How to Spot One and Offer A Cure
I have a major problem. I…I see douchebags.
More specifically, I walk into the gym and I see douchebags in their late teens, 20's, and early 30's, and they remind me of Nancy Freakin' Kerrigan, distractedly skating through the weight room totally unaware that someone (me) is about to take a barbell to their weak little knees.
Just the other day my local Gold's Gym was infested with guys wearing abrasive cologne, designer Ed Hardy t-shirts, iPod arm bands, and calling each other “bro” as they checked out their abs in the locker-room mirror.
“Nice abs, bro. They look real good. Can you pass me my mint water?”
Oh the agony.
It's time to stop the spread of douchebaggery, and I need your help. But why, you ask, must we find a cure? Because the gym-douchebag virus is highly contagious and prone to random, herpes-like breakouts. (I first thought it was spread by vampire bites on the neck, but have recently learned it's a sort of osmotic infection you can get by simply touching a rhinestone-covered t-shirt. Good to know.)
Here are the signs you may have spotted a gym-douchebag. Being the nice guy I am, I also offered a cure. But I must warn you: like naughty little children, they may refuse to take the medicine. If that's the case, you've done all you can do.
4 Signs You've Spotted A Gym-Douchebag (And How to Cure Him)
1. He starts his workouts with curls and ends his workouts with curls
I'm all for the occasional “arm day” – in fact, I'm incorporating more isolation exercises into my personal training program – but a program that starts and ends with curls isn't much of a program at all. He's not recruiting enough muscle or challenging his body in any way. Chances are good he's using the same curl variation with the exact same weight, too.
The Cure: Tell him to start off his “arm day” with a close-grip bench press and weighted palms-facing-him chin-up and go as heavy as he can. Then have him do an activation exercise for each muscle group: a close-grip plyometric push-up and barbell drop-curl (literally curling a light bar, dropping it, and catching it in the middle portion of the lift) to “wake up” the muscle fibers he hadn't activated before. Then he can do an isolation exercise or two.
2. He's training in a designer t-shirt or worse, a sleeveless shirt with a slit cut down the armpit all the way to the bottom.
We don't need to say much about this. It just plain looks fucking stupid.
The Cure: Get this man an Under Armour loose-fitting t-shirt (not one of the skin-tight leotards) or a basic t-shirt. He's only allowed to cut the sleeves off if his arms are over 17 inches when flexed. That's it.
3. He reads a magazine, newspaper, or watches videos on his iPod in between sets.
Some guys take rest periods way too seriously. “It said to rest exactly three minutes so that's what I'm going to do.” And others have no concept of time at all and end up wasting four or five minutes in between sets.
The Cure: Someone should tell him he's spending way too much time in the gym, losing the metabolic effect of the exercise, and pissing off guys like us who are waiting to use the equipment he's monopolizing. Rest periods should be as short as possible and are over when you feel like you can perform at a high intensity again. For me, this is 30-60 seconds, tops. Maybe a little longer as the weight gets near my one-rep max.
4. He asks about the new “fill in the blank” supplement and thinks it'll take him from skinny-fat to stacked.
I know guys who take in more calories from supplements than they do from regular food. They're known as “idiots.” Personally, I use a few Biotest supplements around the peri-workout window but I make sure my three main meals and most of my snacks come from whole food sources.
The Cure: Supplements are great but they're not the cure-all and they certainly won't turn you into a powerful, muscular, ripped guy over night. Want to know the best way to accomplish those goals? Eat high-quality food, train consistently, know which supplements to take at the right time, and get enough water and sleep. Not too fucking hard (though a lot of people will try to convince you it is).
Do you have any other ways to spot a gym-douchebag? How the hell would you cure them? I bet we could come up with at least 25 or more. Let me hear it!