My Embarrassing Exercise Moments

I have been exercising since my early days in university. What started as unhealthy competition with a friend I lived with has since developed into an integral part of my life, my well-being and who I am. I now love exercise as an experience as well as a healthy ideal. However, I haven't got this far without some toe-curlingly embarrassing moments. Moments where I would have happily chosen to sink through the floor of the gym and never darkened its doors again. Moments where I wished I was anywhere but there.

That time I... Decked it off a treadmill:

Picture me, on the dreadmill, doing sprint repetitions and feeling ever so smug. It was a lunchtime and the gym was packed, I had nabbed the last machine. Outside it was torrential. Chirpy pop was blasting through my headphones as I dialed the machine up to my maximum sprint speed. Then I lengthened my stride, like a goddamn gazelle, and my leading foot reached forward, down on to the non-moving front lip of the machine.

The other foot shot behind me, the front foot lost its grip, and I was unceremoniously catapulted backwards off the machine into a wall as a tangle of limbs. I now resembled Bambi post- car crash. An attractive young man rushed to my aid (there were lots of attractive guys when I was an undergraduate, now they all look like children to me, what happened?) but when he found I was fine, he quipped, "Ah, just your pride hurt then?".

One of those girls in a crop top laughed. Those. Stupid. Girls.

That time I... Maybe broke a finger in the weights room:

I was doing a variety of arm exercises- flys, skullcrushers, shoulder presses. Feeling fine, humming away to a tune on the iPod. I placed a weight on its end- so its other end was up in the air- and go to change songs, pressing my iPod. The iPod that is on the floor next to the weight. The button press depressed the mat, the weight fell over directly onto my hand. I made a noise that sounds exactly like, 'hyrrrnnggggg'.

No one but me could tell what happened. No one but me saw a thing. But I was crying like a baby and I felt woozy (I react badly to finger pain- I've fainted twice after trapping them in drawers). People started approaching me; acting like they were approaching someone very mentally fragile, speaking calmly, "Are you alright, do you need us to get someone?". They all thought I had just descended straight into hiccupy snottery madness with no provocation.

I never learned if it was broken but it bloody hurt for quite some time.

That time I... Forgot a towel:

I had been for a swimset, washed myself in the group shower, removed and rinsed my costume and put it in the spin semi-dryer. I was now in the buff, grabbing my towel from my locker. My towel... from my locker... Fuuuu---. It was not there. It had never been there. Cue instant flashback to it rolled up neatly on my sofa. I did all I could- ran to get paper towels from the bathroom and kind of dabbed myself dry. In full view of a lot of people. Just dabbing away.

Side note: those things do not work on hair unless you have 600 of them. My full apologies to the environment.

That time I... Did an underwear run:

In 4th year undergraduate the opportunity to do a 1 mile underwear run for charity came up and I said yes. I was on the running club committee, it was only a mile. I reasoned that if I didn't do it now, it was the kind of thing I would never do. So I did. At first, it was fantastic. I felt free and confident and, although I was nervous about my body, I was surrounded by friends and strangers. Then the course turned towards the library. The library where everyone I knew would be. So I crossed my bra straps and prayed that they would all be inside working hard.

As we round the corner to the library, there was one person I knew sitting right outside it on the wall with her friends. It was my boyfriends ex girlfriend. His skinny, and beautiful, ex girlfriend. She saw me, we made eye contact, and all I could think of to say was, "Oh hi! This is awkward! Can't stop to talk, I'm running in my underwear!". Yes thank you brain, shes not blind.

The lesson to be learned- saying, "This is awkward", never makes something less awkward.

