Which Bad Gym Behavior Drives You Crazy?

Hey there! So for the past month we’ve been running a poll on Angry Trainer Fitness that asked what behaviors in the gym really get your goat? If you’ve ever spent time in a fitness facility, you’ve probably smelled some horrendous body odor, listened to people bangs weights (usually the little guys lifting tiny weights. Hello Napoleon Complex), or tripped over a weight left in the middle of the floor.

We’re still running the poll – but at the moment the behavior with the highest number of votes is talking on a cell phone. I’m surprised! I agree it’s annoying, but as long as you aren’t physically obstructing another persons workout, I say do whatever you want – it’s your body and time (although if you are fighting with a spouse on the phone, I’d prefer you go somewhere else).

The behavior that gets me the most is not putting weights away, or worse, putting them back in a spot that they don’t belong. In my early days as a floor trainer, one of my primary jobs was to walk around all day and put weights back where they were supposed to go. I always say, “If you can lift it, you can rack it”. In my own workouts, it’s the most annoying thing to find a set of 25lbs in place of where the 60 lbs should be, and then to have to search for what I’m looking for.

One of the more gross issues found in most gyms is “The Sweater”. Nope, not the kind you wear, but a person with “perspiration issues”. I recently saw a guy working out in my local gym that was literally dripping with sweat everywhere. Not only was it on the benches, wetting the handles of weights he used, but it was actually all over the floor. That is unacceptable, and when I approached the “trainer”, on staff he commented it wasn’t his place to say anything. I’ve seen this in many gyms over the years and it’s always been an issue that management doesn’t know how to handle, the same as bad body odor. If it were my gym, I’d have no issue having a little Angry Trainer Talk.

Another one that gets me is hogging equipment, or using a lot of floor space at one time. There is a guy in my gym that travels in a circuit of 5 exercises at a time, and routinely approaches people and asks if he can “work in”. Well once he’s in, his marathon set has started! He literally takes 5 minutes on each station he uses with complete disregard for other people waiting or the poor sap that was kind enough to let him in. He did this to me once, and that’s all I have to say about that!

The most frustrating part about all poor gym behaviors is that they go against most club’s policies. Almost all gyms have cell phone free zones, require you to put weights and equipment back, ask that you wipe down equipment, and some are following in Planet Fitness’ footsteps of limiting grunting during exercise. One guy near where I live made national news when he was kicked out of the gym for grunting too loud despite warnings from the staff! I never quite understood the yelling and screaming when lifting, and it has nothing to do with how much is being used, and more about drawing attention to oneself. In my heyday, I was quite strong and the weights I was able to lift with perfect form was respectable. If I was squatting 500 lbs, or Dumbbell Chest Pressing 140 lbs, I made not a single peep, no sound, nothing.

I’ve always seen gyms as a social experiment, for me it’s like watching National Geographic. I see the males try to exert their dominance and mark their territory, while some females parade around seeking attention, dress skimpily, and suffer from “look at me” disease. I’m not suggesting everyone does this, but if you think going to the gym is all about exercise, you’re sorely mistaken, it’s about joining a community. In every gym across the country you can find the same “characters”– the woman who puts on makeup and perfume to workout, the guys that can’t put their arms down, the elderly man or woman who is in amazing shape, and the people who think they look fit, but aren’t. People are the same no matter where you go, and what I’ve learned is that all of the behaviors in the gym can clue you in to personality types and peoples behavior outside the gym. And sorry guys, but in my opinion men are the worst offenders of all! Women just seem to not fall into these annoying behavior categories as much, although they do occasionally.

Human behavior in any setting is fascinating, and changing bad behavior requires a conscious acknowledgment that a need for change exists. I’m afraid to say that I don’t have much hope of seeing these bad habits go away. With so many other things in life to worry and stress over, I feel it’s just best to ignore these “infractions” and consider them “training variables” for you to work around. You’ll be a better person for it.

Do you agree with me? Do you have another bad gym behavior story? I’d love to hear it, start commenting now!