A Brief Departure: Gym Etiquette and Dealing with Jerks

By Elliot Coulombe Woznica

Published 2/17/2022

Originally, I had planned for this post to discuss my new training block (a four week cycle my coach has designed for me) as well as the progress I’ve made from the end of my last meet up until now. Unfortunately, though, I had an unbelievable experience at the gym yesterday that has inspired me to make this post instead. The subject of todays blog post will be dealing with jerks in the gym

I should mention that I’m not discussing teenaged boys who look at you funny, make loud noises with the weights, yell, etc. I honestly fall into one or two of those categories, and as such, I would more so be inclined to defend these people after the interaction I’m about to talk about. Instead, I want to discuss self entitled people in the gym who approach you, complain about your lifting technique, and cause issues for the sake of being heard (like a bully in middle school).

Yesterday, February 16, I was deadlifting at the gym and minding my own business when I was approached by a larger, older man. Before I continue, I’d lake to make it clear that this guy was HUGE. As someone who lifts often and competes naturally, it’s pretty evident that this guy is taking some form of steroid. He’s also much older than me, though, so he also probably has more experience. Anyway, this guy was seriously huge.

When he first walked up to me, I honestly assumed that he was going to compliment me in some shape or form. Game recognizes game, and up until yesterday I had always held this guy in high regards considering his sheer amount of strength and size. Unfortunately, the encounter was not as friendly as I had hoped.

“Do you know how annoying that is,” he started.

To keep a long story short, this guy was upset because I was deadlifting (on one of my gym’s deadlift platforms mind you) and making loud noises in between reps when I would drop the weight. Keep in mind, deadlifting for me usually means repeatedly picking up weights that are in the upper 300lbs and even into the 400lbs, so it’s not like I can really lower it gently without making any noise. Anyway, this guy went off on me for being too annoying for him to handle, even saying that he would understand if the weights were “actually heavy” but that I had no right dropping my deadlifts. Eventually my coach stepped in and told this guy I got the point, but this was only met by more aggression towards me and my coach. In the end, we decided to make it a point to be as quiet as possible, making sure the guy knew that we were picking on him.

This interaction wasn’t pleasant, but I think it’s important for people, especially new lifters, to understand this dynamic. People who are actually strong do not try to belittle or inhibit those they view as weaker. Instead, I think you’ll find that these people who insist on arguing and getting their way are dealing with their own insecurities and anger issues. You should never take it personally. Instead, try to make something of these situations. For me, it was a blog post. You may have an anger fueled workout, though.

For more information on this topic, and to hear from people I admire, check out these videos:

Noel Deyzel on how to not be a gym douche

Derek from MorePlatesMoreDates on steroid rage and the science behind it: https://youtu.be/5C5FfbxqVJ8

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