Article written by Rachelle Reinking
We’ve all seen “that guy”. You know, the one at your local commercial gym recording someone working out, sans permission. Or perhaps you stumbled upon them on Instagram trolling someone’s lifting post in the comments. Either way, you know exactly who I’m talking about: the lifter with a bad attitude and a superiority complex. This person delusionally thinks that he or she is the most knowledgeable on the face of the planet, with the mission of bestowing the rest of us with hints of their omniscience. They tear down others, either from afar or up close and personal, to feel better about themselves.
If you don’t know this person, there’s a good chance that person might be you. As someone who used to have “that guy” tendencies, I learned that the best way to resolve this issue is plain and simple: get over yourself. It’s a learning curve, but by the following pillars of the “Get Over Yourself” philosophy, you too can get over yourself.
If you don’t compete in a sport, you have no room to speak negatively about it.
CrossFit is fine. Powerlifting is fine. Bodybuilding is fine. You know what’s not fine? Being a dick to people who don’t do your chosen sport. This is a prevalent problem in the lifting community; everyone makes fun of the sport that isn’t their own. CrossFitters are demeaned as being scrawny infidels who don’t perform lifts correctly and will always get hurt. Powerlifters are depicted as fat, one pump chumps. Bodybuilders are cracked on for performing isolation exercises that make hypertrophied muscles that have no function. But the thing is, none of that is true. By perpetuating stereotypes like these, we sound ignorant. The person you’re taking hits at probably didn’t choose a sport because they thought, “Oh well, I’m not good enough for [insert far more superior sport here], so I’ll just try this second rate one.” No, they might actually enjoy the sport! If you haven’t competed in it yourself, then you don’t know the exact mental and emotional dedication, training intensity, or nutritional adherence it takes to compete in it. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it. Get off your high horse and encourage people whose goals are different than your own. There isn’t a right goal to have.
Your “great advice” isn’t helping, but neither is a lack of advice.
Wow, that guy on Facebook just deadlifted 605. His back is really curved though, I should tell him. Besides, he’s using straps so it’s not like it counted anyway.
If you weigh a third of the weight he just pulled, there’s no reason you should be giving tips to this person. Especially when the poster didn’t ask for any. Get out of the comments section with your unsolicited advice. Similarly, pointing out what a beginner lifter is doing wrong at every opportunity you get isn’t educational. It’s borderline mockery. It further alienates beginners who are just starting to lift and already are unsure of themselves. When people continually correct a person or even directly make fun of them, it’s discouraging and may cause them to quit before they even had a chance to truly start. If you’re a bystander recording a video of someone to put on a gym fails video, you need to get over yourself by remembering that you were once a beginner, too. We all started somewhere. On the flipside, silently watching someone put himself or herself into a position that could cause injury means you’re at fault. As a more experienced lifter, it is appropriate to help a beginner when what they’re doing actually warrants it. Protect them from having to go through weeks off trying to recover from an injury.
Ladies, stop with the unspoken hierarchy.
You, a female lifter, are in the middle of a squat session when you happen to notice a girl on the treadmill. Worse yet, she’s wearing makeup. Before you berate her from afar about her vanity and ignorant cardiovascular training, ask yourself how any of this affects you. Who cares if she’s a runner? Who cares if she touched up her MAC lipstick before getting on the elliptical? It has no bearing on your actions, and in no way makes you superior to her. In addition, another woman’s accomplishments in strength or aesthetics don’t lessen your own. Her success is not your failure. If you’re that envious of her, get over yourself and tell her that you admire her accomplishments. She probably would accept the compliment and be happy to train with you to help you meet a goal like that! This is not a secret competition between each other to be the best at anything. Build up the female fitness community instead of tearing it down.
In order to quit being “that guy”, you need to put your ego away and get over yourself. Not only will people respect you as a lifter more, but also you’ll be much happier by ridding yourself of the negativity. We’re a community after all; we need to treat others within it that way.