Some others might be introverts who’ve signed up for the sport to get fit, and not to necessarily to take part in group activities.

Here are 3 gross and repulsive things people in the sporting community regularly engage in:

Hug runners when they’re all wet and sweaty

Photo by leah hetteberg on Unsplash

Few manners and matters of etiquette are thrown out the window the way things are done at marathons and triathlons conducted in the city. I’ve myself been hugged on the race course by a fellow runner friend who had come there to cheer everyone on. Most people who get onto the running path unknowingly or unwittingly become part of a larger fraternity of runners. Once you start running local marathons and smaller races, you become a familiar face around those circuits and you’re bound to bump into people you know, either on the course or amongst the spectators. As is extremely common in running, a runner might not be able to participate with his/her crew at a particular race due to an injury, insufficient training, late registration, or sometimes that particular race might not even feature on their racing calendar for the year.

What they then do is the second best thing: Cheering.

I’ve myself been cheered on by my friends, and have cheered many of them on more than a dozen occassions. However I’d like to draw a nice solid line where the camaraderie ends and sharing of bodily fluids begins. Sometimes a running mate cheering on their friends on the race course might come in for a hug while offering you some water and fruit for energy. Sometimes members of your own running club might hug it out at the end of a marathon as a way of celebration. So here’s the big PSA for all the extrovert runners out there: Some of us don’t like to be hugged after a run, when we’re all smelly, dirty, and sweaty. How hard is this for you to understand? Yes, running 42.2 kilometers is a huge deal. The majority of humans on the planet will live their entire lives not knowing what completing a full marathon feels like.

But that doesn’t mean I want your sweat all over me to celebrate it!

So please, keep the celebrations restricted to high-fives, cheers, and handshakes, will ya? (or maybe just the high-fives and cheers will do.)

Ask to borrow a sleeping bag

Photo by Felix M. Dorn on Unsplash

Okay. So here’s the thing right. Trekkers, especially new ones who’ve just been introduced to the sport don’t feel the need to invest in gear the moment they get into it. They’re still getting a feel for the sport and are busy figuring out whether its something they’d like to indulge in repeatedly all through out the year.

Some people are just doing it as a one-off adventurous activity as part of a larger tour itinerary. Some are trying it for the first time in their lives to see if it turns into a personal obsession, and some are doing it to bring some change to that year end vacation, where they’d usually go partying and club hopping on New Years Eve.

After all, the cost of gear does add up when you account for everything you need and if you’re hiking into the woods only a handful times in a year, you’re better off renting than purchasing.

I get that sometimes someone might need to borrow a tent from me because they don’t have one. I also understand that they don’t have one of their own because of any of the above-mentioned reasons. I might lend them my tent, or even backpack for such reasons. But that’s where my charitable and friendly nature usually stops. A tent can be likened to a hotel room, and no one has a problem sharing those with strangers from all over the world, right?

On the other hand, asking to borrow someone else’s sleeping bag is like asking to borrow their clothes. Eww!! That is just way too disgusting and gross for me to handle.

A sleeping bag is likened to clothes or underwear because it ends up becoming the bedclothes you wear at camp, whether you’re sleeping inside a tent or under the open sky. Yes, I know not every hiker out there sleeps naked and/or topless inside their sleeping bags, but I’ve done it on dozens of occassions and I know many trekkers who have admitted to doing the same.

There’s no better feeling than getting out of a bunch of dirty, smelly, sweaty trekking clothes that have been rubbing against your body all day in the heat and humidity, and getting into a velvety fresh sleeping bag that feels like nirvana to your skin. As the smooth polyester fabric cooled by the night breeze caresses your skin and your privates as you sleep, the best feeling in the world is not having annoying drawstrings or pant elastic tugging at your waist, constricting it after an entire day of……well……constriction. This allows you to freely turn on your side, bend your legs at the waist and sleep in the fetal position, allowing you to relax those tired thighs and leg muscles which have been working nonstop since morning.

