The nightmare of being at the gym sans headphones

Posted by watchmen
October 6, 2017
Posted in OPINION

“For all the talk about gym etiquette and all the information available on exercise form, these guys somehow still don’t get it and are constantly annoying or amusing us.” –Par Deus (

Pulling up to the gym yesterday, it was a shock to find the ever-necessary set of headphones was left at home. Have experienced the gym without headphones before and it was torture. It is perhaps purely psychological, but without the preferred soundtrack or podcast on blast, the energy to do anything was completely gone and felt a growing desire to be anywhere but the gym.
Beyond the mere absence of headphones bringing on such a negative mood, it also makes one vulnerable to the distractions caused by the multitude of clientele who demand attention – and those who (perhaps it’s some form of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) easily lose focus because of such ridiculous behavior.
After about an hour of using the preacher curl and incline press machines, that was enough for the day; clearly, had not worked up as much of a sweat as compared to a typical visit nor felt the need to consume as much water as usual. Part of it is to blame on the bad mood the lack of headphones brought forth; the other was just the sheer disgust that rose up from the attention-seeking habits espoused by many of the gym clientele.
Both the Daily Burn and the Huffington post published lists of the “most annoying people at the gym” and, to no surprise, there was a lot of overlap.

The Grunter
While Jordan Shakeshaft quotes Sean Hyson, training director for Men’s Fitness magazine, in his Daily Burn article, describing, grunting as a natural byproduct from lifting, they note, “It’s when those grunts begin to resemble wounded animal noises that there may be a problem.”
In addition, the article fails to mention the sound emitted when many complete their set – akin to the Paolo Ballesteros “Regine-WOO!” (unless that is an act of ridiculousness only done in the Bacolod City metropolitan area).
The Huffington Post offers a characterization much like the experience in many of the local gyms.
“Can be heard from all corners of the gym… even when warming up,” Kate Bratskeir wrote. “Uses only the heaviest weights to prove he’s the strongest, hardest man to visit any gym, ever.”
She also notes one of the most aggravating characteristics of the grunter, “Finishes each set by dropping weights, just to make sure everyone knows he’s finished.”
Shakeshaft also discusses the act of dropping weights, saying, “Dropping your weights can be deemed dangerous, disruptive, and downright unnecessary.” After indicating, at times, the act can be unavoidable, Hyson elaborated, “If you see a guy doing it repeatedly, he’s either desperate for attention or very careless.”
“Dropping dumbbells can damage them, as well as the floor beneath, and abruptly dropping a barbell can warp the bar, causing it to bend,” he added. “Bent bars make loads unstable to lift and can cause injuries.”
Just yesterday, a loud clang sounded from one gym-goer, who, instead of immediately picking up whatever fell down, he felt it was more important to look around to see who peeked over – his intentions were pretty obvious.
The need to grunt or feeling drained after doing multiple reps can be a natural occurrence, however, the behaviors espoused by many are purely for attention – especially with Hyson indicating motives of drawing attention if the said behavior is done repeatedly. Without having the distraction of music (lately it’s been the Wanna One album on repeat), the excessive grunting only interrupts the overall mood… and increases the level of disgust.

The Talker
One of the things that really serves as a distraction is talking. Not to say people should not talk while at the gym, but is it necessary to yell? Sometimes, people are merely a foot apart from each other, yet the volume is set at maximum; other times, people are yelling across the gym at their friends, at first, it would appear they were trying to get the other party’s attention, but then it turns into a full-blown conversation across the gym floor. Nobody besides the two people speaking care one bit about the ongoing conversation.
According to the Daily Burn article, “A typical gym-goer wastes up to 35 percent of each sweat session on non-fitness activities.”
“If you’re able to carry on a full conversation while on the treadmill, you aren’t doing it right!” said Anja Garcia, Daily Burn and Equinox trainer.
The Huffington post piece refers this person as “The Socialite.”
“Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah… nobody cares what The Socialite is having for dinner, but The Socialite doesn’t care that nobody cares,” the article described. “The Socialite goes to the gym to share… and walk on the treadmill at a snail’s pace.”
The same goes for a recent spate of wannabe-trainers, offering unsolicited advice.
Shakeshaft quotes Cressey Sports Performance co-founder Tony Gentilcore, noting, “I see it happen a lot at various gyms I train at, and have yet to witness anyone who appreciates a total stranger giving them advice that they didn’t even ask for.”
In the same article, strength coach Jessi Kneeland called it “condescending.”
The Bratskeir piece calls this person the “Trainee Teacher,” pointing out, “Ironically, they often have the worst form in the room.”
Par Deus compiled a lengthy list annoying behaviors at the gym for He described them as “guys who do things in the gym that are dangerous, worthless, annoying, or just plain stupid” – never a truer word spoken.
Beyond those already mentioned, he also points out people like the “guy shadowboxing in front of the dumbbells.”
He also describes somebody called the “mutterer” – probably similar to the aforementioned “Regine-WOO” sound – “This guy loads the bar up with way too much weight, ekes out three reps with bad form and then mutters ‘sh*t,’ loudly, after his set prematurely ends,” he described.
Deus explained, “He’s under the impression that everyone cares how much he’s lifting, and wants us to know that any other day he could have made the lift.”
Can only hope forgetting the headphones does not happen again, but in terms of those people who are much too concerned about making an impression on others rather than actually working out, as Deus put it, “Do us all a favor and don’t be that guy!”/WDJ

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