Avoid being a gym jerk

06/03/2011. Sunday March 6th, 2011. Photo's of Strongman Calgary training group Bells of Steel. Athletes are Norman "Shadow" Kelsick, Carlos "Los" Cook, Xavier Schurtenberger, and coach Marshall Ennis. Photography by DeborahPowell

They drop weights with a clang, and flex in front of the mirror. They’re more concerned with their GTL than their GPA, and they can make your gym experience less than enjoyable.
SAIT sheet metal apprentice Kristin DeJong says he’s encountered problems with gym jerks at gyms he’s belonged to in the past.
DeJong says the atmosphere in the gym is completely different when these overachievers are around.
“(It feels) like they own the gym, which makes you feel like you don’t want to be (there),” said DeJong.
Whether it’s the muscle-bound, protein powder addicts whose bravado and machismo is continuously on display, or the news-years-resolution fitness seekers who aren’t seen at the gym once February rolls around, the gym is a constantly evolving environment.
Randy Smith, a personal trainer with Goodlife Fitness, suggests setting workout goals to establish confidence within the gym setting, no matter who’s around.
“You have to take into consideration why it is that you want to join the gym, and focus in on those goals,” said Smith. “The more goals that you set for yourself, the more confidence you are going to build.”
Average people can feel awkward while working out, and sometimes the only thing to do is to find another place to pump iron.
“I’ve switched (gyms) to feel more comfortable,” said DeJong. “You can definitely find the gyms where (there are) more normal people.”
Randy Turning Robe, a digital graphics student, says he focuses on why he’s at the gym in order to avoid feeling intimidated.
“You’re main goal is to get your workout in,” said Turning Robe. “Get your workout done first and foremost.”

Are you that guy or gal at the gym? Tyler Zaleski, a personal trainer with Crash Conditioning, suggests these tips to help ensure you won’t be described as a ‘gym jerk’.

•  Put your weights back when you’re done a set. Just because you can do a bench press of 200 pounds doesn’t mean the next person can.
• Clean your machines after you get done using them. There’s nothing worse than finding someone else’s sweat all over a machine you want to use.
• No cell phones. Unless it’s an emergency, there’s no place for talking on your phone while working out.
• Don’t linger on machines. People are waiting to use the machines, so move on once you’re finished. You can relax somewhere else.
• Don’t overdo your appearance. – If you’re coming to the gym in nice clothes, with your hair all done up and cologne/perfume on, it’s obvious you’re there for the wrong reasons.

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