T Nation

Stuff you hear at the gym that makes you mad

Ok, we’ve discussed people that piss us off, things we’ve seen that’ve made us angry and many other related topics, but what I’m looking for here is specific stuff that we’ve heard while at the gym concerning training that makes us so mad we can’t can’t stand it. Tell us what it was, who said it and any other details you can think of.

I’ll start us off. Last night, this guy at the gym decided to tell me that push presses and clean presses won’t build size or strength because there isn’t enough “tension,” if you can believe it. He went on to list the only exercises that really work to build shoulders: lateral raises and seated presses. Now, I’m not one to get too angry because I’ve heard it all before and I’ve learned to tune shit like this out, but it made me so pissed, I had trouble concentrating on the rest of my workout.

This is the same guy that tells me that deadlifts don’t build muscle or make you bigger, they “only give you power.” I’m struggling to tune this shit out. I don’t have the time or patience to discuss this sort of thing beyond a basic argument or else I’d never get anything done, because this sort of nonsense is rampant at my gym. Yes, I’m changing gyms soon, but in the meantime, there is plenty of material there to make you guys laugh.

  1. The guy who does 0.3 second eccentrics on every rep of every lift explaining the importance of time under tension.

  2. The same guy telling me I’m “over-thinking it” when discussing the 1-6 Method with someone.

Over heard while walking to the water fountain:

Trainer “Yeah, but you need to push it a little, up the weight you lift or the reps you do”

Trainee “But when I do that, It hurts”

Same girl was doing leg extensions with 20 pounds, while reading a BOOK, five minutes later.

This was just two days ago…

Get some headphones to tune that nonsense out. They’re a life saver.

This is good. I love hearing these stories, the more the better and the more ridiculous the better.

How about being told this by a trainer: “the only exercises you need to build your back are wide grip pull downs and seated rows.”

My reply: “How about deads, bent over rows, oly lifts, chins etc, how can you tell me you can properly build a back with only the exercises you mention?”

His reply: “those other exercises are good, but I’d like to see everyone build their back program around wide grip pull downs.”

Hey, I work as a trainer and you’d go into a twitching fit if you heard some of the stuff I do. I actually heard one of my co-workers telling someone that you don’t want to lift heavy weights because that will build bulky muscle that’s not good for anything. What you want to do is lift light weight for many reps to build those long, lean muscles. Because of course my bulky muscles aren’t what allow me to dead that 405lbs in the pic section.

Hey, who knew that muscle shape isn’t genetically predetermined. That must mean that if I train heavy I’ll be able to shorten my long muscle bellies by turning the ends of my muscle to tendon. What a load of crap.

Same person was working with a guy (obviously he’s been lifting for a while) who wanted bigger legs. His current routine was of course based around the leg press. The trainer moved him onto the smith machine for squats because they’re just as effective as regular squats but without the danger to your knees.

I think I’m developing a nervous tick from listening to these so called professionals. . .


“…you wanna do inclines or declines today?..”

“…Whatever, no difference…”

Two guys, a 80 pound Bar and I swear to god I heard a hamster somewhere…

“You can’t make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you’re doing is recording it”

~ Art Buchwald

Although I’ve got some doozies from the gym, some of my best stories are from people that come into my store.

  1. There’s this guy that just started shopping at my store about a month ago, and you’ve all seen his kind before…early 40’s…know it all with more “high school football glory stories” than imaginable. He goes on and on about how hardcore he and his workout partner are and how he used to bench 425 in high school no problem but he can’t seem to get back there now that they have recently started lifting again.
    He’s wanting to get his 1RM up and although he asks me for advice, I learned some time ago to just keep my mouth shut, smile and agree with whatever he says. He tells me how they are doing sets of 15, 12, 10, 8, and then burn-out sets of 20-30 reps on bench and how that’s going to help get his max up. Um, okay buddy.
    Then, he’s going on again about how intense they are and how they’d love to put a younger guy like me through their three hour marathon shoulder routine that they do twice a week and consists of abour 35-40 sets (not to mention their twice weekly bench sessions) and how there’s noone around that can handle their workout intensity. This isn’t even taking their bench workouts into consideration. Meanwhile, he’s complaining that his shoulder has been hurting and how he’s had to lay off for a while…attributing it to “getting older.” What a piece of work. What I wouldn’t give to put this idiot through a “measly” 24 min. Meltdown session!

