T Nation

Gym Banter


Where i used to train there used to be a lot of piss taking, in a fun way.

Where i train now is pretty serious, olympic athletes etc

One guy who is the biggest guy who trains there, was benching 350 ish the other day

while he was taking a rest, and i was passing i said "stop messing about and put some proper weight on" "what next the pink weights?" in a sarcastic manner

in the old gym people would just laugh and this type of thing went on a lot

but i seem to have caused some offence by this remark. Obviously it was a serious and not very pink weight at all.

any advice apart from "shut my mouth next time"


Apologize and explain that you meant the opposite. Or continue as you did, they'll get it some day, hopefully. It's not uncommon to meet people that take that kind of humour literally.


I used to work with alot of people like that - and I'm a real sarcastic bastard [usually in a non-cruel way]. Such as when I first started I introduced myself to a few people as "their new boss" while laughing and grinning - it was bloody obvious it was a piss take. Then the next day I'm in the bosses office being asked why I'm telling lies to coworkers in regards to my job.

Some people just don't get it - Especially people who take themselves to seriously. Personally I love the jokes about 'pink weights' and 'girly lifting' - Gives me drive to improve, and a reason to give em hell back. The people you describe are the reason I train in my garage.


The great tragedy of my life is that I was not born into a sitcom where smartass remarks are expected and come with a laugh track.

I grew up with 6 siblings, and mocking banter is how we register affection for each other. Twisted, perhaps, but all my closest friends are people who are verbally quick and understand that this kind of banter is friendly. At my gym, if someone is scanning the DB rack looking for the right weights, and you point out the plastic-coated single-digit DBs, they are likely to say "Can I get those for you?" No one takes offense.

There's nothing wrong with you, but think about adapting to your audience. How well have they come to know you? If this is the first contact between you and that guy, and he has no experience with your humor, then he had no way of gauging your intent. So make sure you've established a rep as a joker first; the best ice-breaker is self-deprecating humor: shows you're a comedian and is totally non-threatening to others.

(My favorite line, when someone has an impressive amount of weight on the bar and has just struggled with a set, is "When you're done with your warmup, mind if I jump in?")

Carry on.


At the gym, unless I know you or you look like you have been lifting for a while, I usually won't carry on jovial banter with anyone unless a comment is made on my way in or out. It is particularly irritating when it comes from someone who looks like it is their first day in the gym. It makes me think that they aren't serious and that they are trying to interrupt how seriously I do take it.

There is one older guy at my gym who is slightly chubby (read as, beer gut, not too muscular) who seems to take it upon himself to give "advice" to every single "newbie" who comes in the gym. I swear he spends half of his time or more in the gym talking about how they should be lifting, or better yet, how some song on the radio reminds him of when he met the band. I try to turn my MP3 up louder but the image is a little distracting, simply because that is ALL he does.

I think you need to understand that many people do take weight lifting very seriously. They aren't in the gym to play around, tell jokes, or laugh with you about random comments you make. They are there to stay focused and get the job done. It may be why they look the way they do moving the weight they move. Not only that, but what may seem like "big weight" to you may just be pissing him off because he is feeling weaker that day than usual or he missed his best performance with it.


Chalk it up to lessons learned. Your new gym has a different pulse that's all. I'm sure if your looking for guys to train with you'll eventually find people with similar goals and propensity to bust balls.

When I trained at my old gym in Queens, NY bustng balls was raised to a new art form. Non-stop from the minute you walked in the door. English, Spanish, Russian didn't matter if you understood it or not...somebody had a comment for you. It was fun.


If you are going to call someone a girly-man or accuse them of lifting pink dumbells you should do it with your best Arnold voice.


It is easier to joke around with guys who have your same goals. If I walk in the gym and everyone who I know is there, they are training hard and they are focused, we'll joke around more. We know it doesn't take away from the workout. Gyms are like mini-soap operas if you actually stand back for a while and see what everyone is really about. However, just like anywhere else, if you are the new guy and you don't exactly stand out in terms of muscle mass, many gyms won't just start joking around with you.

Most of the people getting into the gym this time of year are simply taking up space to begin with.


HA!!! And some of them quite a bit of it! I wish them well though... =/


Good points all

I have joked around a little before, the little guys he was training with did look very offended. ;(

I guess i better go explain. Thing is he's the biggest stongest guy there by miles, so the idea of him using the pink weights was just so far from the truth it's laughable....well I hoped it was :wink:

I'm only 200lbs at approx 10% at the mo so look like i train but am not massive in the slightest.

I'm in there working out seriously most of the time, not in my string vest spandex and hanky hat.


man, you sound like that one Bastard guy that used to motor around these parts :wink:

yeah, to respond to your question, mostly what the others said. in general, people (particularly women) do not understand guys like us. as someone said, people are all too serious too much of the time. ironically, they are rarely serious about the right things. (you know, they sweat the small stuff while their personal relationships, finances, and general well being are in shambles)

anyhoo, i leave most of my trash talking to those i know. most of the guys i know train like bodybuilders and have "chest days" and "arm days" etc. i have all kinds of fun with this stuff:

me: what you doing tonight?
them: shoulders
me: good, you need to
them: f*ck you, haha, what are you doing?
me: chest, back, delts, quads, hams, calves, tris, abs, bis ... but not necessarily in that order
them: ... (wtf?)

hey, just go tell that guy that you were only introducing yourself in your own style. let him know that you are serious and look forward to picking up a few tips and pointers along the way. but you don't have to be a kiss ass. go for better timing too ... i hate talking to people between sets.



I'm with the Prof.

I'm usually not in a mood for lighthearted ribbing when I'm in the gym, I'm in competition with myself, thus keeping my focus on the task at hand.

Even if I know someone and they're just fucking around I don't generally yuck it up until I'm done working out.

That's just the way I am though, when I see guys laughing or in a circle chatting away I feel like they could be doing something more productive. But who the hell am I to bitch at them, as long as they're not bothering me.



The next time you see him, have the gym dedicate a song to him...maybe Celine Dion...then bring him some warm mint tea in the locker room. He'll understand that your serious and just wanted to make a new friend.




JUST WAIT UNTIL January 2 when the New Year's resolutions walk through those gym doors at 6am sharp!!!


Having worked in several gyms over the last 20 years I reckon that the best training atmospheres were created when there was lots of piss taking going on.

Strangely enough I don't have any studies to back this up! It's just my opinion.



I remember one time when I was a senior in high school. I wasn't that big, but I was bigger than the other kids in my grade in the gym. So a bunch would be standing around the dumbbell rack and I'd approach it, looking like I was all psyched up.

Then I'd take a bunch of deep breaths . . reach out . . . and grab the 3 pound dumbbell (I was going to use it for chin-ups). That was good for a laugh.


One thing you might want to think about, and that hasn't been touched on yet, is that sarcastic quips can be seen as a form of dominance to the receiver.

By merely initiating conversation with someone (especially a stranger) you're asserting yourself onto them. If you use personal phrases (espetially sarcasm or calling them "buddy", "bigguy" etc...) you may be signalling to them that you are trying to dominate them and that you may perceive yourself as being better than them.

Of course this isn't what you meant but it may be how he perceived it. Personally, when a stranger or newly met person calls calls me by the above terms or uses excessive sarcasm I tend to dislike and not trust them. At least initially.


talked to the guy on Friday, he was cool and laughed it off. Panic over


That is hilarious! LOL