This is where my sleeping bag turns into my bed clothes. Its kind of like asking to borrow my undies. Think about it. I’ve been trekking all day in the sun, cold, wind and/or rain. I’m sweaty and dirty. And on most treks where we do not have the luxury of a campsite pool or homestay, we get into our sleeping bags straight away without as much as a wash. All that sweat, dirt, grime, and mud from bushwhacking through dense shrubs and thickets all day is still on my body and is going to be rubbing on the sleeping bag all through the night. During monsoon treks many of us might sleep with leech bites still on our body with the dried blood peeling off into the sleeping bag itself. Also, pee dribble must never be ruled out.

Its even worse to rent sleeping bags from an outdoor company since you don’t know how many people have used it and in what conditions. Even if the service provider claims to have washed them thoroughly, its an absolute no go. Would you use somebody else’s underwear if they were giving them to you freshly washed? You wouldn’t, right? Then why would you ask to borrow someone else’s sleeping bag?

Just no, bro!

Ask to sip from my hydration bag

Photo by Max Bender on Unsplash

On many long distance cycling trips, we cyclists carry hydration bags instead of bottles so that it is more easy and convenient to drink on the go.

Hydration bags are a versatile piece of equipment in the fitness community and are also carried by trail runners, trekkers, and runners doing long distance training. While riding up a hill or on the highways during long distance cycling, the group gets split up as per stamina levels and cyclists with similar fitness levels tend to get bunched up together. Sometimes someone might be getting back to cycling after a long hiatus and might not have trained adequately for that particular ride. This forces them to empty their water bottles earlier than others, which ultimately leads them to having to borrow water from other cyclists, or have one from the group pour some into their own bottle.

However, there’s a special group of cyclists out there who think its perfectly appropriate to ask to drink from someone else’s hydration bag. Like eww. How revolting is that!

For the uninitiated, a hydration bag (pictured above) — like the name suggests — is a bag of water that you carry along with your regular bag around your back and use it to hydrate yourself during a ride using the tube connected to it. It negates the need to carry a water bottle, which can be cumbersome and risky to sip from as you ride.

A hydration bag saves precious time and energy, two resources that are extremely valuable during long distance rides. In the time it would take me to bring the bike to a halt, pull out my water bottle from under me or inside my bag, take a sip, and put it back inside, I could have already covered two kilometers or more depending on how fast I was going, had I not stopped to do so.

Like the sleeping bag, the hydration bag is an extremely personal piece of equipment. There’s sweat, dirt, grime, and microscopic highway debris all over my body and on all of my gear. Plus, my mouth has been on that thing all through the ride. That’s the point of a hydration bag. So that you can ration out your water by sipping it slowly and gradually as you ride as opposed to taking big gulps out of a water bottle. Secondly, some cyclists might not even be carrying plain water, but an energy drink, fruit juice, glucose, or electrolyte drink of their choice.

Look, I know you didn’t train for the ride. You may be getting back to cycling after a long hiatus. You may be unfit for the particular trail we’re on, and you may have not done hills in a while. Or you might have even forgotten to carry your bottle with you. Whatever be the case, under no circumstance, and as wrong as this sounds, am I going to let you suck on my hydration tube. I’ll even get off my bike, open up my bladder and pour some water into your bottle so you’re re-energized and can get back on the saddle immediately. I might be as tired and worn out as you. But I’ll still do it. What I wont do is let you come close to me and suck the water out of my hydration bag. Even if we’re long time cycling buddies, whether we’ve been through hell and back; whether we’ve cycled through rain, sun, and the nastiest of headwinds and have been doing so for years together, no way am I going to let that happen.

So please. Never ask me for a sip from my hydration bag.

Conclusion

While matters of etiquette, hygiene, and personal space vary across countries according to the most dominant culture, there are a few rules which are universal in nature and apply to everyone no matter where they are. Would you consider the above mentioned objections as gross and objectionable in your country? Or even for you personally?

I do know that certain cultures have a much thinner line between whats personal and whats not.

Do let me know in the comments section to the side.

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Caffeinated Thoughts

No niche in particular. I am a keen observer of society and gain my inspiration for new articles from observation.