Most of you probably clicked on this article for one of two reasons: either you’re a fair-weather gym person who wants to laugh at the douchey meatheads, or you’re a huge gym person who wants to get triggered by an entertainment article. Hopefully, if I’ve done my job correctly, both of these audiences will feel validated by the end. I’m not trying to come off as some skinny-armed sissy who doesn’t like the big guys making me feel insecure. I’m also not trying to sound like the douche myself, ragging on all of the new faces we see in the gym on January 2 (none of the “new year new you” crowd is working out New Years Day). Poking fun of gym-types is a minefield and I’ve willingly stepped into the middle of it. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a hero for doing this but I won’t argue if some of you say it in the comments.
With that lighthearted disclaimer out of the way, I will try to be as tasteful as possible with my criticism, touching on people at the gym who bother both the long-time gym bodies and the people just trying to make a change in their life. There is enough room for all of us, and if you keep these things in mind you won’t be the person at the gym who other people look at through the corner of their eyes.
15. Not Wearing Headphones
This one doesn’t extend to all non-headphone wearers at all. On the contrary, this point is actually looking out for them. If you want to listen to the crappy pop music that the gym plays (personal problem), then you do you. Everyone has had their phone die or headphones break, and there’s nothing wrong with not wearing headphones. This is directed at the people who blast the music from their phone with no headphones on. Now, not only do we need to suffer through your crappy taste in music, but now we have to hear the chaos that occurs when your music battles the gym’s music. If you don’t have headphones or if your headphones need to charge, then you don’t get to listen to your music at the gym. It’s as simple as that. I’ve skipped the gym before because my headphones were dead and I couldn’t listen to my music; it’s just something you have to deal with in your own way. Don’t pollute the gym with your music just because you think it’s good. It probably isn’t.
14. Not Respecting The Superset
A lot of items on this list are going to concern the meatheads in the gym; those people who have the bodies you’ll never attain. This one, though, is probably more common with those who don’t frequent the gym as often as others. For those who don’t know, a superset is, “a set that includes another set or sets,” according to Google. Real spot-on definition there…
A superset is when a person does one exercise, then another exercise immediately after before resting. This sometimes means that a person will be using the lat-pulldown machine and the cables at the same time. There are few things more annoying than having someone jump on to a machine/bench when you’re clearly still using it. Just the other day, I had my water bottle sitting on the middle of a bench. A guy came up and instead of using the empty bench next to mine, he put my water bottle on the floor and started using the bench with a dumbell on either side. Don’t be that guy. Respect the superset.
13. Not Letting Others Work-In
I feel as though I have to add this one because of the above item, “Not Respecting the Superset.” A lot of people will actually have the opposite view, that the people preforming the supersets are the douchey ones. A superset is a great way to elevate your heart rate at the same time as lifting weights, but there is a certain amount of courtesy involved. If you’re using the only available machine or bench, make sure to allow others to work in with you. You shouldn’t be stunting other people’s workouts just so you can use three or four items at a time. If someone comes up and asks how many sets you have left, courtesy dictates that you should offer them the opportunity to work-in with you. They’ll usually decline, but it’s courtesy to ask. That being send, I tend to think there should be enough versatility in your workout to allow for a change if someone is using the equipment you want.
12. Putting Weights In Random Places
Putting weights back is probably number 1 in expected gym courtesy. It’s not even just the gym, it’s life; if you take something you put it back where you found it. It’s as simple as that. Granted, some gyms are chaos. My gym in college was a madhouse when it came to where the dumbells were. You could spend twenty minutes walking around looking for a 25. Most gyms, though, have a very neat and organized weight situation. It bugs the hell out of me when I see someone just put their weight in the closest open slot. If everyone did that, then no one would know where any of the weights are. Pick up after yourself and put things back where you found them. It’s not too much to ask.
