“You must be into cardio” they ask me as I shake hands with my new gym acquaintances. “No, I’m weight training” I say, and am met with a somber nod and an occasional hmm. I’ve noticed those side glances they exchanged too. The conversation has abruptly ended, and I make my way towards the weight rack, conscious that every step I take is being intensely scrutinized. All that beast mode enthusiasm has disappeared too, and I suddenly find myself faced with a simple question- should I be doing this at all?
Sounds super familiar, doesn’t it? Congratulations, you’ve been noticed by the gym bullies and you’re officially a part of the gym world.
This feeling was quite common a few months ago, and of course I learnt to deal with it, but it’s the attitude of those gym-goers that irks me till date. Fitness is a positive community of people, and the competition is always healthy. So why do we have some of them marking their territory and making things so negative? There are a lot of possible answers to that question, but I’m not sure much can be done about this. Sadly, the best thing to do here is to avoid these people completely. It’ll do you good. You don’t need that sort of negativity in a space where you’re constantly looking at building yourself.
Every newbie who walks in, I see that intimidation on his face, I see how nervous he is, I see him looking at those buff guys pumping weights, I see him awkwardly twisting the towel in his hands as he nervously waits for the trainer to show him how to use a machine. I see him walk up to the next machine, and out of nowhere a buff gym-bro is there to complete his set, making sure the newbie understands who’s the boss here. And before you know it, gym-bro and his cronies have taken up the space, and the newbie has walked out.
I have noticed these gym-bros warming up to me because I can lift. While this is definitely a thing to feel proud of, I don’t quite appreciate the attitude, hence I stay away. I have seen many of these gym-bros putting up social media posts that talk about their love for the gym and how those who are not as strong or buff as them, those who like to enjoy their lives by living a life outside of the gym, are “losers” who will never find success in life. LOLWUT, but I am smart enough to realise there is no point engaging in conversation with those who do not understand anything but the #gymlife. The other day I overheard someone telling their friends that they need to be at the gym and they can’t go out for a party because the rest of the squad will think they’re not serious enough about working out because they’re living the glam life. I MEAN COME ON (the urge to go up to them and introduce myself is too strong, I am proud of myself for staying put)
Buff guys with their protein shakes and supplements and fancy workout gear will always dominate the space, it’s physically impossible to avoid them, but there are ways you can stay away from their energy and general sense of negativity. The trick is to identify them immediately, and nip the problem in the bud.
But…..who are these gym monsters?
Do not confuse all buff men/women with these gym monsters. I’ll make this easier for all of us here. If you identify with these points, YOU my friend are the gym monster, and you need to do something about it :)
- Do you shoulder smaller people aside on the way to the next machine?
- When someone is using “your” equipment, do you give them looks, and ask them to wait till their turn?
- Do your share your pictures and updates because you want to talk about yourself ONLY, out down all those who do not choose to be extreme in their workouts and do not motivate others to have a higher self esteem?
- Do you compare yourself with others, and bring this up in conversations too?
- You look at others struggling to lift heavy and the first feeling you get is that of pity?
If you do identify with these signs, I’d suggest you take up some positive thinking, meditation even. Because this attitude is harming an entire community, and I speak as an observer. I am not subjected to this anymore, but I see this happening all around me, and I know no one will speak up. Personally, as a woman I was initially approached by a lot of “boys” because they presumed I’m there to do some cardio and leave. Today, I am not given much attention at the gym because it’s a space that men like to dominate, but when I do walk into the weights section, I know the difference in body language and those side glances that are exchanged. I’ve made the choice to ignore those, but that focus comes with time.
For most people it’s not easy dealing with this, which is why I’m writing this today. As a gym-goer who knows dud-ebros like these, I wish I could do something to bring about the change in their attitudes. Doubt that will ever happen though, so I’m leaving them with this post and I hope they figure it out and learn to motivate rather than destroy hopes and dreams.
Fitness doesn’t have to be negative, it doesn’t have to be about building a stronger physical body because of hate. Fitness is about feeling good, about being happy, and 0 negativity. A great body can be built with love and happiness too.
Here’s some homework for you. Have you ever consciously intimidated someone at the gym? Do you have the guts to own up to it? Speak up, it’ll only do you good. On the other hand- have you ever faced this from buff bros? Share your stories, talk about it. Talking about it will be the only way to end it. Trolling or making memes and jokes on these guys will only lead to more negativity.