How to be That Guy at the gym

Pumping Iron for You

When I show up to the gym, I’m on a mission: to challenge myself, accomplish goals and complete that day’s workout quickly and efficiently.

My triathlon training incorporates about three strength-training workouts a week, and on these days, I try to spend as little time in the gym as possible. I’m not rude, but I’m not there to socialize. And given my affinity for obscure footwear and ragged, free exercise apparel, combined with facial expressions that say, “I’m about to puke,” or “Aaaaaggghhhh,” not many people stop me to chat.

And even though I’m OK being weird at the gym, this approach isn’t for everyone.

For some, the thought of making a plan and dominating goals may seem like too much work.

Perhaps working smarter, not harder sounds boring, and at the gym you’d rather focus on things like meeting someone, getting huge and hogging the mirror.

Then you – my friend – would be much better suited for the alternative, longer-lasting, less-intense and more vocal workout routine of That Guy.

Here are five easy ways to be That Guy at the gym and solidify your place on the dark side of fitness.

1. Take long breaks – you deserve it

Oliver After Weight Training

When your workout routine includes exercises like maxing-out on the tricep-extension machine for three rounds of eight reps, it’s important to relax between sets. Don’t be afraid to spend at least 10-30 minutes sitting around on nearby gym equipment – doing nothing – to give those triceps the rest they’ve earned. Or, better yet, use this time to talk with your workout partner(s) or other people nearby. Which leads us to our second tip:

2. Chat often – it’s more fun than challenging yourself

Jon and Joe talking

It doesn’t matter what you talk about – those brutal calf raises; how you think you feel dehydrated; that one chick from the other night; or your plans to go home and eat a watermelon – just make sure you spend at least twice as much time talking than exercising. This can be done during your long breaks (as described above), re-racking weights, or even during your reps. Not only will you be using the gym as it’s intended – socializing – but everyone around you will appreciate hearing your tales of grandeur as they wait for you to finish your seventh set of shoulder shrugs on the only Olympic Bar in the facility.

3. Yell – it’s not worth maxing-out unless everybody knows it

Rage II

As you load every 45lb plate in the zip code onto the bar for inverted leg presses, and work your way slowly up to your one-rep max, it’s important to groan, scream, grunt, hiss, cry, growl and caw (yes caw) every rep of the way. That’s the only way you’re gonna get it, broseph. Plus, everybody else in the gym will hear you, and want to be you.

4. Drop your weights – but only when using cast-iron plates

Dumbbells - Hanteln

Yeah, some gyms have bumper plates that allow for weights to be dropped without damaging the floor. But many athletes don’t realize you can drop any kind of weight. It’s easy: when you’re finished curling, just let go of the 150lb dumbbells and let them crash to the floor. The only thing you need to worry about is making sure your feet are out of the way. And if by some chance there’s a clip-art-themed sign at eye level on the mirror in front of you that says, “Please do not drop weights – Thx, Management,” just ignore it. The floor will heal.

5. Take up space – lockers are for losers

Hot Dog

Think of the weight room as a park, the exercise equipment as trees, and yourself as a dog, dawg. Mark your territory and leave your gym bag, nutrition, water bottles, towels, weight belts and hoodies on as many benches, racks, bars and machines as possible. Yeah, you risk losing a few items, but you gain your own personal workout facility. Plus, this allows you to waste spend more time talking as you make your laps around the gym to gather your belongings after three hours of working out.

Alright. That’s five easy ways to be “That Guy” at the gym, go against the grain of our Tri for Les values, and make me hate you without even knowing you. What are some other tips for “That Guy” in training?

– Live Every Day –

Full disclosure: Though I was never as obnoxious as “That Guy,” I did used to spend stupid amounts of time in the weight room, doing silly exercises like shoulder shrugs, bicep curls and leg extensions. Looking back, I see it wasn’t harmful – there are worse things a teenager could be doing in his off time than working out – but rather, a massive waste of time. Thankfully, I eventually learned better.

  • Sarge

    Dude, It ain’t maxing out unless it is on the front lawn, duh. How else are you supposed to get chicks walking by.

    • adamsfuller

      Good point

  • Ed Baker

    Perhaps this is not surprising: I routinely do 3 and 4.

    • adamsfuller

      It’s OK, Ed. You do Crossfit so I know you’re safely dropping bumper plates and screaming as you hit PR’s on Power Cleans and and overhead squats. You’re excused.