For those of you who are gym rats like I am – you’ll recognize these annoying habits people have in the gym, so please read on and commiserate. For those of you who are newbies or possibly prospective weight-room goers, then these will help you navigate the Dont’s of the gym. Also, for any men readers out there, the last few could possibly serve as love advice.
- Not unracking your weights. This is a given to those of us who live in the weight room. It very much is not for people new to the gym. Or, I guess, lazy people who are too exhausted to put the weights away that they’ve just used. Sure, it’s not the end of the world, but if someone needs to get in and out of the gym, this is a time burner that easily could have been avoided. Even worse, sometimes the people who come after you aren’t as strong as you and actually can’t do it. I see people leave 45-pound plates on barbells all the time. What about that newbie chick who wants to use the bar alone? This happened to me at my old gym with 100-pound plates. I can’t lift that from chest height. And there were three on each side. I was too proud to ask for help, so I just did something else. Don’t be that guy/girl.
- Hogging all the weights at the same time. I like to do a lot of supersets, so I know this is necessary sometimes, but being lazy and not putting them back before moving onto your next set is just not cool. Even with super sets, try to limit them to two exercises so you’re not that guy. This also applies to the guy in the gym who’s doing a CrossFit workout in a normal weight room. Sir, you’re not allowed to use an entire cable machine, pull-up bar, barbell, plates, dumbbells and jumprope all at the same time. Especially not at 6 p.m. when everyone else is crammed in there. This happened to me and I just started using the cable machine he was using while he was off doing deadlifts. Sorry not sorry. (The next few are mostly geared toward men, so apologies there, but women will definitely understand these)
- Hitting on someone/chatting them up while they’re in the middle of a set. I once had someone interrupt me mid crunch. MID CRUNCH. I wish I could tell you how many times this has happened to me. Less bad but annoying in a different way is doing this in between sets. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t make friends with people at your gym – by all means! But if you want to chat with someone, then try to respect their rest time. If I only want to rest for a minute, then I’m going to get annoyed when you ask me what I do for a living two minutes into “Hey, can I use that bench?” More to come on the “hitting on people” note at the end.
- Giving advice to someone who didn’t ask for it. That’s what trainers are there for. If someone is going to actually hurt themselves doing something incorrectly, then trainers should be the ones to spot it and suggest a correction. Again, this is probably just a ploy by the person to hit on you, but in what world is a girl going to say “oh, thanks for criticizing me, let’s go out later?” There are a lot of insecure people in the gym. Even if you think you’d be incredibly helpful, this is a no no and will probably deflate his/her ego.
- Asking a woman how she got into weight lifting or asking her what she’s training for. If this is a ploy to hit on someone, then it’s better than the above method, but it’s pretty sexist. You wouldn’t ask your bro why he likes to lift weights or who “got him into it.” Because she likes to be badass, strong, healthy and look good naked. Just like you.
In terms of hitting on women at the gym, I have to say I get it. It’s a good place to meet people who care about fitness and probably live/work around you. Just keep a couple of things in mind. First, no matter if she’s single or not, she’s going to be standoffish. She’s surrounded by grunting men staring at her. Keep in mind that most women there absolutely do not want to be approached. Approach with caution and prepare for the worst. Respect her rest time, don’t critique her form and don’t ask her how she got into weight lifting (as we’ve discussed). My advice? If you must approach, start with a simple “I see you here a lot, I’m ______.” This implies she’s awesome for hitting the gym often enough that people notice. Then proceed with caution and still prepare for the worst. Good luck, fellas.
Try to avoid these blunders and you’ll be golden. I don’t think anyone wants to be “that guy (or girl)” in the weight room.