The Nature Documentary Soundtrack
Do you even lift, bro? Clearly, because I can hear you grunting from the car park. It’s a big enough test of anyone’s willpower to forgo the pub for the weights room, but throw in a soundtrack that’s indistinguishable from Game of Thrones at its most censor-baiting and suddenly that post-work pint is impossible to turn down.
Your move: It’s unfair (not to mention unsafe) to ask that guy with veins like a fireman’s hose to hush up; after all, a study from Drexel University found mimicking the female tennis tour when you lift gives you a 10 per cent strength boost.
So, block out the worst offenders with earphones which are moulded to your ear canal (£159, from Snugs), which ensure your session’s only soundtracked by the new Kanye album.
The Beach Body Brigade
Committing to be fitter and healthier is commendable. But twice a year, your gym is infested with a species whose only interaction with exercise comes in response to the new year, or a just-booked beach holiday, as if a few weeks texting on the cross-trainer can undo nine months inhaling pastry.
Not only does a 10-minute queue for the bench press put the brakes on your training, the newbie’s unfamiliarity with gym etiquette means that when you do get your turn, you become a towel for their pool of unwiped sweat.
Your move: Take things outside. Sure, your park isn’t stocked with machines that look like something the Spanish Inquisition would enjoy playing with, but bodyweight training provides a better workout than any Bowflex.
Hit the park and cycle between 20-second bursts of five moves – think burpees, press-ups, crunches, lunges and mountain climbers – with 10 seconds rest between each. Repeat six times for a fat-torching session, without the wait.
Not Unracking Your One Rep Max
Yes, we’re all super impressed that you can squat enough weight to bend the barbell. But leaving every weight plate on the bar isn’t just inconsiderate, it’s dangerous for the next guy who steps into the squat rack.
Same goes for misusing machines. Call it the CrossFit effect, but watching a couple of YouTube videos doesn’t prepare you to Olympic lift your own bodyweight. While it can be funny to see someone put their head where their feet are supposed to be, hearing femurs splinter can really harsh your workout.
Your move: There’s a place for braggadocio and the gym isn’t it. Lifting weight or trying moves you’re not ready for risks not just injury, but halting your progress – performing basic moves with perfect form builds more muscle, and burns more fat, than doing eye-catching things badly.
Stick to the basics – think squats, bench press and pull-ups – with enough weight to hit 10 reps without cheating. And leave the spaghetti vest crew to their torn ligaments.
The Brofessors Who Love To Lecture
People don’t go to the gym to meet new friends. They go to work. Even regulars who see each other every day tend to share nothing more than a nod. So it’s galling when, as you’re squeezing out that final rep, a pin-legged dude wearing a vest that invites you to the gun show steps in to offer pointers.
Yes, that new hand position he read about in a bodybuilding.com forum might mean more muscle activation. But it’s the kind of ‘bro science’ more likely to leave you in traction.
Your move: Well, those chat-blocking earphones are a good first step. But to dissuade the lecturers, don’t give them an opportunity to step in. Slashing your rest periods also means an elevated metabolism that will keep your body burning fat long after you’ve left the gym. Win win.