So, the holidays have been and gone, and hopefully you enjoyed yourself, had an awesome time, and ate and drank way too much. If that is the case then you’re probably itching to get back to normality, to start eating clean again, and to start killing your workouts in the gym. The next few weeks are going to be some of the busiest weeks of the year for your local gym, as people from all across town convince themselves that they’re going to lose their holiday weight and continue working out for the rest of the year. Hey, we hope they stick to their goals and reach their goal weight, improve their fitness, and have a heck of a time in the process. Sadly, many of the faces you see in the gym in January will only be in the gym in January, as a lot will unfortunately lose interest and motivation. You yourself may even be new to the gym, and if so, make sure you pay attention to the following article. Gyms worldwide are filled with all kinds of characters, some of which are pretty darned annoying. The last thing we want is for you to be “that annoying person” at the gym, which is why we’ll now be looking at some typical characters you are likely to encounter in the gym, and at why you should make sure you don’t become of these people yourself.
The ‘Disco Muscle’ guy
When people refer to Disco Muscles, or perhaps Bar Bodies, they are basically referring to parts of the anatomy that are typically on display when people hit the bars and clubs to try to pick up chicks on the weekend. Disco muscles are generally chest, biceps, and perhaps a little triceps in some rare instances. Why these muscles? Well, basically, the main reason for this is because these are the muscles you can show off when you wear a vastly undersized t-shirt or tank top that is so tight it cuts off the circulation to other parts of your body. The disco muscle guy can be seen in the gym Monday to Friday, where inexplicably, every single day seems to be chest and arm day. You may see him busting out some shoulder presses or lat-pulldowns every now and then, but you’ll never see him squatting or training legs. You’ll also typically see him dressed to the nines on his way to the bar, curling dumbbells and EZ bars like his life depends on it, so he can get a good pump before he heads out to the club.
The smelly guy
If you need us to explain to you why being known as the ‘smelly guy’ is considered a bad thing then, to be quite honest, you need to address your personal hygiene and your outlook on life pretty sharpish. Most gyms have at least one smelly guy, and yes, it is usually a guy, although occasionally you will find a smelly gal as well. This is the guy that wears the same gym gear every day, and he doesn’t wash it because in his words ‘it’ll only get dirty tomorrow anyways’. This guy typically smells of stale sweat and BO, though occasionally he may try to mask his scent by dousing himself with deodorant. This technique doesn’t work as he now usually smells like a guy with BO who has tried to cover his smell of BO with deodorant. There is no excuse for not bathing or washing your gym gear, so get your rear end into the shower and don’t forget to throw your gym kit into the wash before bed.
The hardcore powerlifter
Don’t get us wrong, strongmen and powerlifters are insanely talented and dedicated athletes that accomplish feats of strength that most of us can only ever dream of. There are some truly amazing hardcore powerlifting gyms in the world, with insanely heavy machinery and equipment that will provide even the strongest of men with an incredibly taxing workout. The problem is that there are also gyms with relatively light weights and pieces of equipment, that powerlifters and strongmen will try to utilize anyways, causing other gym members quite the inconvenience. We get it, you’re strong, but that doesn’t mean that you should steal every 45 plate in the gym so that you can try to max out your deadlift in the corner. You also shouldn’t be deadlifting in a commercial gym with no platform, if it sounds like the entire floor is going to collapse at any minute. Train hard by all means, but remember to think of other gym members, and if you are desperate to train heavy, consider looking for a new gym that can accommodate your needs instead.
The towel claimer
Head on vacation to Europe in the summer and every single morning you’ll see sunbeds in the hotel by the pool, draped in towels that holiday makers have used to claim the sunbed as their own. Head to certain gyms and the same principle will apply to benches and machines, and it can be pretty annoying. If you’re about to use a bench or machine then by all means throw your towel down as it will help catch your sweat. Don’t however, throw your towel down to ‘reserve’ a bench or machine as you walk away to use something else. If you’re about to use something then down goes your towel, if you plan on using something in 10 minutes or so, but are worried somebody else may jump in before then, well unfortunately that’s just tough luck and you’ll have to wait like everybody else.
