There’s this misconception in the popular media that gym rats and bodybuilders like use are not exactly bright. After all, we spend our time exercising instead of reading a book. While this belief is obviously not true—we’re smart to know that exercise is necessary for good health—sometimes some of us make boo-boos that lend credence to this belief.
Don’t lift too much weight.
There’s a lot of testosterone going around in a gym, and there too many alpha males wannabes. Naturally there’s going to a lot of competitiveness and posturing. This is unavoidable. And this leads us to lifting more weight than it’s wise to.
There’s hardly a day that goes by in a gym when this doesn’t happen. You’ll find one guy loading a barbell with enough weight that looks like it can qualify for some sort of world record. Usually this happens when others are looking on, and the guy just wants to impress them.
Now it’s natural to want to be able to say truthfully that you can lift or press a certain number of pounds. It’s all about getting respect and admiration from the people whose opinions matter to you. But setting up your machine or barbell with too much weight may not be your best way to get that respect.
Putting in too much weight—especially when you’re too tired—won’t get that respect. All you’ll get is some snide comments about your foolishness. Then you’re likely to embarrass yourself because you can’t complete the exercise. Or worse, you break your bones trying to lift the weight your body can’t handle.
For most of the experienced guys in a gym, this kind of stupidity is a mark of insecurity and general lack of confidence. Stop trying to impress others—just let your muscles do the talking for you.
Stop wasting other people’s time.
Then there’s this one guy in a gym who is perhaps the most annoying douchebag out there. This is the guy who does a set on a bench, and then stops for 15 minutes trading stories with some other guys or does some fiddling around with their smartphone.
This guy can really grind your gears. A mistake like this is very frustrating and annoying for all the others waiting for their turn on the machine. This is one of the more popular reasons why fights break out in the gym.
So if you are one of these guys—stop it. Cut this crap right now. One of these days, someone is going to lose it and bash a frigging dumbbell on your head to teach you a lesson.
- Think about what you’re wearing.
What you need to stop doing is dressing to impress. It just makes you look too stupid. You look like you’re trying too hard to look cool. So avoid the following items:
- Unwashed clothes. For pity’s sake, wash your clothes, will you? Try to wear a fresh set of gym clothes every time. Absolutely no one is looking forward to smelling your sweat when they’re nearby. And you leave a trail of stink—stay in one place and you’ve cursed that area for a long time with your malodorous presence.
- Bandannas. Really? Bandannas? Do you think that you’re in a music video or something? Don’t tell me that you need it to wipe your sweat off—that’s the point of the exercise. And don’t say you want to look good—bandannas just make you look foolish.
- Camouflage. Unless you’re in a military gym, this kind of crap doesn’t fly at all.
- Work boots. They don’t make you look tough—you just look like someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing. The same thing goes for flip-flops.
- Spandex and mesh tops. These may be good on ladies, but for guys it’s not exactly nice to look at.
Cardio or Weights.
Stop mixing up your cardio and weightlifting in the same gym visit. Some people do this: they run for close to an hour and then they go on lifting. That’s not really effective, whatever you may have heard.
If you really have to mix it up, you should do your weight first and then do your cardio. But your best option here is to reserve days purely for either cardio or weight lifting. That way, you can go all out every time you hit the gym.
Any of these mistakes will earn you the ire and scorn of other gym rats, and that’s the last thing you want to do. If even these guys think you’re stupid, then you must be an absolute idiot.