I was having conversation with my younger brother; to be honest I have no idea what it was about. I had just mentioned something I was going to do, something cheesy, yet in my mind harmless, and he uttered these words to me: “don’t be that guy.” Which guy you ask? The one who does something cheesy, and knows it (or should), yet keeps on doing it. Once I started thinking about it, my mind drifted to the gym. I thought about the gyms I’ve belonged to and some of the people I’ve had the displeasure of working out alongside.
We’ve all seen them, worked out next to them, and complained to our buddies about them — Those guys who do things in the gym that are dangerous, worthless, annoying or just plain stupid. For all the talk about gym etiquette and all the information available on exercise form, these guys somehow still don’t get it and are constantly annoying or amusing us.
You’ve probably seen one, know one, or hell, you may even be one. Don’t think because you’re not a newbie, you’re immune – most of the people I see committing these sins have been at it for a while, some even have decent builds. Take a look below and see if you recognize anyone:
* Barbody – The most common gym lurker. As the name implies, this guy works on muscles to show off at the bar, with purpose of impressing chicks or intimidating pencil necks. Usually, it’s a young guy between 15-25 years old, who’s at the gym working on every upper body muscle he can see from the front. The routine consists of endless curls, bench presses, pushdowns and seated presses. Once in a while you see him throw in a few lat pull downs and crunches just for fun.
* Chat boy – This type of guy is rare, but you don’t want to run into him. Chat boy wants to discuss lifting, eating, or life in general with you, often in great detail. Now, I have nothing against conversation, especially workout talk, but chat boy doesn’t know when to stop and turns a one-hour workout into two.
* The Sharp Dressed Man – Believe me, not every girl is going crazy for this guy. I’ve seen him many times, and I still don’t get it. His lifting attire: t-shirt, dress pants, and loafers. I mean frigging loafers? One workout I could understand, but nobody forgets their gym bag everyday.
* Stanky – Stanky, for lack of a better term, stank. It wasn’t a natural,”I just busted my ass and sweated a fountain” type of odor – it was more of a festering pile of sewage smell that assaulted the nose. I’m pretty sure that he didn’t wash himself, his gym clothes, his underwear — or most likely all three. I could smell him coming and it was bad enough that if he worked next to me, I would finish what I was doing quickly and run for oxygen.
* Rocky Jr. – I’m all for boxing, I think it’s a great way to stay fit and relieve tension. What I don’t get is the guy shadowboxing in front of the dumbbells. My gym has no boxing equipment, not even a place to jump rope, yet Rocky comes here three times a week to get ready for Apollo. Here’s a hint: it’s not that kind of gym.
* Mutterer – This guy loads the bar up with way too much weight, eekes out 3 reps with bad form and then mutters “shit”, loudly, after his set prematurely ends. He’s under the impression that everyone CARES how much he’s lifting and wants us to know that any other day he could have made the lift. If you see this, make sure to avoid eye contact, otherwise you’ll end up hearing a lengthy, bullshit explanation for the travesty you just witnessed.
* Tightpants – This is self-explanatory. If you even think this might apply to you, buy some new pants. NOW!
* Mr. Scream – No matter what weight this guy is using, or what rep he’s on, he feels the need to share his pain with us. A certain amount of noise is understandable, and even expected on certain movements (i.e. squats), but nobody wants to hear you yell through 4 sets of pushdowns.
* The Hurler – Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with puking. This guy feels the need to launch any weight he’s just finished using, especially dumbbells, onto the floor. Not only is this a hazard for anyone near him, it breaks down the dumbbells. Losing control when lowering weights might happen once in while, but launching the weights so everyone can look and see how much you used is pathetic.
* The Tag Team – I thought this one was over-stated by everyone, until I joined my latest gym. The team, as the name implies, is actually two guys working together to lift the same weight. This is almost always on the bench press, where one guy loads the bar up and his friend helps him pull every rep after the second one. I’ve even seen instances where a guy was helped on all of his reps. Rhetorical question time: If you need help to bench 400 lbs, do you really bench 400?
* The Entourage – Another one that borders on cliché: You’ve seen this: a group of guys –– usually high school to early 20’s – lifting together. They almost always congregate at the bench or preacher station. They hog up this area without seeming to do any work. They’re more interested in what party they’re going to or which chick they’re trying to score with. Lord help you if you want to bench when they’re around.
* Cable Guy – This guy, for one reason or another, LIVES by the cable stack. Maybe he thinks they’re better or safer or maybe he just misses his Bowflex. Either way, cable cross-overs, cable curls, cable crunches and cable lateral raises do not a workout make.
* The Jackass – I couldn’t think of more appropriate name for the guy who loads up a bar or machine, does his reps and leaves it. The next person is then stuck with the task of unloading the 300lbs his friend just helped him bench. I get pissed just thinking about it.
* Mr. Smith – Have you ever seen anyone base his entire workout around the Smith Machine? Most savvy lifters are well versed in the limitations (and evils) of the Smith machine. However, Mr. Smith treats it like a long lost relative and tries to spend as much time on or around it as possible. Bench press? Check. Squat? Check. Incline press? Check. Upright row and lean way back? Check. Extra shearing on his joints? Check. Injury? On it’s way.
