The gym at peak hours can be an interesting place full of...interesting people.
If you are a regular at the gym, you are bound to run into one or more of these types of people that make the gym an interesting and occasionally distracting place. They are not just in your gym, they are in every gym.
In fact, I bet you've seen at least one of these types of people if you’ve been to the gym in the past few days.
1. The Coach
You don’t have to look for these individuals in the gym. They find you! One minute you are working out and the next you have someone giving you a lesson on the finer points of feeling the muscles work on a biceps curl.
These “experts” often find the most inconvenient time to interrupt your workout to discuss the minutia of your program and are happy to point out everything that you are doing incorrectly.
Don’t be the unwanted coach. Remember that unwanted advice is viewed as criticism, and is often taken as an insult. Obviously, if someone’s safety is on the line, stop them before they hurt themselves. Other than that, if you feel the urge to critique someone on their squat, find a better time to approach them than in the middle of their workout.
2. The Howler
There is never any doubt when this person is working out as you walk through the doors of the gym because you can always hear them before you see them. Whether it is grunts, moans, screams, or cursing, every gym has a howler. In fact, Planet Fitness has created a successful business model by throwing howlers out!
There is a difference between straining under a heavy barbell and letting out a grunt that causes other people in the gym to flinch! Don’t be the guy drawing attention to himself because of the ridiculous noise he is making. Be the one who gets attention because you are lifting a crazy amount weight easily with proper form!
3. The Tornado
If you have been in the gym long enough, you have no doubt seen the person surrounded by 10 different pairs of dumbbells, or by various weight plates thrown all over the floor around the ends of a barbell. It looks as if a twister touched down in the gym next to these people and ripped all the weights off the racks. Watch your step entering the area around these human tornados - the ground is quite treacherous and you run the risk of a dumbbell striking your foot!
Drop-sets are a great way to add additional intensity to your workout, but there is no need to remove every single dumbbell from the rack while you are striving to get a pump. I promise your gains will not leave you in the 20 seconds that it takes to swap your dumbbells for a lighter set.
If you are afraid that it will take too much time to swap dumbbells, I suggest using a machine where you can quickly adjust the weight by moving the pin on the weight stack up with no mess to be created and no one hating you for hogging every pair of dumbbells on the rack.
4. The Model
I’m not talking about Kate Upton. I am talking about the individual that you see snapping pictures of themselves in the mirror so they can post on social media. Some popular locations that you can find Models are locker rooms, in front of the dumbbell rack, or worse, in the squat racks that are right up against the gym mirrors.
It’s annoying when someone is using their phone on the gym floor, but it’s worse when they are using their phone to take pictures of themselves in the mirror. If you are not a model and the gym isn’t closed for a photo shoot, keep your phone in your gym bag or your pocket if you use it for music.
5. The Gymnast
If your gym has a multi-station with a pull-up bar in the middle of it, you will often see this person performing muscle-ups or some other crazy swinging variation of a pull up. In addition to making it impossible to perform cable exercises on the multi station, you can also see this person scuffing up the gym walls by performing handstand pushups.
Training with bodyweight is great. Scuffing up the wall and inappropriately swinging off of equipment is not. If you want to perform these exercises, join a cross training gym or go to a park and use the pull-up bars that are set in the ground with concrete next to the running path. A crowded commercial gym is not the place to perform these stunts.
6. The Ninja
Technically, you should never really see a ninja. But I am speaking of the individual that you see shadow boxing in the mirrors. Every gym has a shadow boxing ninja that fights with imaginary opponents instead of joining a boxing or MMA gym and sparring against real opponents.
If this describes you and you desire to be a ninja, go train at a facility that has space for you to do ninja things! Combat athletes are some of the pound-for-pound toughest, most fit people in the world and their training is brutal. The weight room floor is for weight training. Use your time in the gym to get stronger and save the fighting for the ring or the mat.
7. The Soloist
Almost everyone in the gym these days wears headphones during their workout. Almost, but not everyone. If you have trained without headphones, you have no doubt seen and heard the soloist at your gym. These people are listening to their music and singing right along so that everyone else in the gym knows what they are listening to.You may see them break out a dance move here and there when one of their jams comes on.
If you are this person and you want to gift everyone with your version of motivating music, that’s fine. If you want to dance a little, so be it. Are you still working out? Are you sure? If you can sing and dance while you are at the gym, is your workout being performed with the proper intensity or are you just wasting your time?
8. The Wanderer
You are bound to see this person if you have been a regular at the gym for a couple of weeks. You can identify them by the speed at which they are walking and by how often they stop at various machines to read the diagram posted on the sides.
Often times they are new members that have never touched a weight in their life and are in need of guidance. You should help these people. Remember that you were in their shoes once when you first started working out. If you don’t feel like helping them or you don’t want to seem like an unwelcome coach, then point them out to the personal trainer that is working the gym floor. It’s their job to make sure that members are not lost when they are working out.
9. The Gear Aficionado
This individual is impossible to miss. You will see them walking around with every kind of gym accessory that has ever been imagined. Items including but not limited to: belts, knee wraps, knee sleeves, wrist wraps, lifting straps, altitude training masks, compression gear, and more. The use of these items individually does not identify them. It's the combination of any two or more of these items being used at the same time that will make these individuals stand out.
Don’t become a Gear Aficionado. Learn about the proper use of the equipment that you are about to invest in, and make sure that the gear that you buy supports your goals. Don’t be the one looking like you walked into the weight training section of a sporting goods store and bought all of it.
10. The Mixologist
If you have ever walked across the gym floor and walked through a puddle of something sticky, you have been a victim of the mixologist. You can identify them easily because they usually carry around a shaker cup with a neon glowing liquid inside. In the locker room you can usually see the mixologist dumping large volumes of powder into their mixers and find piles of white powder where they have missed their cup.
If you use an intra-workout drink, make sure that you use a container that is not going to spill the contents if it gets accidentally kicked, and if you must mix your drinks at the gym, make sure that all of the powder makes it into the cup. There is nothing worse than your shoes sticking to the floor because there is a sticky, mystery liquid someone has spilled on the floor.
This has been a public service announcement
We all love the gym and it's ok to laugh if you know or have been one of the people described above! If you do know someone who personifies any of the stereotypes described above, or you are one of these people, just remember to be courteous to the other gym members around you!
Clean up after yourself, don’t hog equipment, respect the equipment and gym staff, take time to learn and get proper instruction, and leave your ego at the door when you come to train. Above all else, enjoy the process of training and getting stronger!