There’s one key reason why most guys either don’t go or don’t continue to go to the gym, and the reason is confidence. All those muscle-bound guys’ benches pressing 400 pounds can be pretty intimidating. Not to mention all the equipment you may or may not be used correctly.
And that’s not even the scariest part. What about the hot gym bunnies doing squats in those yoga pants? I’m going to help you out here. Fear of judgment is the last thing to let keep you from attaining the physique you want, and more importantly, being a more healthy man.
Here are 5 steps to not looking like a total asshole in the gym.
Issue #1: That, “I have no idea what I’m doing,” look on your face.
Guys who’ve been training a while can spot a newbie a mile away. New guys tend to have an, “I have no idea what I’m doing” look on their faces at all times.
Novices walk around pretty aimlessly in gyms. They walk up to a machine, look at the picture, and say, “this one looks good.” They then proceed to do a million reps on that machine before searching for another good-looking machine.
Don’t be that guy. Take some time and find a particular training plan online. Buy yourself a small notebook and before showing up to train write down exactly what you are going to do that day.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter all that much what the plan is. Yes, some workouts are better than others. But, beginners have an easy time building muscle and strength because their bodies have no idea how to deal with the stress of resistance training.
The inexperienced body then packs on muscle in response to the hell it was just put through. Also, having a specific plan will focus on you. Playing with your phone and creepily staring at gym bunnies stops quickly when you know the EXACT exercises, reps, and sets that need to be completed.
The Fix: Find a plan, and stick to it.
Learn More: Workouts and tips that are backed by research and created specifically for beginners.
Issue #2 “That guy is curling the 40-pound dumbbells. So I’ll curl the 40-pound dumbbells.”
Another mistake rookies often make is using weights too heavy for them, and everyone in the gym can see it.
Using weights that are too heavy stems from the confidence problem we already discussed. Beginners get too concerned with trying to mimic what the biggest guy in the weight room is doing.
News flash, those huge guys, once upon a time, were not huge. They built their bodies over the course of years and that’s what you have to do also. You should go to the gym with one purpose, to be better than you were in your last workout. You have no one to impress or show off for.
In fact, the advanced guys and girls in the gym will know that you are just slinging around weights for the sake of getting attention, which will make you look like an asshole. You don’t want to look like an asshole right?
The Fix: Pick a weight that is difficult, but will allow you to complete the prescribed amount of reps with a good exercise form.
Issue #3 “I’m done with this machine.” *skips to the next machine*
Another key mistake that a lot of newbies (and assholes) make, is not cleaning up behind themselves. Cleaning up behind yourself involves two things: wiping off your equipment (if you sweat on the machine) and putting up your weights.
You’re a man, and if you’re working hard in the weight room, you’re going to be sweating. Sweating all over a machine and then going about your merry way is not only rude, but it’s also unsanitary. No one wants to clean up after a grown man, and no one should.
Most gyms these days have cleaning supplies around for people to use (to prevent staph infections). After you’re done, grab whatever spray and paper towels your gym has and wipe off the machine you used. Not only will you not look like an asshole, but the gym staff will greatly appreciate the extra effort.
Also, when using free weights (barbells and dumbbells), make sure to put them up when you’re done. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone bench press a bunch of weight and then walk off. Not putting your weights up is extremely inconsiderate. The person who would like to use the weights after you is going to have to first clean up a mess and then proceed with their workout, which is annoying for obvious reasons.
The Fix: Wipe up your sweat and put up your weights!
Issue #4 This is MY machine!
Fixing this problem will take a bit of social intelligence on your part, but here’s what to look for. When someone asks, “how many sets do you have left,” what they really want to know is, “how long until I can use the equipment you’re using right now?”
Instead of saying, “I’ve got five sets,” say, “I’ve got five left, but you can work in with me if you’d like.”
Basically, you’d be telling the person you are willing to share the equipment with them, which will be greatly welcomed by other people (and is a good way to make new friends).
A lot of folks will say, “no, that’s ok, I’ll wait.” But it doesn’t really matter what they say. You’ve presented yourself as a friendly person and in the future the other guy more open to sharing with you.
There will also be times when you are resting between sets and notice that someone keeps looking at you. It’s probably not because you’re so handsome (although, it might be). That person is more than likely waiting for you to get done so they can hop on the machine you’re using.
Instead of getting weirded out because someone is continuously staring at you, ask if they are waiting for your machine. If they say yes, tell them they can work with you. If they say no, then they’re looking at you because you’re handsome. You handsome devil.
The Fix: Always offer to share with other people at the gym.
Issue #5 Exercising in front of the dumbbell rack
Training in front of the dumbbell rack is the number one mistake that novices (and grade-a assholes) make, and it’s one of the worst.
Exercising specifically in front of the dumbbell rack creates all kinds of logistic issues like,
-People will probably need to put dumbbells back on the rack, which they can’t do because someone’s standing there.
-If someone needs to grab weights from the rack, they can’t, because someone’s in the way.
-Next, you’re taking up a lot of precious mirror space, and people like to be able to see themselves in the mirror.
-There’s also the issue of sweating all over the other dumbbells, which is just nasty.
The Fix: Grab the weights you need, and go to an area that is out of the way of other people. Allowing other people to move freely is way more tactful, and not asshole-ish in the slightest.
Here’s a quick summary of the 5 steps to not being a gym asshole
- Have a plan.
- Beginners tend to walk around aimlessly.
- Having a plan will focus you on the task at hand.
- Don’t lift too heavy
- You have nothing to prove.
- People will recognize that you are showing off and not training.
- Clean up your damn equipment.
- Not putting up your weight causes unnecessary work for other people.
- Not cleaning your sweat off of a machine is unsanitary.
- Sharing is caring.
- Always offer to let someone share a machine with you.
- Don’t exercise in front of the dumbbell rack.
- You’re in the way of other people.
- You’re taking up precious mirror space.