That time I... Was given odd drugs advice:

This was more embarrassing for the speaker than me. Or would be more embarrassing if he were existing on the mortal plane at all. I was doing back raises on an incline board and a young man approached me. I thought he was either a) about to make a butt comment or b) about to give dude exercise advice. I was correct on B, sort of... He leaned in, and stage whispered, "A tip! If you keep your head down low for 20 seconds before raising up it makes you feel like you are high!". He then stared me straight in the eye for a minute, making sure I had received his genius visionary message, reiterated, "High!", and wandered off. I was left trying to look as least like someone who would be interested in getting high as possible. And trying to infer with shruggy body language that I had no idea who that dude was.

To this day I have no idea if he was in fact, "High!".

That time I... Threw water at a hottie:

I had a water bottle with a sports cap. That is the first and most important part of this story. I had been at the gym often enough and long enough to have developed a speaking relationship with some of the top-level attractive guys in the strength suite. It was a giddy feeling, being someone they felt was worthy to speak to (I'm sure they weren't thinking this, they were lovely guys, but I was unpopular in school and not used to being near beasts of such finery). Their glorious leader and I were discussing something, probably squats. I was trying to be ever-so casual and ever-so attractive, taking small sips of water. Then, as I began to reply, I wildly gesticulated and soaked him with an perfect arch of water, which jetted from the now-open sports cap on my water bottle. He looked quite shocked.

Luckily we spoke again, so I think he forgave me, but I literally turned magenta. On the plus side- he looked pretty good soaked.

That time I... Introduced my colleague to my boobs:

Much more recently, I went to Muay Thai with a colleague. All was fine until class number two, when we paired up. The second set of moves was one where you get your partner in a headlock and then act as if you are kneeing them in the stomach (they hold a pad across their stomach). As soon as we got into position, I realised this directly translates into holding their face to your sports-bra-ed boobs. Sweaty boobs. In Muay Thai quite smelly, sweaty boobs. Oh dear.

I guess at least he couldn't see that well given the darkness between the boobs and the headlock.

There are numerous other examples- all those times I had a nip alert (every. time.); headphone fandangles (being hooked back to the machine you had them plugged into like a fish on a line); and the sheer impossibility of dismounting elegantly from incline sit ups. These things happen to all of us, they happen a lot.

Now, I want to hear yours.


Okay, spill, whats the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you in fitness? 


  1. Amazing!! AMAZING post!! It's such a relief that I'm not the only person this stuff happens to!! I tried to stop running and do up my shoelace on a treadmill once. A bit of a shame I forgot to stop the treadmill first ... arse/wall

    1. Haha so glad you enjoyed it! From the twitter response so many people have had treadmill trauma! I suspect its a conspiracy. FOR SURE.

  2. ah this stuff is gold! Quick thinking with the paper towels. Did they not leave horrible green bits all over you though? Unless you perfected the art of the gentle dab. LOTS of gentle dabs....

    1. They did not. I think they actually also worked as exfoliation as they were very rough. Sadly they weren't very absorbent though! Lots of gentle dabs was the plan.

  3. Hahah these are brilliant! Ok SNAP on the falling off the treadmill - to be specific, I walked onto a moving treadmill (what genius leaves a treadmill running!?) and promptly flew off. Comedy ensued. I bit back the tears. I still have a grudge against them!

    1. Seriously what is with treadmills! I hate them too- boring, hard to run on, trying to kill us... The list goes on!

  4. I LOVE this! Definitely brightened up my Monday :)

  5. LOVE! Never fallen off the treadmill myself but I have had my phone/iPod fall off the ledge, hit the belt and go flying MILES across the room on multiple then have to sheepishly hop off and go and fetch it....oh and also obviously misjudging my hydration when out running, hiding behind a tree to solve the problem, forgetting I was wearing a fluoro pink jacket and having a dog start running towards me. Luckily the owner was sympathetic, called it away and walked in the other direction pretending to never have seen anything!

    1. That last one is amazing! Last time I did a park fitness workout (hill sprints/circuits in the park), we were doing push ups with feet on the benches and a dog came over and started licking our faces. We had to sprint bench to bench and do 5 push ups a time and he clearly thought it was a hilarious game. Luckily I like dogs!