There are a lot of things you can do at the gym to make me hate you. Don’t wipe your sweat off the machines. Crop dust me with a fart when I’m benching. Have the audacity to be using a machine I want when I want it. These are all things that piss me off. However, I’ve recently heard a lot of hate for other habits that, frankly, I’m totally cool with. In fact, I may start adopting some of these.
1. Dancing to your music
As someone who has skipped my workout altogether when I realized I forgot my headphones, I know how crucial music is to getting your pump on. And what good would that music be if it didn’t get you all fired up? If what you’ve got blasting on your headphones is getting you so jacked up that you gotta move around between sets, I support that. Whether you’re headbanging, dancing, or doing that rapping hand motion, I get it. As long as you’re not moving into my workout zone or, god forbid, singing out loud, I say let the beat flow through you.
2. Aggressive pump up routines
Once again, as long as you’re not being loud, I don’t give a shit what you gotta do to get yourself ready to lift heavy pieces of metal. I’ve seen people do high-knees, talk to their muscles, and even punch themselves. It’s a bit intense, sure, but it probably works. I’m not going to pretend like I’ve never slapped myself a few times to get the adrenaline going (only if the gym is empty though, otherwise I can’t justify all the hype up only to lift extremely average weight).
3. Asking strangers to spot you
I recently found out this was hated on behavior, and it shocked me. We’re all adults with different schedules and gyms, you can’t expect people to always have a gym buddy they workout with. If I’m working chest, you can be damn sure I’m asking someone to make sure I don’t drop the bar on my throat. I recently had a guy give me attitude after my set with a “looks like you didn’t really need a spot.” Maybe not, man-wearing-jean-shorts, but I’m not about to die the most embarrassing death ever because I didn’t have anyone to spot me. As long as they don’t interrupt me in the middle of my set, I’ll be happy to spot anyone who asks.
4. Wearing any kind of gym attire
Everyone and their mother has an opinion on what is or isn’t appropriate to wear to the gym. If you’re wearing and old frat cut off, they’ll tell you to grow up. If you’re showing too much skin, they’ll say you’re just there to meet a guy. I don’t give a shit. As long as you’re not bothering me and my workout, I couldn’t care less what anyone else is wearing. If you need a Venice Beach cutoff to show off your lats, go for it. If you want to be dripped in Lulu or Nike, work it. When you look good, you feel good. As long as you’re actually working out, no one should care what you’re wearing. Plus, we’re all checking ourselves out in the mirrors constantly anyway. Don’t lie.
5. Squatting without shoes
Yes, it’s weird. The first time I saw someone doing this all I could think about was how bad that would suck if he dropped a weight on his foot. But then I became intrigued. Three months later, I’m officially all in on the shoeless squat train. I don’t know if there is any actual science behind it, but it makes me feel more balanced and grounded, and I feel like I can go deeper on my squats. I wouldn’t venture out of the rack for fear of catching a weight to the toe, and I definitely wouldn’t go barefoot because that’s fucking disgusting, but if you want to try this out, I totally support it.
6. Hitting on other members
As long as you can be flirty without being creepy, and are ok with getting rejected, fuck it, go for it. Life is too short to worry about whether it’s acceptable to go talk to someone. As long you’re not aggressively persistent or bothering people, most people shouldn’t be annoyed by you trying to talk to them. However, by prepared to get rejected. A lot. People are at their least approachable in the gym. Everyone just wants to keep their headphones in, stay in the zone, and do the minimum workout it takes to justify the late night gyro they had last weekend. When you get shut down, keep it cool, and don’t try and talk to that person again. Getting banned from your gym for creepin’ on everyone is not a good look.
7. Dropping your weights
Weights are fucking heavy, and sometimes the safest way to put them down is to drop them. If you’re pushing yourself, and that dumbbell is about to fall on your face, feel free to drop that puppy. However, make sure that your weight stays near you and doesn’t go hopping around the gym like a bunny that feeds on Achilles tendons. As long as I don’t have to worry about your 30lb dumbbell rolling all the way to the squat rack and breaking my shoeless toe, drop away.
You know what’s hard? Lifting heavy things. You know what people who exert themselves do? Make noises. Sometimes when you’re digging deep for that last rep, or minute of plank, or sprint on the treadmill, you involuntarily make some noise. I sound like a breaching whale when I’m trying to max out, and I take no shame in it. Don’t be shy, though. If you make some weird or especially loud noises, you can’t get mad at others for looking. Own the spotlight. Grunt like Serena and let everyone know you just murdered those four pull-ups. .
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