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Meanies

by Meghann on November 16, 2011

I learned an important lesson this afternoon – I get mean when I head to the gym in the evening.

I’m comfortable with my early morning gym crew. It’s mainly women and older men who are willing to have a nice chat between sets and are just happy to start their day with a workout. There are never any crowds and the free weight section is open to anyone who wants it.

I’m not so comfortable with the evening crew. It’s mainly 20-something boys who take over the free weights and push others out. I was the only girl today and could feel them looking down on me.

The crowded gym immediately put me on edge when I walked in, but the guys who were constantly asking me if I was done with one piece of equipment or another really started bugging me.

Are you done with that bench? Nope. One more set.

Can I get in that spot? Umm… I’m sort of in the middle of lifting heavy weights over my head. Can this wait?

Then there was the guy who moved my bench over before I had a chance to do it myself. He was trying to use a piece of equipment behind me and I had agreed to move, but right when I was placing my weights down he (very rudely) pushed my bench over to a spot where it became un-usable. Not cool.

That was the point I snapped and just focused on finishing. I started playing their rude game in return and fought for my weights, fought for my spot in front of the mirror, and fought for my right to use the equipment I needed. If they can be mean, so could I .

I can definitely see why so many people quickly give up going to the gym after work. It’s a very intimidating atmosphere that doesn’t foster health and happiness at all. It’s all about being mean and fighting for what you need to get your workout in. Totally worth it to wake up at 5:30am to get a (happier) workout in before work.

Or maybe it was just my experience this afternoon that turned me off to it all? All it takes is one bad experience to ruin it for the group.

Before the gym I snacked on a rice cake with a delicious pumpkin/pumpkin butter/peanut butter spread I combined then topped with raisins.

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Such a great combination. I’ll need to do this again. 🙂

Since I didn’t return from the gym until late, I kept it easy for dinner.

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The star of the meal was the pork I had seasoned with the BBQ 3000 Penzeys Spice.

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I thought the pork would be a little dry on its own, but the BBQ 3000 spice was all it needed. It was slightly sweet with just the right amount of spice.

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The Green Giant Sugar Snap Peas had disappointed me last week, but the frozen Green Giant Green Beans & Almond was a winner. (they were from a BOGO deal over the weekend)

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The green beans were simple green beans (no sugar water) and the almond slivers gave a nice crunch.

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The plate rounded out with some rutabaga fries I had baked at 400 for 25 minutes.

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I had an Attune dark chocolate bar for dessert.

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I’m exhausted. Need. Sleep. Now.

Good Night!

1 jen November 16, 2011 at 10:36 pm

heh, i know what you mean. at my old gym, all the 20 and 30 something dudes liked that i’m a 4’10” 29 year old woman who can hang with them and work out better and harder than them. one even calls me superwoman.

then i moved. it’s all douchebags and brodudes at my ymca. so…i get mean. i looked pissed. i drop weights after sets. i don’t share. if they are going to try to play the big swinging dick act, i’ll show em mine’s as big as theirs. if i don’t earn their respect, i earn my space. so suck it, asshats!

2 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats November 16, 2011 at 10:38 pm

I’ve never had such an awful experience! I love being up there in the weight area with all the guys because I love surprising them. I’m usually one of two or three other girls! Haha I even wear weight lifting gloves (my old trainer made me get them so I wouldn’t get callouses)
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3 Hotpotatokate November 16, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Argh, I so feel you on this (though actually at my gym it’s worse in the mornings). I always wondered why women were so intimidated by the gym that they’d need womens only rooms, etc- but it’s not so much intimidation but severe annoyance at the way a lot of guys lift. And while I realise there’s some sexism in this, I have never ever seen a female hog equipment in quite the same way. Trying to hold two or more pieces of equipment at once, leaving heavy weights on bars (which is super duper annoying when you’re a PREGNANT gym goer), dumping a water bottle on one bench, towel on another, sitting on yet another…

4 Mark November 16, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Embrace the bro-dom! Unfortunately, I hate to see people encounter this attitude at the gym. Can I write a guest post on this Meghann? I feel like I can give a pretty good perspective of a 20-something brah at the gym. Ever try working out at a university gym? One huge set of free weights to share amongst 20,000 students?

