Working out at a gym might seem intimidating and inconvenient to those that do so infrequently, but at the end of the day, how bad could it really be? You leave a little sweaty, you leave a little sore, but there’s a good chance you wind up feeling ten times better than you did before. So, shouldn’t that make it worth it?
Well, while scratchy towels and a bit of a wait for the leg press might be easy to put up with, one Utah man learned the hard way that not all trips to the gym leave you feeling so fresh. As he emerged from the pool and headed out for the night, he soon realized he’d made a terrible mistake — and that this trip to the gym had just taken a dangerous turn.
But for Dan Hill, his local 24 Hour Fitness had always been a place of refuge and comfort. He spent most of his days at the gym in an effort to stay in shape, though you’d probably never catch Dan hitting the heavy stuff like some other workout buffs.
Instead, Dan preferred swimming laps in the gym’s pool, a great way to keep up that cardio without fooling around with those lousy treadmills. Unfortunately, this particular pool came with its own set of drawbacks.
Namely, the pool would get pretty crowded during daytime hours, leaving Dan to wait on dry land until a lane opened up. After a while, though, Dan got sick of waiting, and so he decided to switch up his routine a bit.
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With 24 Hour Fitness staying open, well, 24 hours, Dan moved his regular swims to nighttime, heading over after work to burn off the stresses of the day. But when Dan turned up to the Sandy, Utah, gym on the evening of January 11, he never anticipated the night in store.
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It started off pretty uneventful as Dan traded his work clothes for swim trunks and headed for the pool. Just like he’d hoped, the place was nearly empty — the pool lanes were all Dan’s for the taking.
Dan Hill / Facebook
For the next few hours Dan splashed and swam across the pool, relishing in the space and privacy his new routine afforded him. By the time he finished up his final lap, the clock on the wall had just struck midnight.
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After a quick shower and change of clothes, Dan was on his way out of the building at around a quarter past 12. He reached the gym’s double glass front doors, but when he went to open them, they wouldn’t budge. Both doors were locked.
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Puzzled, Dan turned to see if any of the staff could help him out… but there was no one else in sight. Staring out across the empty floor, a startling realization dawned on him: the gym was closed — and he was locked inside.
Dan Hill / Facebook
At first, though, Dan wasn’t exactly panicked. “I just thought it was kinda funny at the start. You know, it was kinda like ‘Home Alone,’” he told KTVX. “Like oh my gosh. I have this gym to myself.”
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But as the minutes passed, the novelty he felt toward the situation was quickly replaced by an overwhelming sense of dread. Could he actually last a full night trapped in a gym? Snuggling up with the dumbbells didn’t exactly seem like a recipe for a great night’s sleep.
He started by searching the gym, hoping he’d stumble across another patron that’d also been accidentally locked inside. Yet as he paced the halls and locker rooms, the echo of his steps confirmed his fears: he was utterly and completely alone.
Dan Hill / Facebook
Feeling his panic rising Dan decided to call his wife, who, distraught by the news, encouraged him to get comfortable until they could figure a way to get him out. Hearing this, Dan’s first instinct was probably to make a bed of towels for the night — then, he got another idea.
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Rather than stay put, Dan remembered a fire exit at the back of the gym and immediately headed that way. But alas, the door was equipped with an alarm — if triggered, Dan was afraid the police might mistake him for a criminal.
With nowhere else to turn, Dan finally decided to call the police: “I called dispatch and the guy pauses for like 10 seconds and says ‘You’re where?’ And I said, ‘I’m in 24 Hour Fitness, and there’s an alarm system here and I don’t want to get busted for breaking and entering.’”
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The dispatcher replied that they’d send a patrol to the gym ASAP, but as the hours passed, Dan began to fear that officers thought his call had just been a prank. As 2 AM came and went, Dan couldn’t help but wonder: would he ever get out of this gym?
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Finally, just when all hope seemed lost, the flicker of blue and red lights poured in through the front doors. Dan raced to the glass, relieved to find three officers standing on the other side: it was time to go home.
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“Free at last! Free at last! Thanks to three nice cops I am free at last,” Dan wrote in a Facebook post about his ordeal, which soon racked up over 17k likes, 2.5k comments, and 7k shares. Dan never expected to go viral for being locked in a gym, but, in a way, he did understand all the fuss.
Dan Hill / Facebook
“I think everyone secretly wants to be locked in a department or hardware store or restaurant etc,” he told Insider. “I think that’s one reason it blew up so much. It taps into that feeling of being the last person on Earth.”
Dan went on to say he has no hard feelings toward 24 Hour Fitness, who issued an apology for not stating that select branches would be closing between 12 and 4 due to low usage. He also now swims with an “I’m Here” sign as a humorous way to avoid ever being locked in again.
