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Not to flex or anything but I’ve been going to the gym since the age of 14. I wasn’t some health freak or ahead of the #instafitness game or anything like that. It wasn’t even an “I need to lose weight because I’m a chubby kid” type of thing. I went to the gym so that I could be a better and stronger soccer player. In high school, it was with the goal of playing in college, in college it was a goal of not wanting to get knocked on my ass on the field. Now that I’m post-grad and very much retired from playing at a competitive level, going to the gym is my stress reliever and one of the few places I can relax and be at home. The keeping fit and my weight in check aspect is more of an added bonus.
With that, I have seen a lot of New Year’s Resolutioners rotate through the gym doors throughout the years. I’m not one of those people that’s going to sit here and bitch about it, and you shouldn’t either. The resolutioners are going into this with the best of intentions: to improve themselves. And that’s something that should be commended and supported. That being said, with the influx of human bodies in the gym (and with so many of them being new to said gym), it can cause a lot of easily-avoided problems. Here are five tips to remedy common mistakes I’ve seen in the gym over the years.
“Claiming” free weights when you don’t need them until the very end of your workout — in 45 minutes.
Personally, this is one of my biggest pet-peeves. There are so many people in the gym at this time of year that it’s hard to get the weights you need at the time you need them as it is. If they’re just going to be sitting next to your bench or exercise ball for the next 726 minutes, please just leave them racked until you actually need them. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a plan and having it completely derailed because the weights you need have been taken and aren’t even actually being used.
Striking up a conversation with someone in the middle of a workout.
The only thing worse than this is if you’re hitting on someone. That’s a sure-fire way to get your head bit off like a black widow spider. Chomp-chomp, motherfucker. The only way I want anyone to come say hi or talk to me during a workout is if I actually know (and like) them in real life, outside of the gym.
I’m sure some people enjoy conversation in between sets or if they’re doing something low-key like stretching, but if someone is literally mid-deadlift and you’re trying to talk to them about how you just tried pre-workout for the first time and your face is vibrating, you’re probably going to be told to fuck-off. Or, at the very least, be passive-aggressively nodded at. No matter what, it won’t make you any gym buddies. Wait until they’re obviously done with their workout, headed out, or in the locker room (but not when they’re naked, you creep).
Standing in the way or hogging a machine, bench, or just a heavily trafficked area to be on your phone.
Okay, maybe I lied, maybe this is actually my biggest pet peeve. It’s not unlike the rule about hogging the weights though; at the base of the problem, you’re wasting someone else’s time. When I (and when most post-grads go to the gym) I’m going either before or after work and I have about a bajillion and two things to do outside of said gym. I go for 45 minutes to an hour, that’s it.
I’m not trying to spend 2.5 hours of the meager amount of free time I have during the work week waiting on you to watch some Instagram hoe do a donkey kick over and over trying to figure out how it works. I have zero problems with you trying to learn how to lift or how to lift correctly, but I don’t have time to watch you do it, okay? It’s as easy as taking 20 minutes to plan and look up your workout before you get to the gym, in the locker room, or while you warm up on the treadmill.
Overdoing it when you have no clue what you’re doing.
Okay, maybe this one is cheating because it’s so general, but what I really mean is that there’s nothing worse than seeing someone who clearly does not go to the gym regularly nearly throw out their back while trying to squat because they’re trying to do so much weight when they’ve never done it before. Start slow and make sure you get the proper form down before you start putting on a ton of weight.
I know Instagram makes it seem like everyone and their mother can squat 150 pounds but I promise most people can’t, and if they can, it’s taken them a bit to safely get there. By moving too fast, you risk not only hurting yourself but also hurting other gym goers in the ever-so cramped gyms. If you’ve really never even set foot in a gym before, get a trainer — at least for a few sessions.
Plus, quick tip, you’re way more likely to burn out if you’re absolutely killing yourself in the gym day in and day out. Slow and steady wins the fat-loss and muscle-gains race, fit fam.
Whining and Complaining the entire time you’re at the gym.
If you’re going to whine and complain the whole time you’re here, why are you even here? Just go home. You’d actually be surprised at how much of this there actually is, especially at this time of year. I’ve heard it so bad and loudly at times that it actually cuts through the music playing on my headphones. No, I’m not kidding and yes, I do need to get some noise-canceling ones.
I get that some days you just don’t want to work out and you’re here anyway because you’re trying to crush your goals, and that’s great. Good for you and your determination. I get it because we do all have those days. However, stop vocalizing it so loud and often or, you know, at all. Most days, I’m happy to be at the gym and off of work, and there are a decent amount of people who go to the gym and feel that way too. Stop being a Debbie Downer, get your workout done, and go home. Or just go home, one off-day never hurt anyone.
Best of luck out there whether you’re a regular or a resolutioner. Oh, and follow my Instagram if you want some serious gains. Ha, just kidding, I mostly just post pictures of my dog. .