No one wants to look like a moron at the gym. Yet, so often, we fail in this simple quest. But why?
Well, we can’t answer that to be honest. If you fall over in front of someone you are trying to impress, then it’s your fault. There are however, a number of easy steps you can take, to limit the chances of going red faced when working out.
Let’s get started with your clothes…
Don’t wear clothes that are too tight
Not only are you going to restrict yourself if you wear trousers, shorts or leggings that are tighter than Scrooge at a fundraiser, but you run the risk of ripping.
Imagine going nice and deep during a squat, and then you hear a tear. The chances are, that said rip, is going to be around your bottom area. Not the best idea if you are looking to impress.
Clothes pulling apart at the seams aside, you don’t want to show too much bulge. On some exercises, like a bench press, you are putting your bits on display. Whether it’s camel toe or the aforementioned bulge, it’s something you want to avoid. So go a size up, not down, and save the eyes of your fellow gym goers, as well as any possible embarrassing moments.
Let go of trapped wind
Every article has a catalyst, and in this instance, it was our in house expert, Dominic, returning from the gym with a funny story. A fellow gym goer was showing perfect squat form, had gone nice and deep, and had let out a rip roaring fart. Noise Maker didn’t react as he had earphones on, so either didn’t hear, or thought no one would notice. But notice they did, and Noise Maker will forever be known as the guy who farted when squatting.
So make noises elsewhere, or really concentrate on clenching.
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Don’t lift too much when trying to impress others
This one goes without saying, and most of us have probably done it at some point.
You’re new to the gym, you’ve just discovered the wonderful world of creatine monohydrate and other such supplements, and you walk up to the iron. You see a pretty lady, or chap, near you, and you add an extra 100% to the weight. You then fail, grunt loudly and injure yourself.
Not only does going too heavy increase the chances of injury (both to your reputation and to your body) but it also hinders the enjoyment you’ll get out of the gym. You’ll look far cooler, and get better results, if you lift an appropriate weight and look to improve over time.
Always remember collars
Even if you can lift massive weights, and even if you are the most seasoned of seasoned gym goers, you need to remember to put the collars on the bar. If you don’t, all hell could break loose. It’s all well and good lifting the equivalent of a Ford Focus, but if the weights then fall off, you aren’t going to get many “cool” points.
So instead, make it a routine. 1) Set up weight 2) Add collars 3) Check collars and weights 4) Do your thing.
If you have a gym buddy/spotter, give them another responsibility; become “accountabilibuddies” .
Always have a spotter
You might not need them for bicep curls, but you will for bench presses, or really heavy squats. Because despite what gym memes have you think, it is acceptable to fail from time to time. In fact, it’s a good idea. Learning to fail properly, and move on from there is a good way to become more aggressive when hitting bigger weights.
What isn’t a good idea, is failing all by yourself. It is better to fail and have the bar stopped by a spotter, instead of it crashing down on you, crushing your windpipe and in general causing a lot of embarrassment.
Granted, it is hard not to be slightly embarrassed when someone spots you while squatting, but please try to get on with it. It’s better than being crushed under 300kg of iron.
Don’t run too fast
If you do actually go on a treadmill, then knows your limits. It’s a good idea to add an incline if possible, and to run faster for periods of time, but it is unlikely that you are Usain Bolt, so don’t act like it.
If a treadmill wins a speed battle, you are going to be shot backwards, which is the cardio based equivalent of being squashed without a spotter.
So yes, push yourself. But learn to use the emergency stop in dire circumstances.
Know your equipment
Whether it’s a machine or a set of free weights, it’s a good idea to learn what to do with it. If you curl in the squat rack, not only will people look down their noses on you, but you’ll also be the person who offends everyone in the gym.
Likewise, if you get on a machine backwards, or do some weird new fandangled exercise that you think is right, you run the risk of being filmed by some unhelpful soul who will then laugh at you on social media.
So do some research, take your time, and if in doubt, ask someone. You might even make a new friend.