* Mr. Clean… and Curl – Having invented a new exercise, the reverse hang-clean, Mr. Clean sports impressive strength and muscularity in the hips and lower back. Oh wait, he was curling…
* The Wanderer – This guy combines his love of walking with weightlifting. His routine: load the bar up, do a set, walk around the gym for 10 minutes and repeat 4 or 5 times. My favorite is when they load up a bar, leave it in the squat rack and come back and curl it. Same amount of time – twice the jackass.
* The Orthopedist’s Dream – Closely related to Mr. Smith (I’m sure they’ll end up in the same waiting room sooner or later) is the Dream. Let’s see: he squats onto a chair and bounces back up, deadlifts like he’s waiting to be mounted and benches with an arch you could drive a Mini Cooper through. Hey buddy, hear that crackling noise? It’s your spine.
* Captain Crunch – The last guy I saw like this was middle aged, paunchy and terrified of everyone in my gym. His claim to fame is doing 8 consecutive sets on the crunch machine, with a 5 second rest period in between. His answer when I asked him if I could work in: more crunches. I wonder if his waist has gotten any smaller?
* Dance Fever – Every time I see Dance in my gym he’s either on his way to, or coming out of an aerobic class. Sometimes I think he does it to meet chicks, but then I remember his stylin’ headband and Richard Simmons-like build. I’m all for cardiovascular fitness, but I believe that unless it involves hitting something, men do not belong in aerobic classes. The only Fonda you should even think about imitating is Peter, although I would not recommend his previous “supplementation.”
* Shortshorts – See Tightpants above. And, if they were once jeans, shoot yourself.
* Rack and Roller – This has to be seen to be believed: this guy goes to the dumbbell rack, picks the dumbbells off the rack, places them on the floor and then rolls them to whatever bench he’s working on. When he’s done, he rolls them back. It’s a good thing too – I mean I wouldn’t want him to exert himself.
* Charlie Bandana – Charlie shows up to the gym in clothes that would embarrass Hulk Hogan. Apparently, he learned everything he knows about gym attire from reading Flex … in 1986. The bandana, clown pants and shitkicker boots are bad enough, but it’s the silly muscle T-shirts (Fear This!) that really push him over the top. I’m sure he feels ultra hardcore, but he looks like a tool.
* Right Tackle – 20 years ago Right Tackle dominated the field on his high school football team. I know this because I’ve heard him tell his story at least 50 times. It’s either right before or right after he looks in your direction and says: “I used to lift more than this.” Every time a young guy with a decent build comes near him he asks, “You play football?” This inevitably leads a retelling of RT’s past glories. Hey buddy, leave the kids alone — it’s over.
* Treadswill – It’s bad enough to watch people bounce the bar off their chests and squat 2,” but now I have to see cheating during cardio?!?! Because walking at 3 MPH is apparently tiring and too stressful, Treadswill eases his pain by leaning onto the display column to support his bulbous form. What the hell’s wrong with you when even walking fast is too hard?
* The Scholar – I see guys carry bodybuilding mags around the gym all the time. Usually they’re trying to follow some bullshit 30 set routine; I feel bad for them but it doesn’t really bother me. What irritates me is the guy reading a book in between sets. You shouldn’t be able to talk between sets, much less have the ability to read a book. I mean, if you’re not going to put real effort in, then why bother in the first place? Last time I checked there were no studies showing that reading Dune is anabolic.
* Mr. Natswole – The biggest “natural” guy in the gym. I have no problems with gear, but watching moonface talk about the virtues of being natural and how it was training “balls to the wall” that got him big really gets to me. Nobody’s asking for a confession, but if you’re juicing don’t try to present yourself as something you’re not. Unless, of course, your name is Skip…
* Dumbellina – Okay, I know I said this would be about guys, but I’m sure at least one woman reads this site. Anyway, Dumbellina is the epitome of what women shouldn’t be doing in the gym. Her entire workout revolves around those tiny cast iron dumbbells that wouldn’t give a toddler a good workout. I’m not sure what’s she’s doing with them, but it looks like her goal is to one day flap her arms and take to the sky. One of these days, I expect to see her gracefully soaring over the parking lot. The good thing is, I’m sure those nasty weights won’t make her too big.
* Desperado – Every gym has at least one of these guys, whose sole purpose at the gym is to search for someone to rub up against. His habits of constantly leering at, hitting on, or “accidentally” bumping into the female members make him a nuisance. One of these days he’s going to bump the wrong girl and end with 25lb plate sticking in the side of his head.
* Baby Huey – Here’s one for the younger guys. Huey’s claim to fame is that he mocks all of his scrawny classmates at my gym for the weights they use. Being a skinny teenager is hard enough and I’m sure getting to the gym takes some balls for these guys. What they don’t need is verbal abuse from some doofus who just happened to be born big fat and strong. He’s another one that will eventually screw with wrong person and have his ass handed to him.
* Coach – Coach has somehow managed talk his girlfriend into going to the gym and letting him train her. Unfortunately, he thinks she needs to follow his “hardcore” training methods. It’s almost comical listening to him tell her that leg pressing is for sissies. It’s even funnier to listen to him correct her out loud for wanting to “tone up.” Hey pal, she doesn’t care if “getting toned” is a misnomer — she just wants to look good. She squats with better form than you anyway…
I could actually list another 20 of these dopes but I think you get the drift by now. Maybe you didn’t know or maybe you did and made excuses for yourself. Either way, do us all a favor and don’t be that guy.