Gym stereotypes: Don't be that guy

HARARE - So this week I have decided to share stories and experiences surrounding my travels and journeys through the many gyms I have trained in and worked in over the past 20 years.

They range from the classic stereotypes to the downright unimaginable. Oh yes, there are some great ones!

No gym can be defined as having character without 'those guys', and by those guys I refer to the people that bring life, energy and downright craziness to what is your gym community.

The people make up the soul, the heartbeat, the vibe and the uniqueness that defines the gym's character, yes, the people.

The chat cat

Gym is for work, for sweat, for effort, for movement, for running, for intensity, for lifting, for pushing....that means your body does the work, not your gob!

Save the idle (which quite frankly becomes irritating) chit chat for the end of the session, as long as the other poor soul has also finished.

Holding someone captive mid workout is rude, they are here to train. Let people move. Alternatively, find a training partner that loves chatting and wasting time as much as you do.

The stank man

Personal hygiene, or lack of, is a killer. Those hot summer days when Zesa is down, the fans go idle and the gym is jam packed with heaving lungs don't be the guy who forgot to shower or put on deodorant.

You can't smell it, you never do! But everybody else's nose gets a putrid cranking of your sweaty pits.

Conversely don't overdo it. The gym is a gym and not a cheap motel for late night pickups, so cologne that could double up as Mississippi Moonshine should be left for cheap motel escapades.

The 'I lift heavy bru’ guy

Testosterone, ego and a skewed perception of your physical capabilities are a disastrous combination in the gym.

Peacocking about with dumbbells bigger than your Nissan March looks good until you actually have to lift them through the full range of motion and under perfect technique.

Quarter reps do not count guys. Get the work done and get it done properly.

The squirrel

If you can't find a single weight or moveable piece of equipment, just look for the squirrel, he has them ALL.

Seriously, it is not possible to use everything at once! Hoarding the entire range of dumbbells from 2kgs to 60kgs around your feet and barking and snapping at any poor soul who comes to ask for a set is not cool. Don't be that guy. Sharing is caring.

The man in the mirror

#selfie #beastmode #guns #nocalves Mirrors are for technique correction and ambience, not to incessantly admire your narcissistic self in.

If you have biceps then keep them at bay, if you don't have biceps then stop trying to find them and instead train them.

Everyone, and I mean everyone notices your love affair with your reflection.

The sweater

Gyms have rules and a universal rule is bring a sweat towel. Equipment doesn't sweat on you and neither do people.

Wipe up guys. Leaving a dripping, streaking trail of sweat all over the equipment will make you the guy to avoid. Commonly associated with The Stank Guy.

The walking encyclopedia

The know it all's. Yes, they have the answer to everything. You don't even need to ask, they will pop up and just tell you.

Guys, calm down and share only appropriate knowledge when it is required. Your Youtube addiction does not qualify you as a fitness professional.

The grunter

No one wants to hear your efforts unless they are world record breaking material. Grunting and straining and squealing and huffing like the king of the jungle will get you looks, odd looks....and the girls will laugh at you.

They will laugh probably because they realised that for all your vocal efforts the weight you moved was half of what they do.

The creepy guy

Yes lads, you may be single but not every female is available in life! Some are in actual fact taken and some, well, almost all actually come to the gym to train.

If your objective is to meet a girl then be natural about it. A simple introduction and a compliment like 'Your training is impressive' will suffice.

Now walk away and let it be. She will be there tomorrow, and the next day probably. She has a membership, hopefully for life, so don't scare her off in one 10 minute rant on inappropriate topics! Don't be that guy, just be cool.

*Ex-Zimbabwe rugby international Grant Mitchell is High Performance Director at Innovate High Performance Centre in Harare and a top strength and conditioning coach. Twitter: @InnovateHPC, website:

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