A New Years Resolutionist’s Guide to Avoid Pissing Off the Regulars
Every January brings the single most challenging span of time ever known to the regular gym-goer. It’s the month where hordes of altruistic homebodies flock to the gym hopeful with the promise of a new body in the new year. If this describes your motivation for entering the gym, then this article is written for you. I would be lying if I said I didn’t prefer you to be sitting on the couch Netflix and chilling with a bowl a cheesy-poofs. Nonetheless, neither Simba nor Mufassa could stop the stampede so this is an attempt to make it hurt less for the both of us. This isn’t about me, it’s about you. Let’s begin…
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I too was a first-time gym-goer. I felt self-conscious, judged, unwanted and inexperienced. Most of these feelings were in my head and the rest a result of my inexperience. I guarantee you that no one cares that it’s your first time in the gym, but if you get a few “what-the-f**k-are-you-doing-faces”, you may be doing a few of the following easily avoidable mistakes:
#1 You Didn’t Do Your Research
We have this wonderful tool called the Internet. Within this magical portal of information lies the answer to how not to look like an idiot. If you look like Tarzan attempting gymnastics while twerking with a 40lb weight, you’re doing it wrong. I don’t care how good it feels or how cool you think you look. Go back to the fundamentals (bench, squat, curls, etc). Learn them. Read how to do them. Watch videos of experienced lifters doing them. And then ask someone! Lead with: “You look like you know what you’re doing. Any pointers on my technique?” You’ve not only stroked their pumped up, veiny ego, but reassured them that you really want to learn.
“#1 + #2 is a recipe for hurting yourself and others… and being the subject of the most hateful resting bitch faces you’ve ever laid eyes on.”
#2 You Lift More Than You Can Handle
#1 + #2 is a recipe for hurting yourself and others… and being the subject of the most hateful resting bitch faces you’ve ever laid eyes on. You will not be an instant Ironman. Start at a weight you can handle so you can learn the technique of each lift and improve your form. Doing it right is always and forever better than doing it heavier.
#3 You’re Not Ready
Sometimes we need to take baby steps. For example, if you’re attempting to bench press and can only lift the bar, perhaps it’s time to go back to push ups or using dumbbells until you’re ready. The guy who is waiting to lift 225lbs after you is very pissed right about now.
#4 You Didn’t Re-Rack Your Weights
This isn’t your mother’s house where she’d ask you to put something away and you ignore it. Put. The. Weights. Away. Why? Because it is literally a hazard. When I’m carrying my 85lb dumbbells to the incline press bench (pumped brah!), I don’t want to trip over your 10lb weights.
#5 You Mistake the Gym For Social Hour
A gym can be a place to build a community. I have tons of friends at the gym. Convos usually sound like: “Dude, you look ripped.” “Nah brah you’re way more ripped.” “What are you lifting today?” “Arms dude. You?” “Chest.” “Fuck yeah. Get that pump brah.” “Cool dude. Gonna hit that next set.” It’s ok to talk, but seriously, keep it to a minimum.