Dan Hill / Facebook
“Everyone makes mistakes,” Dan said of the now-infamous incident. “This was just funny enough to be interesting I guess.” While his experience was an odd one, he wasn’t sure if it qualified as the strangest thing ever seen at the gym, however.
Dan Hill / Facebook
You’d imagine Ronald McDonald probably tosses back a whole lot of McDonald’s burgers and fries, so that means he needs a serious gym workout to keep that slim frame.
2. This dog’s probably ticked off that some human snuck up behind him while he was doing his yoga poses and photobombed him with a downward dog of his own. “Hey! It’s a downward dog, not downward human!”
3. Most people look at a hamster spinning wildly around a wheel and laugh at how much energy they’re wasting. This guy, however, saw the wheel and made it his lifelong mission to conquer it.
4. Ethel never skips leg day. Twice a week she wakes up early and gets her hair curled. She then amasses the courage of a thousand warriors and hits the gym hard with her curlers in full effect — and some sweet tube socks.
5. If you want to train for the Tour de France, there’s only one proper way to do it: dress in full riding gear and treat your local gym’s spin class like it’s the race of your life. Everyone around you is an opponent.
6. If this guy adds any more weight onto that dumbbell, his brain’s gonna pop out of his scalp before he completes his reps. That kid in the background needs to tell him a little less pain means a little less vein.
7. This guy managed to take a piece of machinery meant for increasing endurance and turn it into a device that makes him lazier. Laziness isn’t a good thing, but this guy gets a solid A for effort.
8. This woman has it all figured out. She knows the only thing better than the satisfaction of a good workout is a cold cocktail. Why wait until you get home to have one? Bring it to the gym for instant gratification.
9. Mr. Potato Head finally started heeding his doctor’s warnings about the onset of heart disease and signed up for a gym membership. Right now he’s a Yukon Gold but his goal is to slim down to a fingerling.
10. This woman is not impressed by this startlingly-feline unitard. It’d be tough to take your personal trainer seriously if they stepped out of the locker room dressed like a cast member of Broadway’s Cats.
11. Ladies and gentlemen, the levitation press. Now even you can make like Houdini and strengthen your core while appearing to float.
12. Heels this tall and pointy already look incredibly uncomfortable, but having the weight of a barbell on your shoulders while trying to keep your balance on those chopstick heels takes skill. Skill and really strong calves.
13. This guy needed to be sure his form was perfect so his baby stayed safe. Hey, kids are never too young to start learning about overhead squats, but that guy really should slap a “Baby On Board” sticker to those weights.
14. This guy was on his way to a town hall meeting where he knew he was gonna be nodding his head in agreement to many of the statutes. So, he snuck in a quick neck workout so he could nod with fervor all night.
15. This woman went to the gym for one reason and one reason only: to work on her Segway balance. Who needs to walk when these two-wheeled contraptions exist? Running on treadmills is so a thing of the past.
16. This is exactly what friends are for: feeding each other doughnuts for sustained motivation while grunting out a new squat personal record. The guy who puts up the most weight gets another cake.
17. If the only thing that’ll get this guy into the gym is schlepping his computer along while he cycles on a stationary bike, so be it. He can get a little exercise and send some emails at the same time. Kind of genius.
18. This gym is testing self-restraint hardcore with a meticulously-placed table of deliciously evil delights. Would you have the willpower to walk past those glazed rings of heaven without caving?
19. Anyone familiar with Super Mario Kart probably recalls the cloud-riding flagman who indicates how many laps of the go-kart race remain. This guy channeled the game to help gym-goers stayed hyped.
20. There is only one man in the entire universe brave enough to even consider trying to lift that hammer. He goes by one name: Thor. Do not ever let Thor catch you looking at his hammer or else you become his dumbbell.
21. This is how everyone on the high school marching band increases their stamina as one unified front. It takes a lot of breath to march around the schoolyard playing “Yankee Doodle Dandy” to pep-rally spectators.
22. C’mon now, you really think Batman was just born without having to maintain his uncanny stamina? No way! He hits the treadmill hard to make sure he can keep up with the Joker’s hijinks.
23. Cupcake: check. Reading material: check. Plush pillows: check. A secluded place where you can eat your cupcake, read your magazine, kick your feet up, and no one will snap your picture: still working on it.
24. Whatever you do, don’t bother this guy; he wants to run a few miles in peace. Then again, maybe he’s trying to hide from a much fitter guy he insulted only a few minutes earlier. “Shh, don’t tell him I’m under here.”