11. Chilling On Equipment
This one was a later addition to the list, and it’s one of the biggest pet-peeves I have about the gym. Last night was the dreaded leg day for me. I had a good workout, and wanted to finish with a little calf work. There was a man and a woman, just hanging out, looking at their phones, sitting on both calf machines. If you’re not working out, don’t take up space that others could possibly use. I’ve seen people just walk around and socialize, just sitting on machines and talking to their friends. It costs a good amount of money for a membership at most gyms (I’m not talking about Planet Fitness. That’s not a gym, it’s a snowflake factory). Why would you waste your money if you’re not going to work? The gym is for working. Keep your head in the game and don’t get in the way of people who are trying to get it done.
10. Grunting Like Crazy
Strong exhales and light grunting is not a problem at all. Some grunts come out unintentionally loud, and heavy weight may receive a larger and more audible grunt. All of these things are acceptable, but there is a limit to how much one should be grunting before you get put in the “alright, dude” category. The most common culprits are those who are lifting a crazy amount of weight. It’s hard to really criticize someone squatting 400 lbs for grunting too loud, but if you can be heard over the sound of loud music in another person’s headphones then there is a problem. People who grunt and scream when they’re lifting weights are doing it for attention, plain and simple. They’re saying, “Hey look how much weight I’m lifting. Aren’t you impressed.” No, I’m not impressed. Be quiet or I’ll keep rolling my eyes and minding my own business because I’m not about to say anything to the 300 lb alpha-male squatting a small car.
9. Scantily Clad
We over here at The Richest appreciate the hell out of a good body. On a given day, you’ll likely see at least five new articles go up relating to the body of a certain celebrity. I don’t hate it, and I’m definitely an admirer of a stunning figure. The gym, however, is supposed to be somewhat of a safe place. This judgmental article aside, the gym is a place where you shouldn’t really care about what others think. My motto is, “I don’t care what I look like in the gym, I care what I look like outside of the gym.”
I want to be careful here, because I have no beef with cutoff t-shirts and tank tops, but there should be at least a semblance of a dress code in the gym. I’ve seen girls in nothing but a sports bra and tight, short, workout shorts. I’ve seen guys with basically no shirt at all and equally short-shorts, showing off their massive quads. Whenever I see these people I just groan. We get it dude, you’re jacked. People would still know you’re jacked if you put on sweatpants and a t-shirt.
8. Monopolizing The Water Fountain
I feel like I’m with the majority here when I say that the walk to and from the water fountains is one of the best things to do at the gym. You get to strut around a little bit, and take a well deserved break from your workout. I always bring a bottle of water, but many people forget or just rely on the water fountain for their hydration. Whenever I’m filling my bottle, though, I always make sure to let others without water bottles go ahead of me. Filling a water bottle takes a fair amount of time (especially at my gym, the water pressure is trash), and I don’t want to disrupt the flow of other people’s workouts. Sometimes, though I’ll see someone with a huge water bottle, filling it to the brim and causing a line of three or more people at the fountain. There should never be this kind of a traffic jam at the water fountain. Let the people who just want a sip go first and fill your bottle when you’re not holding everyone up.
7. Unwanted Training
I have a very strict policy when it comes to giving advice to people at the gym. Unless you know the person or are a certified personal trainer, shut up and pay attention to yourself. People are always going to be doing exercises the wrong way, that’s how everyone starts. There’s no need to inject yourself into someone else’s workout and basically tell them they have no idea what they’re doing. It’s awkward for everyone involved, and if you don’t feel the awkwardness then the problem is with you, not them. People will learn how to do the work correctly or they won’t see results. That’s their problem and their journey, and unless they’re your friend you should let them fail (and possibly do irreparable damage to their spine).
6. Working Out In Front Of The Dumbell Rack
The dumbell rack is one of the most popular spaces in most gyms. There’s always traffic in those areas, but there always seems to be one or two people who decide to curl their weights right in front of the dumbells. Take your weights back to your bench or secluded area and lift them there. Don’t stand in everyone’s way while you’re working your glamour muscles. More often than not, the person obstructing the walking path is lifting a smaller amount of weight, but they are affecting the people who have to put their 100 lb dumbells back on the rack. It’s hard to keep a grip on those bad boys, let alone wait for some knucklehead to move out of the way so you can put them back. Clear a walking space and you won’t have your own set interrupted when the guy next to you wants to put his weights back.
