Little known fact y’all probably aren’t aware of: This girl became a certified personal trainer back in 2007. I didn’t do a whole lot with it at the time, as I had a 3 year old and an 18 month old child, was working toward meeting my own goals, and then we moved to Montana, where I was miserable, gained 30 pounds, and let my certification lapse because I wasn’t able to coach myself, much less any of the yahoos in rural No Shit Montana.
That said, even though I have an ass roughly the size of Nebraska, ok maybe Kentucky, I do know what I’m doing in the gym. I’ve worked with some fantastic trainers, two of which have been celebrity trainers on a variety of TV shows, coached hundreds of folks in an online loss forum, and have made it a point to not be one of those douches who does everything wrong in the gym, causing injury to myself and anyone I pass on crap knowledge to.
So, now that I’m getting back into a regular work out schedule, I’m back to people watching in the gym, which I LOVE to do. Today, as I was observing dozens of examples of what not to do when working out, I thought it would be a good idea to pass on this information to y’all. Because I care.
And I haven’t made fun of people in a while. 🙂
If you’d like to know how to keep from being “that guy” or “that girl” at the gym, please follow these simple rules.
- Do Cardio Like You Mean It: If you are sitting on a recumbent bike, and reading a book while pedaling 2mph, you’re not doing a damn thing. Seriously. You might as well go sit on your sofa and knit a tea cozy. Cardio should get your heart rate up, make you sweat, and you should FEEL it. Change up your routine with little sprint bursts. This type of high intensity interval workout will burn fat quicker, and give you much better results than dinking around on a treadmill for 20 minutes at a leisurely walk.
- Come to the Gym to Work Out: Seriously, ladies… it’s lame times a million to come to the gym after carefully flat ironing your hair and taking 30 minutes to put on makeup. Are you really going to exercise to the best of your ability if you’re worried your mascara is going to run? No, you’re not. You came here to sweat, so throw your hair in a do-rag, and Git R Dun. Put makeup on later.
- Don’t Throw Weights: Ok, if you’re in a hard core gym with body builders, there is going to be some weight throwing. If you’re in a family friendly gym, tossing your barbell on the ground while you grunt or roar or let out some other ridiculous “Look at these big heavy weights I just picked up” sound? You look like an asshole.
- Using Momentum to Complete Your Reps is Cheating: As I was doing my arm routine in front of the mirror, I had the opportunity to watch this guy do at least 4 different exercises completely wrong. He was flinging himself all over the place doing his lower back and lower ab work. He was using dumbbells way too heavy for him, causing him to lean far back, putting tremendous strain on his back, losing his center of gravity, and performing reps at lightning speed just to blast through them. Here’s the thing. If you can’t perform your rep in a controlled movement while maintaining correct form? Then your weight is too heavy. Work up to it, or you’re going to end up using other parts of your body to compensate, and lose the effectiveness of the exercise. Sure, all the other people in the gym who are completely engrossed in what YOU are doing may scoff at your use of 25 lb dumbbells rather than 30… Oh wait, yeah that’s right… no one is going to care. (Except the girl who is watching you so she can put you in her blog again.)
- If You’d Like to Hurt Yourself, Please Lock Your Knees and Elbows: Again, the genius above was doing this, as was the gal two stations down from me. I wasn’t too worried about her, since she was using 3 lb weights for bicep curls, and more interested in staring at herself in the mirror to make sure her makeup hadn’t run than she was in breaking a sweat. The dude, however, was leaning back, legs locked so hard, they practically bent backwards, holding his breath, and doing bicep curls with a ridiculous amount of weight. I’ll bet you dollars to donuts this guy already has some knee and back problems, and they are just going to get worse.
- Don’t Know How to Use a Certain Machine? Ask!: There are people at the gym who are trained to assist patrons in the proper use of machines. Almost every place I have ever belonged will give you one or two sessions for free with one of the trainers, who will help you perform your exercises correctly. You hear me dude doing leg presses and letting your knees go over your toes by a good 6 inches? Pushing off from your toes? If you’d ask someone, they would show you that your feet needed to go forward, and you perform a leg press like you’re doing a squat. Like you are sitting down. Knees over toes, not in front. Push from your heels and contract your glutes on the way up. Breathe.
- Follow a Schedule: Do not work the same body part more than twice a week. If you work your chest/biceps and back one day, work triceps and shoulders the next. Or legs. The exception? Abs can be worked every day, but even then, if you work them hard, it’s good to change up which part you’re focused on. Also, calves can be worked every day according to many trainers. Other than that, your muscles need rest in order to repair in between workouts.
- Be Courteous: If the girl next to you on the elliptical machine is blasting through intervals, sweating like crazy, and has her iPod blasting hair bands, guess what? She doesn’t want to talk to you. She doesn’t want to take out her mother f-ing earbuds every 5 minutes and answer a question about a show she’s not watching on the TV screen in front of you. And if you keep bothering a certain pink haired girl who is simply trying to finish her torture session without dying, you may get “the look” when she pauses, AGAIN, and she may or may not say, “I’m really sorry, but I need to work out. If you need help with something, I suggest talking to someone at the front desk.” Do not get butthurt. Thank you.
- Wipe Off Your Equipment: Because the rest of us really don’t want to clean up your taint sweat from the seat. That’s just nasty.
- Use Common Sense: If someone is lying on a mat doing her ab work, do not lay your mat perpendicular to her, pointing your ass in her direction and fart while you’re doing crunches. If she’s anything like me, or if she is me, she’s going to say quite loudly, “Hey, could you possibly NOT fart on me, or at least point your butt in another direction? Thanks.”