In my time in gyms and strength facilities I have mostly avoided overly commercial gyms, such as Planet Fitness and Anytime Fitness sort of places. However, I have found myself utilising these facilities on the odd occasion, for varying reasons. It is nothing against the gyms themselves, but against a minority of gym-goers that ruin the experience for exercise novices, experienced trainers, and anyone in between. We will call these people ‘meatheads’.
You know the type. If you attend the gym regularly, you hate these people. If you are frightened of attending the gym, these are the people who frighten you. If you are new to the gym and cautiously trying new exercises, these are the people who you feel staring at you that make you uncomfortable.
The meathead is the person, almost always males aged 18-26, who is in the gym for 2-3 hours at a time, working almost solely on their chest, shoulders and biceps, who walks around during their 10-minute rest periods watching themselves in the mirror and flexing their muscles. You can see it in the way they walk and the way they look at themselves in the mirror, they think that they are the greatest person to ever set foot in the gym. They look upon anyone who is new to the gym, overweight, slim, or in any way not their ideal definition of ‘huge’, with disdain and mockery.
To these meatheads, I have the following message:
Fuck off. You don’t impress anyone. You don’t impress the gym novices with your big muscles, you don’t impress the group of women you keep staring at, and you sure as hell don’t impress the experienced trainers who understand that your training methods have given you ‘gains’ of waterweight muscle that has no functional strength, along with the development of your countless muscular imbalances and joint problems that you will be dealing with for the remainder of your life.
You know who is impressive? The 200kg overweight man who is brave enough to come to the gym and is working as hard as he can to improve his health. The experienced powerlifter deadlifting 300kg in the corner without any fuss or flexing, going about his business by himself. The 50-year-old woman who is venturing into resistance training for the first time because she wants to be healthy and strong enough to play with her grandkids.
People don’t care about the size of your biceps. People are impressed by effort and humility.
To anyone who is not a meathead, just ignore these morons. Meatheads give health and fitness a bad reputation. They have nothing but their own vanity to sustain them, so be proud in the knowledge that you enjoy your training and are committed to improving your life and health, while they will continue with their arrogant, deluded ways.
Strength & Conditioning Coach