5. Too Much Cologne/Perfume
This one is a pickle because it can go either way. We’ve all been next to the really stinky guy who you wish put on an extra layer of deodorant, but the opposite extreme may even be worse. People sweat at the gym, and sweaty people don’t smell great. I have no problem with the logic of that. What really annoys me is when people lather on their cologne of perfume before they hit the gym. There’s nothing worse than being on the verge of puking or even just out of breath, and catching a nose-full of someones flowery stink. The gym is the time for no smells/subtle smells. People are so self conscious that they don’t want strangers to know they smell bad when they sweat. Everyone smells bad when they sweat. Getting smacked in the face with your favorite brand of perfume is one of the most nauseating things you can smell when you’re pushing yourself to the limit at the gym. Just lay off the perfume, we’re all in this together.
4. Gym PDA
Public displays of affection is always an uncomfortable thing to watch. There’s never a good time to see a couple jamming their happiness down your throat, but the gym may be the least welcome place to see this. Couples working out together isn’t a bad visual, but when they take it too far and start cuddling and smooching right on the gym floor it’s completely unwelcome. It seems as though it is all to prove a point. They’re saying, “Hey guys, we’re together,” aka, “stop looking at my significant other they’re taken.” Again, I have no problem with couples working out together and I’ve seen many functional workout couples in my time. I’d say that any healthy gym couple would agree with me; that there is no need to flaunt your relationship to the other people at the gym. Work on your bodies and smooch on your own time. I don’t want my crippling loneliness thrown in my face while I’m trying to develop the aesthetic tools to attract a mate.
3. Curling On The Squat Rack
I don’t know about your gym, but mine only has two squat racks. One of them has rubber weights, so that one is used for a lot of deadlifting as well. The squat racks get a lot of use, especially for those who don’t want to have chicken legs. If you go to a gym with a bunch of squat racks, then this douche trait is not applicable, but for most of us this isn’t the case. There are quite a few exercises that I would deem appropriate for the squat racks: anything involving legs, deadlifts and deadlift variations and shoulder press. Notice that this does NOT include bicep curls. You can curl, literally, anywhere else in the gym. There is no need to take up one of the few places people can do actual, functioning lifts to work important muscles that don’t show up in mirror selfies. Move your glamour muscles to the corner, this space be for real lifts.
2. Stacking On Too Much Weight
This is an epidemic in gyms across America right now: people lifting to impress other people at the gym. Again, I’ll reference my mindset when I’m there: work for what you look like outside the gym, not in the gym. If you can’t lift the weight, don’t put on that much weight. Apart from the fact that these people are begging for an injury, it just looks so stupid. There’s a guy at my gym who does this with bench press. He’s a big guy, and can lift a fair amount of weight. When he “maxes out,” though, he throws on almost 300 pounds and proceeds to slightly bend his elbows and then bring it back up. Does he not understand that he just looks like a tool? He clearly can’t lift this much, which isn’t even an insult it’s just a fact. Lift the weight you can lift, and don’t stack on the weight just for an Instagram pic of the bar. We can all see that you aren’t strong enough to lift that.
1. Taking Mirror Selfies
Taking pictures of yourself at the gym is a cardinal sin in my book. Selfies like this are only acceptable in your room, bathroom, and empty locker room. All other places are strictly off-limits. If the gym is almost completely empty and no one can see you: I’ll allow it. If you’re in the middle of the floor and flexing in the mirror? Lifetime ban. Not only are you making yourself a spectacle and making less muscular people feel insecure, but you’re publicly announcing that you’re the gym douche who needs to show how hard you work by snapping pics in the middle of your shoulder workout. Taking pictures of the bar is equally bannable, but it’s much more discrete and a lot harder to detect. There should be a way to tell if anyone opens their camera, Snapchat or Instagram at the gym and immediately ban them. I’ve actually walked in on a guy taking a shirtless selfie in the locker room and he tried to hide what he was doing in shame. That’s the only appropriate response.