Home about me Dear Men, Please Leave Us Alone At The Gym

Dear Men, Please Leave Us Alone At The Gym

by Nellie

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.

Man Splaining

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.

Case #1

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.

Case #2

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.


I am so over being harassed and given unsolicited advice at the gym because I am a woman! Click to Tweet

Have you ever been harassed in a gym environment?

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Allie December 11, 2017 - 5:45 am

PREACH!!!!! Even in my very small YMCA that is mostly populated by the senior crowd I’ve had my fair share of unsolicited “advice” and comments. I’m really hoping that they are now paying attention to what’s going on in the world with sexual harassers being outed left and right and will finally leave us alone!!! I hope.

Janine Huldie December 11, 2017 - 7:19 am

Seriously what is wrong with the opposite sex? While thankfully, I have’t dealt with this majorly, because I don’t go to gyms, but workout in my home. But still, I wouldn’t even put it past some guy to try something like this if I did. Because sadly this is our society where many men just think that there is nothing wrong with this kind of behavior. That said thank you for speaking up here and definitely sharing your words now!

Kim G December 11, 2017 - 7:45 am

Ugh! I hate dealing with men like that at the gym. I just crank up the volume on my music and drown them out.

Stephanie December 11, 2017 - 9:26 am

Thankfully I haven’t had many of these experiences because I usually lift at home but it is annoying at minimum that someone would think they have the right to give unsolicited advice. It’s almost like when people gave me so much unsolicited “helpful” advice when I was pregnant.

nicole December 11, 2017 - 11:55 pm

Love your response to mansplainer #2! I’m sure that shut him right up… I haven’t had too many experiences with men telling me how to train, but I have had a lot of instances with men gawking and hitting on me. I’m like, “Go away, I’m sweaty & have headphones on!” When I was in college, I used to go to this gym that was super cheap because it had just changed over from an all-male gym to co-ed… I was usually the only woman in the place, so you can imagine how that went. There were so many obnoxious huge men in there – and sometimes they wouldn’t wear shirts! It was kind of entertaining watching them walk around like they were the best thing on the world while I was getting cardio in, but ya know, also icky.

kita December 12, 2017 - 12:05 am

I went to the gym one time and it was like OMG. I left disgusted because I could not stay and watch.

De Bolton December 12, 2017 - 1:15 am

So I have gotten many cues and spots from gym guys being a crack of dawn lifter we pretty much know each other but if I lift at different times or gyms Ive gotten this once or twice. Every one has an opinion and some people just need to know their role but yep I’ve seen lots of guilty culprits

Tamara December 13, 2017 - 9:52 pm

I haven’t.. but only because I don’t go to gyms. This is an amazing post – I hope it gets shared. Ugh! Awful situations.


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