25. “Dude, I said arch your back, not snap your body in half!” It looks like this guy cares more about his gains than keeping his vertebrae from breaking. You might just need a back brace after too many of those, buddy.
So, now that you brushed up on all those goofy gym personalities, let’s shift gears. This next group takes lifting heavy objects to the next level, and your jaw will drop when you see what the human body can achieve.
1. If there’s anyone in this world who can motivate you to get out to a gym and get yourself in shape, it’s 97-year-old Edith Traina. She was a great-grandmother who’d been wowing crowds for years. That’s a 135-pound barbell she’s lifting in this picture!
2. Meet Ukranian strongman Dmytro Khaladzhi. This broad-shouldered rock of a human made a name for himself carrying full-grown horses on his back! Before he lifted them, he bound their feet together to ensure he didn’t catch a hoof to the jaw.
3. This group of men belonged to the Royal Horse Guards in Britain, and one of them clearly stood out from the rest as the “strong guy.” You would not want to come across him alone on a battlefield; he’d make a hand-puppet out of you!
4. Any Game of Thrones fan will immediately recognize this massive guy as the character The Mountain. His real name is Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, he lifts very heavy stuff, and as of 2018, he actually held the title of “World’s Strongest Man.”
5. If you travel to Dagestan, a small remote village in the faraway corner of Russia, you can meet Sakinat Hanapieva, an old lady who can tear phone books in half and twist metal rods into a spiral. This is one old lady you wouldn’t want to tick off.
6. Would you believe the young man holding up this motorcycle and a grown man is actually just 14 years old? His name was Charles Highfield, and he claimed to be the strongest boy in England where he lived. By the look of it, he very well could have been.
7. When 17-year-old Michael Cruz entered a local strength competition at a beach in south Florida, he blew everyone away when he flipped a massive truck tire over in less than a minute. It’s safe to say he found his calling.
8. Edward Reece was one man who never skipped ab day at the gym, and if anyone ever called him a liar, he’d just show them this photo. He could probably fit another lady or two if he tried.
9. Ever wonder who the strongest woman in the world is? Well, you’re looking at one of ’em! Donna Moore had a grip of steel, and here she is lifting a boulder that weighs over 300 pounds! She better watch those toes in case she drops it. Yikes!
10. Paul Anderson was wearing a smile on his face for a very good reason. Not only was he strong enough to lift both these massive metal wagon wheels on his thick shoulders, but he claimed to have backlifted the heaviest weight ever: 6,270 pounds!
11. If you ever get a chance to visit the Kila Raipur Festival in India, you’ll see plenty of crazy feats like this one. It’s a yearly festival where men and women from all over show off their wild talents. This guy had “balancing massive objects with his mouth” down pat.
12. This older man could have probably out-lifted most people who were decades younger than him! This photo was taken during World War II when thousands of older men volunteered to defend Britain. He may have been old, but this was certainly one guy you wouldn’t want to duel with.
13. The Australian Oak is a mammoth-sized log that competitors attempt to hoist directly above their head in order to win. This competitor and absolute unit, Žydrūnas Savickas from Lithuania, successfully manhandled the log to its winning position.
14. What do you when you’re a blacksmith named Joe Smith and your boss tells you to move an iron barrier to the other side of the street? You lean back, balance the entire thing on your chin, and walk it over like a boss!
15. Pro-wrestler Braun Strowman didn’t mess around when it came to lifting heavy things (as this picture clearly proves)! Have an issue with the underbelly of your truck? No need to bring out the jack; Strowman’s got it covered.
16. The man holding this enormous barbell was Eugen Sandow. He’s actually credited with being the first bodybuilder of modern times, and it’s easy to see why: this guy could lift! His showmanship even led to a close friendship with King George V of England!
17. One brick, two brick, red brick, Rubik. The way this woman stacked these bricks on her head makes them look like the heaviest Rubik’s cube of all time. Those balancing skills were second to none! Hopefully, she didn’t have far to travel…
18. Iranian strongman Siamand Rahman won several medals throughout his weightlifting career, and he bench pressed almost 700 pounds! However, that’s not even the most astonishing thing about him. He was actually a wheelchair-bound paraplegic who never let his handicap get in the way of greatness!
19. Too many drivers feel they have the right to park wherever it suits them, even if it’s in the middle of a bike lane. Well, when this guy’s around, you better believe he won’t let a car stand in the way of some good cycling. Lance Armstrong would be so proud of his commitment!
20. Even though the woman holding up the full-size piano and grown man didn’t have massive arms or bulging legs, she most likely had a core like a cement brick. Maybe she shouted out song requests to her musician friend to get her pumped while she lifted.