5 Danielle @ Long May You Run November 17, 2011 at 7:34 am

Oooh, this would be great! I’m as intimidated as crap lifting weights with a bunch of guys around. But I wonder what THEIR perspective of a female in the weight section is? Are they annoyed? Impressed? Indifferent?
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6 Jen November 17, 2011 at 8:33 am

I’m curious too…

7 Meghann November 17, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I would love to hear your thoughts. Shoot me an email at mealsandmiles@gmail.com

8 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife November 16, 2011 at 10:50 pm

YIKES. That sounds horrible. I totally love my morning gym time!! 🙂 <—so worth it to have your own room/stuff!

I love a good chocolate anything after dinner. YUMM.
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9 wymberley November 16, 2011 at 10:50 pm

A good reason to have free weights at home.
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10 Erin November 16, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Ugh. My gym is full of those guys between 6:00 and 7:00, too. They’re not as rude as the ones you encountered but they do have a habit of not putting things back! I’d love to be able to go in the middle of the day but, alas, I don’t have that kind of flexibility.
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11 Meghan November 16, 2011 at 10:51 pm

I’m sorry you had such a bad experience as a night time gym-goer! I frequently go to the gym after work and find it’s when I get my best workouts in. However, I can totally see where you are coming from. Those boys are intimidating!

12 Deva @ Deva by Definition November 16, 2011 at 11:20 pm

The only time I’ve really had any issues at the gym was when a couple would come workout together and share benches, weights, machines, etc, and leave then UNOCCUPIED FOR MINUTES AT A TIME. I stepped in to do lat pulldowns one day and got snapped at for it by one of them, even when they were both between sets and it wouldn’t have been an issue for me to step in. What I’ve learned from gym going and lifting with the brahs is that you need to Own Your Space and not be intimidated.
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13 Kat @ Balance & Spice November 16, 2011 at 11:20 pm

I am so sorry to hear that. As a personal trainer, I feel appalled when people act like jackasses in gyms. Even at my former gym, a lot of the male trainers behaved that way, acting like peacocks who were showing off by lifting super heavy weights, dropping them to the floor and making a big “boom.” It scared everyone in the gym half-to-death, and was insanely irritating. I definitely prefer the before 7:00am workout!
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14 Kate (What Kate is Cooking) November 16, 2011 at 11:32 pm

I work at a gym, so it’s really convenient for me to go when I get off work at 8, but yeah- people can be total assholes about their free weights. I actually just bought a pair of dumbbells to have at home, so I’m hoping I can avoid going in there as much as possible!
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15 Amy November 16, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Ew, those guys at the gym sound like complete tools.
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16 Calvin November 16, 2011 at 11:36 pm

This was one of the problems I had at my old gym about 2 yrs back. The “meatheads” would over crowd the gym and I could never use the bench press. Working out in the afternoons-evening became a drag! Mornings at the gym are so much better. Don’t ever let them take advantage of you. Push back!
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17 Lori @ Lori Wants Happy November 17, 2011 at 12:03 am

Totally relate to the gym thing. I’m a physical therapist, and recall at my old gym guys that kept on telling me how exercises “should” be done. Without sounding snotty, I would reply that I’m doing the exercises this way for a reason. One time, this guy would. not. let. up. I actually got a little huffy and told him I’m a PT, and he backed away. Let a girl do her thing!!
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18 Bill Kelm November 17, 2011 at 12:22 am

I definitely like the morning the best also. I work at a University and the gym and weights are basically empty except for a couple people from 6-7:30 a.m. in the morning.

