I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times.
The gym is my happy place. There is no one calling me “Mommy” or “Wifey”. I’m listening to whatever I want to listen to, I am doing what I want to do because, movement is therapy. However, when someone, particularly a MAN feels the need to enter my space and give me unsolicited advice–my happy place is no longer happy.
There are some not so fun things about attending a co-ed gym. The groups of men that talk loudly, full of testosterone, crowding common spaces, filming each other as they bench a total of 10 pounds. They are SUPER annoying but manageable. What is not manageable? The men who deem it necessary to insert themselves in your own personal workout. I wish I could say that this rarely happens, but I have had this happen on MULTIPLE occasion in the last few months alone.
I am generally the only woman in the weight area. You have to have a certain amount of confidence and knowledge to go to the weight area because it can be quite intimidating trying to workout while being surrounded by extra confident and extra “knowing” men.
A few months ago, I was on the squat rack. There are two in the gym, one in the corner to the back and one that is in the middle of everything. The one in the back (my favorite rack) was being hogged by a man who was sitting on the bench looking completely relaxed and so into his phone like he just started a new Netflix series. I decided to get on the middle rack.
By set two, a personal trainer came over to me. You know the type, the mayor, the overly confident, the flashy kind. When he comes over, I internally groan because I know what is about to happen. He proceeds to let me know that I needed to adjust my neck about an inch and stick my butt out more. Because he is a “professional” I took his (still unsolicited) tips. As I adjust, I start my set again. Except when I’m squatting he starts saying “Yeahhhh” “Get Lowwwww” “Stick that butt all the way out” “Yeahhhhh”– in the most obnoxious way possible. Just like that I felt like I was in a strip club instead of a public gym. His tone was gross. I felt used and abused. I thought taking his advice would help, but it actually made me feel 1000x worse when I was doing just fine on my own.
This one happened earlier this week. I was doing hammer curls and some other upper body work in the weights area. A very large and tall gentleman came right in front of me and I already knew it was trouble, he was super sweaty, super gross (I mean so was I, but I didn’t want to come face to face with his) and he wanted to let me know that hammer curls are going to make my “arms get wider”and “you don’t want that”. I let him know that I knew that and proceeded to ask him “You came all the way over here to tell ME what I want?” and he scurried away. By that time I was so angry, I could barely concentrate on what I was doing.
I can list SO many more instances, like that one time I was on the row machine and a large gentleman I did not know put his hands on my back AND forehead to “straighten me out” without consent, or when the personal trainer of the gym approached me and told me how much he “liked me” because he was watching what I was doing daily even though we had never spoken a word prior.
I’m not sure what it is about me (or any woman) that makes men feel as if they can approach us in the gym to “correct” how we lift or give unsolicited advice. It’s hard enough being the only woman in the weights area without having someone tell you what to do. If a man deems it necessary to correct a woman’s form (because we have all seen some serious travesties in the gym) he can simply ask a professional to help…and even then I hope the professional is female and/or not creepy.
If you are a man, or you have a man in your life that frequents the gym a lot, please let him know that it is NOT okay to get into a woman’s space (in general) but especially in a gym environment where she is likely moved mountains just to take time for herself. We do not need correcting. Especially if we are openly minding our own business. As long as I am not balancing a 20lb dumb bell on my nose, PLEASE JUST LEAVE ME ALONE.
Enough.I am so over being harassed and given unsolicited advice at the gym because I am a woman!