In college, I was never short on friends that wanted to hit the gym together. Often times we’d go in a wolf pack of either three, four, or even five guys — commandeering open benches and squat racks for forty-five minutes at a time — and slowly rotate in and out of our sets while focusing the majority of our attention catching up on the night before. Yes, taking precious real estate like barbell flat press for nearly an hour is an obnoxiously huge dick move, but when there’s captivating story after captivating story of taking back strange, crushing ass, and the general debauchery that comes along with college life, you’re going to get a little sidetracked. That said, I was always able to lift heavy, worry free, as my buddies knew how to spot properly and when I was truly spent.
Fast forward two and a half years later, and my gym experience, much like everything else in life, has changed drastically. With the number of people in my life dropping since moving to a new city, their work schedules, and just their overall interest in fitness declining with each passing day, I now fly solo to get my pump on because I have no other choice. This has caused a shift in mindset. I’m all business and have started to find solace in the two hours a night of solitary reclusion with time to think to myself and minimal human interaction. Exchanges with others have been limited to six words: “Mind if I get a spot?”
This is a total crapshoot, regardless of whether or not you profile each stranger, you just aren’t sure on the type of individual that now has his sack firmly planted a foot away from your face. Occasionally you get lucky. The guy makes you work for each rep, doesn’t rob you of any potential gains, and lets you go about the rest of your life in peace. The majority of the time, you get the dude with a quick trigger finger who racks the weight at the first sign of irregularity in your rhythm. You just condescendingly say “Thanks” and wish all the bad things happen to him and only him the rest of the night. Finally, when the stars align and the power of those suns are used for the destruction on mankind, you get the overeager asshole that grabs the bar too quick but now thinks you’re boys for the rest of eternity.
He’ll start off by offering asinine info on how to improve your form. “You want to squeeze those fingers ‘white knuckle’ tight.” You tolerate his stupidity sheerly so he’ll go away, but you’re only fueling the fire. Each day when he sees you, he’ll interrupt whatever it is you’re doing to get into an unwarranted half hour conversation.
Tips McGee will then slowly delve into how he can’t do such and such exercise anymore because of a bad wing. Your one word responses and poor body language does’t stop this selfish lingerer. One minute he’s babbling about getting his personal training certificate, the next he’s articulating on how being a youth soccer coach has been the most rewarding part of his pathetic existence. Permitting his behavior encourages this son of a bitch to get more audacious. You walk away to another exercise? He follows. You need a spot? He gladly volunteers his second-rate services. Even when you switch up the time of your regiment he somehow knows and does the same. He’s an unescapable black rain cloud spewing out acid sewage over your umbrella-less head.
It’s time we fight back. A proclamation that this type of egocentric attitude will simply not stand, whether it’s at a normal self respecting gym or the bagel club known as Planet Fitness. Tag that nuisance with this post. If he can’t take a hint when you leave your headphones on, maybe public shaming will do the trick. Actually, who am I kidding? You could tell that jabroni off right to his face and he’d still ramble on for another ten minutes. You fucked up and made your bed with that original interaction and now you have to lie in it. Or switch gyms. That’s really your only option..
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