19 Socal Rachel November 17, 2011 at 12:45 am

Monday was the first day I was back at the gym in months. I had been working out at home, running and biking instead. The first machine I get on a guy comes up and says, I was using this machine. Since when do you get to call dibs on a machine? I wouldn’t walk away from a machine to get water and kick someone off when I returned. I’d either wait or ask to work in/rotate. He finally agreed to let me work in. But was I wrong to “take his machine?”
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20 Liz November 17, 2011 at 1:18 am

I love those frozen green beans with almonds! I just tried them for the first time last week (also because of a sale!) and wasn’t expecting too much (I usually much prefer fresh green beans), but they were awesome 🙂

21 erica November 17, 2011 at 4:38 am

i totally know what you mean! augh. i’m getting flashbacks to the gym and one specific encounter. i’m so glad my apartment has a gym and i don’t have to go through that anymore. you gotta be tough and not let them push you around! i remember my snapping point. lol.
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22 Coco November 17, 2011 at 5:20 am

Yes it’s annoying.. It’s the same thing at every single gym- though I can’t say that I’ve had something that rude happen to me, I have had an issue at my current gym with this old dude who obnoxiously stares at me while I’m trying to lift weights. I’m not talking catching a quick glance or just casually looking my way; I’m talking drool on the chin- the quick look away like “what? I’m not looking at ya… I’m looking at that wall over there”- every time I turn around staring.. I mean it’s already uncomfortable at times in the weight area being the only girl.. but then to feel like your on display while your doing squats.. Ugh! I ended up telling the manager about it because I thought it would mean more coming from him (he is huge!) and he and I always chat it up.. It got a bit better the last time I saw that guy there.. but still doing it..
Anyway- good for you- giving them what they did back!
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23 Kelly November 17, 2011 at 5:48 am

When I was first having issues with the boys at the weights I learned to just blast my music and put my big girl pants on. You really just have to gain the attitude that you deserve to be there and not let anyone else intimidate you. I actually wish there was a women’s weights area with EQUAL weights so that it wold be less of an issue.

24 Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile November 17, 2011 at 6:37 am

I completely agree! At my gym it’s rare to even get a spot by the free weight area because there are so many guys hogging the mirror for hours. I love going to the gym early so I can take my time with my workout and not feel pressured to hurry up or get out of other peoples way. PEople can be so rude!

25 Hillary November 17, 2011 at 7:05 am

I think this is pretty standard at most gyms, unfortunately. I’ve been working out for long enough that I’ve grown a thick skin. It no longer bothers me that they think I can’t lift/don’t belong there, and I just shove right into where I need to be and get my workout in. It definitely took some time and patience, but it’s worth it in the end!
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26 Erica @ For the Sake of Cake November 17, 2011 at 7:16 am

Ah, that sucks! I much prefer going to the gym in the morning, but it’s impossible for me during the school year. I’ve never experienced this first hand, since I do most of my strength training via BodyPump, but I can imagine I’d have the same reaction as you!
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27 Ashley @ This Is The Place November 17, 2011 at 7:42 am

I am SO glad you posted this. It’s not just me!!

Seriously, I don’t mind early morning weights. And I like to think that I’m a fairly tough woman. I run marathons. I’m a criminal defense attorney, so my job involves hanging in prisons with convicted felons. I should be able to handle some 20 year jerk boys, right? Nope. I’ll leave if the gym is like that. I hate it!

And they smell. It makes it so much worse.
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28 Liz November 17, 2011 at 7:45 am

I think that male rude attitude is found at pretty much every gym. I agree that morning people are generally more polite in the gym, but I’m sure there are a few outliers! My best success in working out with groups of men is to prove to them that they don’t intimidate me. I lift heavy weights, so I belong there too. Just put on your game face, pick up a big barbell and go for it! Once they see that you can lift hard, they will give you more respect!
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29 Emily November 17, 2011 at 7:54 am

Sorry you had a rough time with the afterwork gym crowd. I have been there. But I have also found that it gets better in time, they get used to seeing you there, and then they realize you’re serious.
Good luck!
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30 Amanda November 17, 2011 at 8:18 am

