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How to Deal With the Top 5 Annoying People at the Gym

The gym is an excellent place to work out for many reasons. For me, it’s because of the vast amount of free weights and equipment and the hardcore atmosphere that feels particularly motivating for me.

The problem with working out at the gym is, it is after all a public venue. This means the moment you decide to sign up for a gym membership you will have to co-exist with the other gym members and deal with whatever peculiarities they have. This can prove to be very challenging especially when you are at the gym working hard on exercising to reduce tummy and the presence of some others are making it hard for you to do so.

I’ve seen how many people give up going to the gym or stopped following their training program because of some bad encounters they have at the gym. Moving from one gym to another doesn’t help because some of these annoying people exist everywhere.

In today’s post, I will list down some of the top 5 most annoying people you might see at the gym and how you can deal with them – if you have to.

The Chatterbox:

Every gym has at least one of them. This individual (sometimes a few of them) goes to the gym primarily to socialize, bitch, gossip and basically do anything but exercise. This person would chat with you between sets and if you get caught in the conversation, you lose track of your rest periods. Then your body and muscle cools down and you are no longer in the zone to lift your next set. Your workout gets ruined.

Sometimes this person would gossip about you – your clothes, your body part, your exercise technique, etc – and deliberately let you hear it. It makes you conscious about yourself and you lose concentration.

While there’s nothing wrong with socializing, we should lose track of our main reason for going to the gym. Having an extended rest period can affect your training intensity and your focus on the next set. This is definitely not what you want to achieve especially if you exercising to reduce tummy. Remember, you can always socialize after your workout.

Solution: If you know the person, try keeping the chat within a minute or no longer than your usual rest period. If the chat goes beyond, gradually assume the position of your next exercise, smile and carry on with your exercise. Most people will get the point.

If they talk about you, glance at them and make sure they notice you. Let them know you heard them and continue with your workout. Who gives a s**t about what the others think? This is your work out!

The Hogger:

The people at my gym are generally very friendly and willing to share their equipment in between sets. But occasionally we have one or two of these possessive weirdos who simply won’t share and insists on completing their exercise before anyone can use it.

If they have just a few sets left, that’s fine. What’s unforgivable is that they are hogging the equipment for the wrong exercise. Don’t know what I mean? Here’s an example:

Imagine someone hogging the squat rack to do biceps curl with the Olympic bar. The reason they need the squat rack is because they can rest the bar at the rack so that it’s easier for them to pick it up at the next set… (long pause for effect). And by the way, in case you think these are strong people who need the Olympic bar to curl massive weights, you couldn’t be more wrong. They are just curling an empty bar.

Hoggers are not just restricted to the weights section. The worst Hoggers are those on the treadmill. Because it’s impossible to share the treadmill, users should be even more considerate and be conscious of the time they spend on the machine. Even though it’s clearly stated that each user is limited to 30 minutes on the treadmill, some continue on, completely oblivious to the people waiting behind. And check this out, some even have the newspapers nicely laid out in front of them as they take a stroll on the treadmill while holding onto the handles…

As you patiently wait for your turn on the treadmill, homicide at this point inevitably comes to mind.

Solution: If they are using the machine for any other exercise than what it’s meant for, politely tell them that there’s an alternate machine that they can use. Usually this works. Otherwise, ask them to share. The switching of weights will eventually make one party give up. Usually it’s them.

The Moaner:

I bet you can find one of these in every gym as well. Their voices echo throughout the entire gym. You know exactly when they are going to start their set and when their set is going to end. They psyche themselves up with a war cry that puts the New Zealand All Blacks to shame as they lift their massive weights (or weights which they think are massive to them), and throughout the set, the grunt, moan and groan until they eventually climaxed at the last repetition before dropping their weights to the floor.

Whether these people are truly trying to psych themselves or they are looking for attention, their loud moans and war cries are a distraction to everyone in the gym. Imagine if everyone in the gym starts doing this? Others might mistake the gym as a Taekwondo dojo or worse, an adult venue masquerading as a gym.

Solution: You can try to telling them to keep it down. But I’ve tried and it doesn’t work. So, get yourself an iPod or a set of earplugs. I do like my friend’s solution though, which is to exercise next to them and moan even louder.

The Big Bully:

A nightmare to both gym instructors and members alike, the Big Bullies are hard to miss. Walking around with arms flaring out as if there are potatoes in their armpits, these oversized muscle heads share many characteristics with the Hogger and the Moaner. They use your equipment between sets without asking and they never return any of the weight they use.

The worst of them even criticize your exercise technique without even giving you actual pointers.

Many of these muscle heads are just pure muscle bulk with no definition. Some even sport a belly. But they walk around thinking that everyone should marvel at their tremendous musculature.

Solution: Handling the Big Bully needs extra care. Remember to always be polite because these are the closest things that we have to a primate living among us. Perhaps the only stations you will never find Big Bullies using are the treadmill and the abs machine. But if a big bully is suddenly use your equipment without asking, wait for him to complete his set, then tell him politely, “Lets share between sets”, as you pick up the weights. If he stops you or starts giving you aggressive looks, no problem. Move on to the next heaviest weight. Let him have it. It’s not worth it. You watched Planet of the Apes? Just let the primate have his toy.

The Army Ants:

Usually in a group of at least seven or eight, these people are like army ants, ravaging every machine, treadmill and free weight they set their eyes on. If they are doing dumbbell presses, you can be sure that almost all of the weights on the rack will be gone. These people usually belong to a specific sports team and have decided to bring half their squad for training at a local gym.

Their disruptive presence at the gym is obvious and even greatly magnified when they are there during peak hours. If your gym is fairly small like mine, you can either wait for the ants to finish their workout or be prepared to wait for 5 minutes between each set.

Solution: Army ants or not, you are already at the gym. So get your workout in! If they are using the equipment that you plan to use, either find an alternative or workout another body part first. There’s no point sharing equipment with the army ants because you end up wasting more time waiting to do your set.

Ok, I threw in this last group of people not because they are really annoying, but the way they are training is an utter waste of time and I’ve seen groups like this is three gyms I’ve been to already.

The Bench Press Boys:

There’s this group of four to five overzealous teenage boys who go to the gym pretty frequently. I’ve only ever seen them train one body part.


I’ve only ever seen them do one exercise – the bench press. Well, you can’t really blame them. The obsession with having a huge chest is not just limited to women. Having a massive chest does make one looks just as impressive as having huge arms. The good thing is, at least they are choosing free weights over machines. But once they start to lift the weight, everything else goes very wrong.

They use a weight that’s too heavy for them right from the first set. The boy performing the exercise has a spotter behind him, to his left and to his right. The scene looks almost like a pit crew carrying out a pit stop at a motor race event. What even funnier is the boy who’s performing the exercise continues to add weight to the next set. As his spotters struggle to help him through his last set, he looks as if he has conquered Mount Everest and with that look of extreme satisfaction.

These boys don’t really annoy anyone except sometimes if you really need to use the bench; you have to wait for them to get through their 10 sets of bench press, each.

Solution: Well, they are not really offending anybody. But if you need to use the bench, ask politely to share the bench. When they see you are lifting more than them and they give you that “Whoa! Awesome!” look, you can give them a few pointers and correct their bench pressing techniques.

When dealing with any of the five annoying people above, the key thing to note is, always remember to be polite. Never use aggression even if you are bigger and stronger than the other guy. Treat fellow gym users with respect and you will get respect in return.

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