The other day I worked out at a commercial gym. You know the kind: TVs, protein shake bar, old guys on treadmills, girls with bouncy ponytails, lots of dudes bench pressing.
It's been a long time since I've worked out at one of those. I forgot what it was like, the kind of people that are there, what a typical workout looks like.
I'd forgotten all about the experience: The wannabe MMA fighters shadow boxing in front of the mirror; the girls who only do cardio because they don't want to “bulk up”; the meatheads.
Oh, the meatheads.
Here's the thing about meatheads: they've grown in numbers. They've transformed.
No longer is a meathead just an older guy with a cut-off shirt who likes to lift heavy shit and carries a gallon water jug with him.
Meatheads have gotten younger. Less sophisticated. (Yeah, I didn't know it was possible either.)
The New Meatheads (as I'll call them) can be disguised as anyone. College kids, thirty-year-old tax accountants, the bartender from your favorite sports bar. They can even be (gasp!) your good friend or workout partner.
What, you ask, is so wrong with being a New Meathead? Inherently nothing. I'm sure most are good people. Pay their taxes. Drive a justifiable five miles-per-hour over the speed limit. Let people cut in front of them at the grocery store checkout line. That sort of stuff.
But when they're in the commercial gym — their nesting grounds and eternal home — a New Meathead can be dangerous. (Well, maybe not dangerous. Just annoying. Very, very annoying.)
New Meatheads are not born — they're made. Every day hundreds — maybe thousands — of New Meathead cells pop up around the world. They get their fuel from crappy supplements and protein bars and their information from weight lifting forums.
Then, armed with their knowledge of training and nutrition they learned over the past two weeks, they infiltrate every commercial gym and take over like moldy fungus, coating all the equipment in their shiny New Meathead goo and refusing to clean up after themselves.
So how do you spot a New Meathead so you can avoid him? It isn't hard, if you know what to look for.
5 Ways to Spot A New Meathead
1. Look at their legs.
Are they wearing long pants? Or shorts? If they're wearing long pants then they're probably trying to cover up their small Chicken Legs.
You see, most New Meatheads rarely train their legs, opting to spend more time on the bench press. And if they do train legs, it's almost always with the hack-squat machine or leg press, two exercises that are good in a pinch, but not as main leg exercises.
2. Look at their ass.
Yes, I know it can be scary. But look. You must find this out. Do they even have a noticeable ass? As a consequence of rarely training their legs, most New Meatheads have Flat-Ass Syndrome, a horrible affliction where their ass is actually concave. (Note: that's why you never see a New Meathead sit down — they'd slide right off the chair.)
3. Notice their shoulders.
Are they slumped forward? Not like a depressed 14-year-old, but like a guy who's all pumped up but can't….seem…to…pull…his…shoulders…back. Like, physically incapable.
This is due to the sheer amount of bench pressing, shoulder pressing, and biceps curls. It wouldn't be so bad — and their upper bodies may just look more proportionate — if New Meatheads were to to do rows, pull-ups, reverse flies, and other exercises that strengthened their upper back.
But that rarely happens. Instead, you'll normally find them on the T-Bar Row trying to move four 45-pound plates a few inches.
4. Look for a notebook.
Don't see one? That's a bad sign. That means the New Meathead is in the gym doing whatever he feels like. No workout program. No progressive overload. No programming whatsoever.
Barbell curls? Sure. Dumbbell curls? Hell yeah. Preacher curls? Amen.
With no plan of attack, the New Meathead's groans of fake exertion will be in vain as he'll probably look the same as he does today four weeks from now.
5. Check the clock.
A New Meathead workout usually takes more than an hour, but they often have little to show for it. Between stopping for water, annoying other gym members, watching themselves in the mirror, and stopping for more water, a New Meathead may only do 15 minutes of actual exercise.
If you see him on the gym floor when you walk in the front door, and again when you walk out, it's safe to say the New Meathead is probably just wasting time.
Don't Be A New Meathead (Or An Old Meathead)
Train your legs. Stand up straight and confident. Follow a workout program and keep track of your progress. But most importantly, don't live your life in the gym. Don't be defined by it.
You're a Hero, dammit.
You define the world the way you see it.
Any other characteristics of a New Meathead? Share yours below.