My old gym was like this too. It was very intimidating to use the free weights, and guys were constantly asking if I was done using the various equipment. I’ve since switched to an all-women’s gym and the vibe is amazing! I never feel self-conscious, people are generally more friendly and polite, and it doesn’t smell! 🙂
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31 Krista (kristastes) November 17, 2011 at 8:43 am

I am an after-work gym goer and I have definitely felt annoyed and frustrated by assholes like that…so I became friends w/them. I find that if you end up talking to them, they’re more intimidated by you than you are them because they realize you’re a fit chick with a backbone! Hope it gets better on the weight room floor girlfriend 🙂

32 Meghann November 17, 2011 at 12:28 pm

I can believe that. I think if I worked out in the afternoon regularly I would attempt to make friends with them, just like I’ve made friends with my early morning crew.

33 Lee November 17, 2011 at 9:16 am

I hate the gym after work. I’m not a morning person though, so I go anyway. At my gym, all the free weights disappear which is super annoying.
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34 Dori November 17, 2011 at 9:45 am

This is why I take classes.
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35 Meghann November 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Ha! I’ve REALLY tried to get into classes, but I’m finding I prefer free weights lately. Never thought I would ever say that.

36 Courtney November 17, 2011 at 9:57 am

I’m glad I can’t relate. 🙂 When I first started going to my current Y, I had issues with a couple of the men there. Once I spoke to them, though, all was good! Now, we encourage each other, swap workout tips and just overall enjoy each other’s company. The spread at night and in the morning is a fine mix between men and women, ranging in ages from early 20s to late 70s and early 80s. I <3 my Y!
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37 Meghann November 17, 2011 at 12:26 pm

I think if I went regularly and took up conversations, it would be different, but BOY can they be intimidating at first!

38 Mary @ food and fun on the run November 17, 2011 at 9:58 am

Yes! I hate going to the gym and having men around that think they rule the free weights. It is beyond ridiculous that they think they belong there, and then women don’t.

I am ok to break that mold 🙂
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39 dana November 17, 2011 at 10:13 am

I can agree with your statement about ‘morning gym goers’. I find that people are friendlier and more willing to share equipment. It’s understandable, considering that at my gym there are a total of 10 people there at 5:30 in the morning and in the evening it’s packed. I’m even happier in the morning b/c I don’t have to fight for weights or a machine.

40 Meghann November 17, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I love the 5:30am crowd. There’s still a good amount of people at my gym, but not as many as the 5:30pm crowd.

41 Kelly November 17, 2011 at 10:45 am

I had a very similar experience in the gym yesterday… at 1 in the afternoon! There were 3 guys in there, all older, but they were definitely looking at me like I did not belong. I’m sorry guys, is a woman doing 80lb deadlifts a problem for you? I’ll be sure to lift heavier next time.
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42 J November 17, 2011 at 10:51 am

early morning: women and older men. Yeah the majority of early morning gym people are people without jobs. Retired, moms and people that work from home and have no set schedule.

after work: all the rest of us. We’ve worked all day, been yelled at, and have sat in traffic to get to the gym and still have kids and a husband to deal with, not to mention dinner. So yeah, most after work people are a bit more ‘stressed’ out. I try and work in with others, and it all comes down to your approach. If someone appears frustrated with me or anyone else in the gym, then I am not going to be as receiving to their request. And guess what the gym is BUSY after work, so I get mad when people who arent use to it give me the stink eye because I am on the treadmill or some machine that I clearly got on before you did.

Sorry, I think its very selfish of people to categorize early morning gym go-ers vs after work gym go-ers.

The world may be your oyster but the gym is not. Unless of course its YOUR home gym. Which clearly this isnt the case.

Be nicer and not have an attitude and people might be more inclined to be nicer to YOU.