The Instagram trainer
Social media’s a wonderful tool if used correctly, and it has certainly helped many a jacked young individual gain sponsorship, TV deals, and millions upon millions of followers and online PT clients. The problem nowadays is that anybody with a half decent physique now thinks that they’re the next celebrity personal trainer and so they utilize smart phones and cameras to awkwardly document their workouts in a bid to impress their fans online and to show how professional and dedicated they are. The problem is that they don’t look dedicated or professional, they look like a delusional, vain, and arrogant individual chatting nonsense to their phone’s front-facing camera, when they should be working out and getting out of your way so that you can use the bench that they’ve been hogging as they try to sound professional and knowledgeable as they explain, in great length, how you should be performing a barbell bench press. The Instagram trainer films videos of him, or her, self, working out, or sometimes they’ll get their buddy to do the filming for them, as they return the favour. You’ll instantly know the Instagram trainer because he’ll be talking incessantly about how dedicated he is, he’ll be wearing Gym Shark gear like it’s going out of style, and he’ll be rambling on using words like ‘hypertrophy’ and ‘atrophy’ in a bid to make it sound like he graduated from Harvard with a masters in sports science.
The attention seeker
When you train hard and intensely you’re busting your butt and so a little grunting and straining is not only acceptable, it is to be expected. Some guys and gals however, whether through insecurity or pure narcissism, have to be the centre of attention and so they make a point of screaming through every single working set, and slamming the weights down as hard as they can just to show everybody else in the gym how strong they are. This gets them attention, but not the attention they want. They want others to be envious of how strong and dedicated they are, but instead, all everybody else is thinking is how much of an idiot they are making themselves look. By all means grunt and perhaps even shout slightly if you’re really pushing yourself and feel it will help, but don’t do it purely for attention because you are just making yourself look like an idiot.
The out of shape advice-giver
Being out of shape is not an issue, that can be addressed and the fact that you are in the gym shows that you are doing that. However, being out of shape and deliberately trying to give advice to somebody in much better shape than you, just to try to make yourself feel better about yourself and to feel superior to them, well, that’s just jerky. Most gyms have guys with big guts, wearing undersized vests because once upon a time, they had a good physique. The years however, have not been kind to them and their physique is now a mere shell of its former self. Despite this however, they’re still desperate to cling onto their youth and so they refuse to accept how out of shape they now are, and so they dress how they did way back when. There is nothing wrong with trying to help others, but the out of shape advice-giver gives his advice for all of the wrong reasons. He looks for any opportunity to give advice to try to make himself feel superior, and he latches onto whatever he can in a bid to try to make himself sound superior, knowledgeable, and important. Say for example, a young guy with a great physique is performing EZ bar curls to failure, by the time he reaches fatigue, his form may suffer slightly. His previous 10 reps have been perfect, and he obviously knows how to perform the exercise correctly. As he fatigues he may cheat slightly and perhaps rock to gain momentum to get that final rep. Arnold Schwarzenegger himself would often cheat at the end of his barbell sets, and he certainly knew what he was doing. The out of shape advice-giver however, has been watching his younger and fitter counterpart from across the gym, just waiting for him to slip up and show any sign of weakness. This ‘cheat curl’ at the end of his set gives him the perfect opportunity, and he instantly punches. Before the young buck has even had time to set the bar down, the out of shape advice-giver is on him, offering his passive-aggressive advice. ‘Hey’ he says patronizingly ‘I couldn’t help but notice you were leaning back and rocking slightly just now, if you keep your back straight and tuck your elbows in at your sides (exactly like the young buck did for his previous 10 reps), you’ll hit the biceps and get a better contraction’. With that, his work is done and he, in his own mind, has set the younger, fitter, stronger, and better, young buck in his place.
Pretty much every gym in the world has some form of judger, and boy are they annoying. The judger is the guy or gal that tries to make others feel guilty for daring to see their friends, eat nice food, drink alcohol, and generally have a life outside of the gym. The judger virtually lives in the gym, they train twice a day, 7 days per week, and they post stupid and arrogant motivational quotes on their social media pages saying things like ‘While you’re out partying and destroying your liver, I’m in the gym building a better body’ or ‘nothing tastes as great as skinny feels’. They’re friendly enough, but they’re very close-minded and they can’t possibly see how anybody would dare to not dedicate every waking minute of their adult life to health and fitness. Deep down they’re insecure and their judgemental ways don’t end in the gym either. If you’re unfortunate enough to be invited out for a meal with them, just be ready to bite your tongue as they gasp in horror at your deliciously greasy meal as they tuck into their steamed chicken salad and try not to have a meltdown because it doesn’t fit into their daily macros. They’ll almost certainly also try to verbally justify their meal choice for being “not on plan” as they continuously babble on about how they’ll have to work ‘twice as hard in the gym tomorrow’ when in reality, nobody gives a damn.