Dealing with the gym judgers



Okay, so my cover is busted.

I couldn't help myself a few days back, and I posted a ridiculous video to social media of some guy performing an exercise horribly. I mean, it was bad. The dude loaded about eight 45-pound plates to each side of the leg press, added a few more to the top rack for show, and proceeded to move the rack a grand total of eight inches, pausing continuously to catch his breath, for several reps in front of a beaming pack of fellow gym goers. Then the trio hogged the 20-pound dumbbells for several sets of two-inch arm curls. (In a moment of frustration, I also tweeted today about the pair using the squat rack for a phone booth.)

SO, it appears I am a bit of a gym-judger. I train alone, and that leaves a bit of down time between sets to notice the outlandishly silly things people do in the confines of the weight room. It goes with the territory of being a personal trainer who knows these guys are doing it wrong and that they have no intention of ever changing because God forbid they have to reduce their weights.

At least one person has said he hopes he never trains at the same time I do, probably because he's terrified I will silently mock him. (I wouldn't, but who could really know based upon my behavior this week?) 

The truth is, I mostly limit my stares to the obvious meat heads of the gym... you know, the guys who are grunting and slamming their weights in their three-sizes-too-small tankini that's been cut to cover nipples only; the guys making a spectacle of themselves as they force everyone nearby to feel uncomfortable because (a) no one lifts as much as they do and (b) we don't look as good. (Or so they like to think.) In my own defense, I often notice others doing things incorrectly, and I quietly offer my expertise because (a) I don't want them to get hurt and (b) I don't want them to get mocked.

But that's not really the point of this post. 

Let's be real for a minute: no matter what we tell ourselves to psyche ourselves up to enter the gym, whether it's a "judgment-free zone" or not, other people notice the things we do. They think things, and maybe say them, or, even worse, they post these things to social media from their crouched position behind the barbell rack. (ahem.) [Let's get even a bit more real: you see people in the gym, the mall, running down the block, and you think things, and maybe even say them, or, even worse, post these things to social media.] 

So, does this mean you should cower in fear, eyes downcast as you enter the weight room or - even worse - avoid it altogether? 

hell no.

Why on earth would you let what some random person says or thinks about you dictate what you do with your time, your goals, your health and so forth? The opinions of others (present company included) really don't matter. Sure, I noticed a 150-pound dude rack 900 pounds and I knew it would make a great blog. I mean, wouldn't you like to know before doing something horribly wrong in the weight room? Well, then check back in a few days for a post on what range of motion is. (I digress.)

You're never going to stop people from judging you, whether they have malicious intent or not. I'm a personal trainer with a bit of a baby belly and a tendency to run into barbells - while they're moving. I draw an eye, and not for the most glamorous of reasons. You can't join a "judgment free zone" gym or walk around in a tinted bubble, and you certainly can't hide in your closet until you've achieved some semblance of perfection. You are who you are, and you're beautiful (or handsome) and perfect just the way you are. (Seriously, go find a mirror and tell yourself that right now. I'll wait.) 

Maybe there are things about yourself that you would like to improve. Maybe others have a list, too. Guess what - their list doesn't count. What others say about you does not define you; it cannot devalue you; it cannot control you - unless you let it. Make a decision to ignore the useless chatter and instead surround yourself with people who uplift and support you, people who value you for who you are but also challenge you to continuously improve. 

Don't spend another second even worrying about what someone else might think, or say, or post. You go do you. You go chase your goals. You go turn your dreams into reality. Don't let anything hold you back. I mean, c'mon: if they're gonna talk, give them something great to talk about. Am I right?

{And seriously, if you have questions about something let me know. I seriously want nothing more than people to have the confidence in their abilities and the knowledge to perform exercises safely. I am not nearly the most experienced person on the subject and I ask questions all the time. It's asking the questions that gets you the answers that help you improve!!} Seriously - happy training.

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