  2. This one angered me at the time, but now I look back and laugh. It’s very reminiscent of the running joke in “Road House” where they keep telling Patrick Swayze that for his line of work they thought he’d be bigger. A couple years ago, I was helping a customer and he was asking me some diet and training questions and was generally pretty receptive to what I was saying. Then he hits me with it. I had been cutting for a while and was in about the best shape of my life, and he looks at me and says, “Well it looks like you’ve got a good cardio program going for you.” DOH!

Now I’m not going to be mistaken for Greg Kovacs at 5’7" and 160-ish, but for the love of God, CARDIO??? I know he meant it as a compliment, but it was still irritating at the time. To this day, I still have not heard the end of that from my staff.

“But the RDA for protien is only 50 grams.”

“But I don’t want to get big and bulky.”

“That ephedra stuff is too dangerous.”

Anyone who acts like an expert but give out the most worthless information.

Anyone who asks for advice, then proceeds to tell you why what you tell him is wrong.

Guys who go on and on about bitches, sluts, hoes, tits, ass, cunts, and every other term they learned in 6th grade just to prove how manly they are. It really pisses me off when I’m working out with my girlfriend.

Guys who keep talking about how they have to do more situps to get a six pack, all while they never work to loose some of their 27% body fat.

“You should use a weight belt to protect your back.”

I could go on and on…

Okay, the single most common and at the same time annoying conversation I have while working at the gym:

Them: How do I lose the fat off my butt?

Me: Diet and exercise.

What exercise will burn the most fat off my butt?


Just my butt


I don’t want to do cardio I just want to burn the fat off my butt. What burns fat off your butt?


But that hits your whole body. I just want to lose it off my butt.


etc. etc. etc.

I just don’t have time to explain to people why weights, cardio and diet are all crucial parts of weight loss. Besides which they’re not really listening to me. What they want to hear is “oh, this machine over here will burn the fat of your but in a mere 20 minutes without any of the nasty side effects of real exercise, like health, fitness and sweat.”

I really hate being asked questions that require an hour and a half to answer properly when you know the person wants an answer in three words or less.


“I got sooo drunk last night… (then 2 minutes later)… Maybe I’m just not doing enough sit-ups to get rid of this gut”

“If you add 30 more sets of preacher curls to the 50 you’re doing, you could get some HIUGE arms”

Just yesterday I saw a guy with about 400 lbs loaded up to do squats… you guessed it… I had to make sure I didn’t blink so I didn’t miss any movement.

One of the funnier things I saw a couple months ago was this guy that looked he just woke up from a coma after being malnurished for 2 years. He couldn’t have weighed more than 120 pounds, standing atleast 6 ft tall. Anyway, I could tell he had little or no weight training experience… looked like a disaster waiting to happen. He was there by himself and he was going to do some incline bench (I was watching in case I needed to go rescue him or something :slight_smile: ). Anyway, he put 50 pounds on the bar and proceeded to unrack it. He lowered it ok, but once he got it to his chest the panic began… (not enough weight to hurt the guy, so I just watched)… he kind of wiggled the bar back and forth, got it up maybe a few inches a couple times, then proceeded to slowly roll it down his body. It was quite the site.

Most of the time I try to ignore this stuff, but once in a while you can’t help but notice the stupidity. Maybe I should say something to some of these people, but most of them won’t care anyway… they must follow their M&F routines to a “T”

“Bulk up first, then turn the fat into muscle”

“Squats are bad for your kness”

“This is the best way…”

“What you want to do today? Chest and arms”

“No, I don’t want to work my legs, I just want a big chest and big arms”

“Heavy weights build bulk, lights give you cuts”

The endless chain goes on…

Scenario 1:

Key Players -
a. A middle-aged dude who’s about 6’2" and weighs maybe 150 soaking wet. He has the body of a long distance runner. Let’s call him Cardio Man.
b. Me

I’m stretching my legs after my leg day. Cardio Man approaches me, looking all serious and stuff. He stretches next to me and tries to strike a conversation with me (not a good thing when I’m just done w/ my leg day and when you’re not my friend in any shape or form).

Cardio Man: Hey there. I saw you squat there.
Me: O.
Cardio Man: Do you know that squats will bulk you like those bodybuilders? I honestly think it’s a waste of time for you.
Me: Thanks for the advice, but I like to squat.
Cardio Man: If you like, I can coach you long distance running, which should be more beneficial for your physique goals.
Me: (Thinking: WTF? You know my physique goals???)

