Fitness: Don’t be ‘that guy’

So I’m at the gym, patiently waiting for someone to finish their sets on an incline bench, and eventually the guy wraps it up, grabs his keys and bolts for the door.

I go to that bench and observe what he left behind: A reservoir of head-sweat dripping down the bench from where is hair-gelled melon used to be.


I cleaned that crap up because it’s just nasty. I encourage you, whatever you do, please don’t be that guy.

That was just one of many annoying things people do in a gym. It got me to thinking. If you don’t want to be “that guy” (or girl), here’s a list of things to avoid:

Don’t drop, slam or clang the weights. Dropping weights on the floor, even if they’re big, just makes you look like an attention-seeking douchenozzle. Same thing with the unnecessary clanging on dumbbell presses and flies. Doesn’t matter if they weigh 80, 90, or 100 pounds. Don’t drop, slam or clang them.

Don’t hog three stations at once unless there’s no one there. You like cross training? Super sets? Fine. But if it’s busy, have some consideration for others who are waiting on you to remove your towel, sweatshirt or water bottle from multiple stations. If this is too much to ask, go get your circuit training in at a Crossfit gym where circuits are organized for a group.

Don’t yell and scream while you lift. Again, it just makes you look like a douche. Inhale, then exhale. A low-audible grunt is acceptable. A war cry is not.

Clothe yourself appropriately. I don’t care about fashion in the gym, but don’t be ripping off your shirt (dudes) or coming into the gym looking like a pole dancer (gals). T-shirt, tank, shorts. It ain’t hard.

When you’re grabbing a pair of dumbbells from the rack, pick them up and move an acceptable distance from said rack so you’re not blocking others from grabbing the weights you’re standing in front of. A minor sin, but annoying nonetheless.

Don’t do a set every five minutes, spending the in-between time yucking it up with your buddies, yacking on the phone or texting whoever. You’re defeating your own workout and hogging a station others could be using much more efficiently – and effectively.

Uh, maybe you should use less weight. Before you break your spine.

Don’t cheat. I mean, really. Bouncing the barbell off your chest while benching, doing half-squats, jerking your body around to muscle a weight up – don’t do it. You look stupid. You’ll hurt yourself. And you won’t get stronger. Use less weight and do it right. You’re not fooling anyone when you slam 405 pounds on the squat rack, lower yourself six inches and bounce back up.

On a similar vein, can we put a stake in the heart of all things kipping? You’re better off doing sets of five real pull-ups than sets of 25 kipping “muscle-ups.”

Pick up after yourself. Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, clean up your mess! If you drag out 5 pairs of dumbbells, put them all back where they belong. Did you use a lot of plates? Fine. Put ‘em back. Don’t leave some crazy mess that only a 5-year-old could dream up. You’re not leaving tips to the gym staff or other exercisers to pick up after you. Trashing out a gym floor and leaving the mess behind is the height of narcissistic douchebaggery.

Unless you can actually use the speed bag, leave it alone. There’s nothing more annoying than some wanna-be tough guy trying to be Rocky Balboa or Randy Couture while noisily fumbling around with a speed bag.

She’s being nice. She doesn’t want your advice, though.

Keep your opinions to yourself. Unsolicited advice to other exercisers is almost routinely unwanted. You annoy the person you’re talking to and make yourself look like a know-it-all. If the person wants advice, he/she will ask.

I’m sure there are more. Lots more. Let me know what they are.

And please. Don’t be that guy.

Bob Doucette

On Twitter @RMHigh7088


11 thoughts on “Fitness: Don’t be ‘that guy’

  1. How about don’t be the guy talking on the phone while sitting on a piece of equipment … for like 30 minutes!!!! I’ve never been so annoyed … or given someone the stank face that many times! 🙂

  2. I like crossfit for mixing things up and introducing me to exercises I’d never have done on my own, as well as stopping me from taking long breaks between exercises, but there is no way I’m listening to their mantra for lifting for speed, doing kip-up pullups, or that rotator cuff disaster waiting to happen called the sumo high pull.

  3. Pingback: Don’t be ‘that guy’ at the gym: Pure video gold « proactiveoutside

  4. This is an inspiring post. Here’s one that has really annoyed me lately: don’t ogle, sidle up to, or look longingly (and pitifully), at a woman working out at the gym on a FRIDAY. Just because it’s Friday and I happen to be there doesn’t mean I’m looking for a last minute date. You wanna talk douchebaggery Bob? Don’t ask me if there’s beer in my water bottle. I don’t want to go out with you for a beer; not if you were the last man on earth! Don’t be that guy; at least come up with something original. I belong to a FAMILY gym but you’d never know it. Well, now you’ve got me started Bob and I’m going to write my own post and steal your title but I’ll link back to you. Thank you!

  5. Pingback: Don’t Be THAT Guy! « For Your Good Health

  6. I love the word douchenozzle. What about assclown, hows that? I haven’t actually been to a gym in several years to workout but I still remember all or most of those annoyances. Cell phones weren’t quite as common as they are now, but that would annoy the hell out of me. I don’t know about you guys but speak up when it comes to those people, I would. Although I am happily married but I would think that a gym might be a good place to meet someone of your own type. I might be wrong and probably the guys that hit on women in the gym are the ones that are the douchebags. I remember the guys that always looked in the mirror at themselves and talked to everybody and never seemed to actually workout, I often wondered what these guys did for a living. Bob, next time that douchehat leaves the bench without wiping it off, call him out on it, unless he is bigger than you and then just ask nicely. haha

    • Good suggestions. When the annoyance gets high, I make a point to say something. I’ve got a long, fuse, though. And I’m not a gym nazi. We just need to teach the people we train with, and try to set a good example.

  7. Pingback: Eight awesome people at the gym – proactiveoutside

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