Amid all the sexual abuse/harassment allegations in Hollywood recently, I feel it’s necessary to send a message to some of my fellow brothers living this gym life in a ranty post that hopefully gets my point across...
We as gymbros are inherently scumbags. Take your average male, already a scumbag, sprinkle in some testosterone, add a sleeveless shirt, a strong pre-workout, and a few heavy sets of deadlifts and what you wind up with is the raging hormones of a teenager in a grown man’s body wearing a bulletproof shell. Performing such primal acts such as lifting heavy weight from the floor, putting loaded bars on our backs, engaging in a pissing contest when challenged by another male with the same massive ego, etc., it’s no wonder that these primal behaviors frequently extend to preying on the opposite sex in the gym. It’s something that is embedded deep in our souls and the stimuli that the gym provides only fuels the fire. When a gymbro hits a personal record in the bench press, he is now indestructible, flawless, and in his own mind, irresistible to all women. When he spots a young woman two benches down from him, he thinks she’s hot and he thinks that she thinks he’s hot, so he wants to do her a favor and go strike up a conversation. However, this gymbro needs to run a check before acting on this most primal of impulses (attention gymbros: print this out or write it down to ensure you avoid the Weinstein and Spacey predicaments).
1) Did she say anything to you? The fact that you made eye contact means nothing, she wasn’t “sex eyeing” you, that was her taking notice of how dumb you look as a grown man in a skin-tight shirt with the spider man logo on it, seriously, are you a toddler?
2) Is she wearing headphones? It doesn’t get any more obvious, she doesn’t want to talk to you or anyone else. Consider this her way of trying to avoid you and any conversation that you may want to engage her in, assume she doesn’t exist and move along.
3) Is she focused on her training? The fact that you are willing to take 10 minutes of rest before your next set of bench press doesn’t mean she is willing to waste her training time on a pointless conversation with you. Respect the fact that she is trying to get shit done and try to do the same for yourself.
4) Take a heavy dose of reality. Just because she is performing an exercise in front of you that requires her to bend at the waist DOES NOT mean that she is doing so for your benefit. Maybe she wants strong hamstrings, maybe she wants to improve her back health, she isn’t inviting you to stare at her ass, so stop, now. I’m sure you think you are being covert about it, but she knows, and it’s annoying her.
5) Her gym attire is not an invitation. You like her light-colored yoga pants and tank top, don’t you? Good for you, keep that to yourself. I know what you’re thinking: “she’s asking for it coming to the gym dressed like that.” Bullshit, maybe it’s comfortable and she gets hot when she is putting in work while you are too busy taking inventory of the women in the weight room. I don’t know because I’ve never worn yoga pants but I’m guessing they are comfortable or at least that’s a more realistic reason than to invite you to creep up on her in some half-assed attempt to get something going.
The bottom line is that everyone comes to the gym to get stronger or improve themselves in one way or another. When you think you are feeling the urge to do or say something stupid to a female, make sure you refer to this list. Ask yourself “would Bill Cosby do this?”, if yes, do something else. I’ll dumb it down for you a bit, use some of the same character traits you employ to craft a better physique: focus, discipline, and most of all self-control to avoid a potential harassment scenario.
It’s commonplace that when discussing strength training with female gym members, I hear they are afraid of the weight room due to feeling “intimidated” or “self-conscious” around the “big guys” and the “heavy weights”. If this type of sentiment wasn’t widespread amongst women, there wouldn’t be a multi-million-dollar business consisting of women-only gyms. Think about that for a minute, some women are so uncomfortable training around men, they erected buildings dedicated to the simple fact that we aren’t there. In this era of increased tolerance and equity across the board, that is ridiculous. As a lifetime trainer/coach, it pisses me off to know these feelings exist. To be clear, I’m no social justice warrior. I’m a full-fledged lifetime gymbro who is susceptible to the same urges as anyone else. However, I also earn my living in this arena and aspire for it to be held at a higher standard than other walks of life (especially Hollywood). The weight room should be a place where men, women, overweight, underweight, all races and religions should be given the opportunity to challenge themselves and improve without additional obstacles. Let’s get it together or suffer the same fate as Hollywood.
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