Scenario 2:

Key players -
a. Belt Man: this guy wears a weight belt for everything from walking on the treadmill, elliptical machines, and other cardio machines to hyperextension to leg curls to…it’s too long to list
b. me

I’m doing deadlifts for 5x5. My deadlifts = really sucky. Maybe 125 lbs on a good day. He approaches me. After all, ALL MEN FEEL THIS OVERWHELMING NEED TO COACH/APPROACH A LONE FEMALE WORKING OUT ALONE! (This is my pet peeve…being approached by idiots)

Belt Man: That’s a lot to deadlift.
Me: It’s just so-so. (mentally thinking of Pat’s awesome deadlifts)
Belt Man: You know, since you lift so heavy you should get a belt before you hurt yourself.
Me: My back’s fine. I don’t think I’ll need one.
Belt Man: Well, i’ts because you’re young now. But when you hit your 40s…
Me: (interrupting him) Well, that’ll be another 16 years to go before I need to buy one. So thanks. I’ll put that on my calendar when I turn 40.

I trained for less than a year, but all this time, I received only two good advice from trainers/MWFOUTAALFWOA (men who feel overwhelming urge to approach a lone female working out alone). And this happened when I was a newbie.

  1. Eat small meals more frequently (this from a trainer)
  2. When you hack squat, please drive through your heels. (this from a MWFOUTAALFWOA)

Okay, how did my bother describe this guy?

Plyometric Reverse Squats

This guy was doing some squats, he was strugling away with a plate a side. Then he went and stuck 4 or 5 plates on each side of the bar. I figured at this point that we were about to see what was described above, some “blink and you’ll miss it” squats. Well, the guy climbs under the bar, unracks it and steps back.

At this point I noticed that he hadn’t put the safety catches in on the cage. Well as soon as he bent his knees he got STAPLED to the floor. I mean he didn’t even slow this weight down on it’s way to the ground. The only thing that saved him was the fact that it fell backward off of his shoulders when he came to a stop. A sudden, abrubt and painfull looking stop.


Oh… i’ve heard stuff from “trainers” that make me wonder which moronic institute they were trained at…and why they were even allowed to be certified in the first place

For instance…
one fine day i was benching and the friendly trainer walks up to me saying earnestly: Girls shouldn’t bench because they DON’T HAVE PECS.

another fine day, as i walked away from the squat rack another one of the trainers told me : Why do you always squat? Why don’t you do something MORE CHALLENGING?

from that same trainer: Why don’t you look DOWN when you squat? you would be MORE STABLE.

yea… pinned on the floor is a very stable position.

I cringe.
Somebody keep these trainers away from me…

good buddy feanor has many “wonderful gems” of entertainment to share with the T-mag community… i visit the same place where she trains… and its all true!! all of it!! (sadly) argh…

M.I.T…Moronic Institute for Trainers…this must be where they all come from…

…“Learning, n. The kind of ignorance distinguishing the studious”

~ Ambrose Bierce

Stella - Any Unsolicited training advice, IMHO, is the number one cardinal sin in any gym, I feel ya.

This one happened to me Friday. I set up the Preacher bench backward, put the straight bar on and setup to do some curls. The Manager comes over on or about my third set and asks me to move the Curls to the power rack, He thinks I’m taking up too much space and might hit one of the civilians.“I’m sorry I can’t do that. One, someone might actually want to use the equipment for what it was designed for. Two, If any of my friends ever saw me curling in a squat rack I may not be alive by Sunday” He stares at me for a minute while I stare back at him. Eventually he gives up and walks away.

These are all from the same guy, so its extra funny…

“Doing bodyweight exercises build better muscles, the kind of muscles that are built over time but are stronger and last longer, y’know, core muscles.”

“I think that bodyweight exercises build muscles better than lifting weights.”

“I don’t work my legs, I just work upper body.”

Then one time when he was explaining all the different bodyweight exercises that can be done in substitution of weights. He listed a lot of good alternatives then I said “what about leg exercises?” He said “oh, I don’t work my legs so they don’t matter.”

Then there was one time that he said “when I workout I just do my one set of 90 pushups (which are about top to midpoint pushups and done lightning fast with horrible form) and then I work my abs and I’m done”

Yeah, he likes talking out of his ass. This is the same guy that smokes half a pack a day, sniffs crack, and smokes weed. He would drink but he says that alcohol doesn’t affect him. He can drink a whole bottle and get drunk. He says “I just can’t get drunk!”

A newbie, apparently impressed with the weight I was deadlifting, confronts me and says:

“That’s a lot of weight. Aren’t you scared that one day you’ll suddenly wake up and be so huge you won’t be able to move?”

I nodded my head and told him that this fear alone keeps me awake at night. Then I tried as much as possible to explain to him the science behind hypertrophy, but somehow, I don’t think he “bought it.”