43 Meghann November 17, 2011 at 11:18 am

I didn’t mean to come off as rude, but you’re right – I was generalizing. The truth is people who go to the gym in the later afternoon are a bit more stressed and ready for the day to be over (including me), which is why it’s not the scene for me. I’ve found the 6:00am gym crowd are people who just woke up, haven’t been to work yet, and are ready to start their day. They’re not just Moms or people with loose schedules, they’re people who are trying to squeeze a workout in before work. They come to the gym with suits in their hands, shower on site, and are there waiting for the doors to be unlocked. Before I started working from home, I was right there with them. I was at the gym as the doors opened, did my workout, and showered and dressed before walking in the office a little before 8:00am. I did that routine twice a week and loved the people I met and got ready for work with. And I promise I was nice to the people, but when they started being rude to me, it was really hard not to be rude in return. They’re sour attitude rubbed off on me, which I didn’t like.

44 Kelly November 17, 2011 at 11:59 am

Honestly, I ‘ve just come to accept that the gm is a little more frenetic at night because at almost every gym I’ve been to it’s the busiest time. It’s really no different (IMO) than trying to hit the grocery store, the mall or what have you during its peak hours. Whenever it’s a bit crowded and there has been a bit of a wait (not to mention any other stress that occurred during the workday) people are likely to be a bit more on edge. For that reason, I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. Whenever I’m checking out a new gym I always also try to check it out during peak hours or when I am most likely to work out so I get a true sense of what the gym will be like. I also really work hard to look at things from a balanced point of view and consider the other person as well. I know your reasons are valid and their behavior seemed rude, but I’m sure in their own minds they thought they were justified.

If it were me and this behavior bothered me and I had flexibility in my schedule (which it sounds like you do) I would aim to work out during the off-peak times. Honestly if I had any flexibility in my job I would absolutely do this so if I were you I would take advantage of it.

45 Meghann November 17, 2011 at 12:23 pm

100% agreed! Which is why I’ve always chosen to go to the gym in the earlier hours. I love the gym at 6:00am. It’s full of people, but not too crowded. It’s the perfect time. However, there are some times (like yesterday) where my schedule has me working out at night. I’m determined not to let the crowded gym prevent me from getting my workout in, but that doesn’t mean the experience doesn’t get me down each time.

46 Rachel November 17, 2011 at 12:58 pm

My favorite, and a turn off to newbie gym rats, is the guys who leave 8 45lbs plates on machines!
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47 Irina G (Fit Flexitarian) November 17, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I think it really depends on the gym you go to. I’ve had similar experiences at gyms near my job (where it seems to be crowded with stressed out I-just-wanna-do-this-quick-and-get-home people) but the gym near my home (a more residential area) tells to be more chill.
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48 Angela November 17, 2011 at 4:02 pm

You go to Bob Sierra, right? If you are ever stuck at night again you should think about trying out Central City/Bob Gilbertson YMCA downtown. Its small, but a lot less crowded and generally a much friendlier group, in my opinion.

49 Army Amy* November 17, 2011 at 8:36 pm

My junior year of college, I worked at the school’s rec center. I HATED working the evening weight room shift! People are cranky and bossy. Not cool.*
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50 Katie November 18, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I’m sorry you have such a crappy evening gym! While my gym is male focus in the weight area similar to yours. The males at my gym for the most part behave. I have to get sharp with them on the 1 machine that’s connected and they do their last rep and let it slam down, and throw off my groove. But once I pull out a headphone and ask them to clean up it usually helps. Boo!

51 tra November 18, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Dude, i can totally feel you that! I hate crowded night time gym going so i go to the gym at 530AMish. I’m not really a machine chick (hollah for bars!) but a lot of times i’ve had people ask to work in and even had some guy come tell me he had been “watching me for awhile” and was “so worried that I WOULD HURT MYSELF” and proceeded to show me..the wrong way to do something. classic. i love being talked! LOL. anyways, it seems that if you put the b*tch face on..no one really bothers u…but i guess some GUYS get it bad because my guy friend keeps getting into ALMOST fights with guys in his gym that just move his equipment without asking and attempt to try to alpha it. EW. not hawt i tell you. you’re doing great and sorry for the long comment!
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