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Maybe They're Not THAT Bad: Personalities in the Gym
Matt Foreman
January 11 2012

I’m just going to ask you a blunt question, okay? Here it goes.
How often do you have to spend time in the gym with people you don’t like?
Think about the times, present or past, when you have to be around somebody you basically can’t stand. This might be somebody you have to train with as an athlete, somebody you coach, or maybe somebody you have to work with in some other way. Whatever the situation, this person bugs the hell out of you. I hate to bring this up because I know it’s a little on the negative side, but we all know it’s a fact of life. We might as well talk about it.  
We know that there are all kinds of wacky personalities out there. And I can tell you from experience that almost every single one of them will pass through the world of weightlifting at some point. After you’ve been around for a long time, you sometimes feel the urge to put people in categories based on how they act. There are these little labels that people almost beg you to put on them. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about. Try to think if you know anybody who fits these descriptions. 
Control-Freak Christy- This is the walking migraine that has to have everything her way. She basically wants to have the whole gym operate around her wishes…the music that plays, who trains on which platform, what kind of language people use, etc. She needs people to go along with her demands and she has a borderline panic attack if they don’t.  
Better-Than-You Bill- He’s the horse’s a** that knows absolutely everything about any topic that comes up in conversation, especially weightlifting. He’s an expert on politics, snatch technique, the educational system, drywall, marriage, whatever. Bill doesn’t have conversations with people. He lectures them.  
Horny Henry- This guy looks at all the girls in the gym like they’re a plate of hot wings. He flirts constantly, and he’s probably pretty bad at it. Don’t be surprised if Henry drives a Camaro and owns many gold chains. His favorite show is Jersey Shore.
Pathetic Patty- Patty doesn’t really do anything to bother anybody. She’s just irritating because of how lame she is. She trains like crap, shows no intensity or personality, and mopes around the gym looking like one of those abandoned puppies on the adopt-a-pet commercials. When the team goes out to dinner, everybody hopes they don’t get stuck sitting next to Patty. 
Probably-Gonna-Shoot-Somebody-Someday Patrick- Nothing complicated about Patrick. He’s just a psycho. Guys like him are the whole reason girls buy pepper spray. He drives a van.
**Feel free to add your own categories if you can think of any.
Now, I firmly believe most of the folks you meet in weightlifting will be friendly, sane, enthusiastic, and easy to get along with. That’s been my experience. But we just can’t ignore the fact that there are some people you find it hard to be around. However, these people present you with an interesting dilemma.
You have to get in the gym and get your job done regardless of the personalities that surround you. First of all, you have to ask yourself a question. Are you sure they’re the ones with the problem? Think about that for a second. Are their personality quirks really that horrible, or do you just have a complete lack of tolerance for people who are a little different than you? I don’t know any particular circumstances regarding people you train with; I’m just mentioning this as a possibility. The reason I suggest it is that I know for a fact there are a few people I’ve trained with that I was too hard on. I wanted to shoot a potato gun at them because they got on my nerves so hard. But when I look back at it now, I realize that they were just human beings with some slightly odd habits, exactly like me.
It probably wouldn’t hurt any of us to relax a little and give others a break, and I’m including myself in that. Most of us train better when we’re in a good mood, right? I know I do. It’s hard to lift successfully if you’re irritated. Maybe there’s a chance to reduce some of that irritation by considering the possibility that people might not always be as awful as we make them out to be. I mean seriously, how bad can they be if they like lifting weights? 
I’m not trying to preach a sermon to you. Just tossing a thought out there. Take it or leave it. 
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Nathan Greaves
January 11 2012
Eric-the-excuse-guy. Eric always has a reason why he didn't hit a goal. He didn't have his pre-workout protein shake, or he just "wasn't in the zone" enough to get that extra pull up.

He's very much like....

New-Year's-Resolution-Nigel. This year is the year Nigel gets the body of his dreams. 30 days in though, he realizes he just can't be bothered.
Shawn McCray
January 12 2012
Arrogantly-Modest-totally-not-genuine-guy - The guy is typically one of the better/stronger folks in the gym but while be obviously arrogant tries to pretend like he doesnt notice he is one of the best.

and then the opposite

Extremely-talented-total-lack-confidence-guy - Amazingly gifted, will finish top of the day, but be totally down on him/herself for some unknown reason
Spencer Mackay
January 12 2012
Supplement Simon. The guy who brings two different protein shakes into the gym, but still looks exactly the same as he did two years ago.

Don't-practice-what-you-preach-Danny. The guy who will tell you everything about why you shouldn't wear belts or why you should squat deep, and then proceeds to wear a belt and perform quarter squats.
Evgeny Filatov
January 13 2012
Dave Tate has compiled a long list of gym goers (although this applies to general gyms as well and not only to Olympic weightlifting):

The Constant Talker: The guy who will not shut up.

The Bro:The guy who ALWAYS talks about drugs and the perfect cycle

The Flopper:The guy who can't commit to any one program

Gear Whore:The total gear whore (has to always have the new shit and never takes time to learn what he has)

Washed Up Meathead:The washed up beat to hell old dude.

The BS-LOW Squatter:The everyone squats high but me dude

The Professor:the guy who knows everything and will not take advice from anyone no matter how much bad he may be at something

The South Dosser:the guy who takes WAY LESS THAN ANYONE and would be able to out total (or whoever) if he would take as much

The over doer:the guy who trains his balls out, dick into the dirt every session, relentlessly

Half Tanker:guy who always has 50lb left in the tank

Total Rehab: the guy who is always overcoming an injury and never competes.

Weak debater: the argumentative guy who is always doing his own thing and inevitably is the weakest member of the gym.

The Close Talker:The guy who's breath will kill anyone. So bad you can't even be in a car with him. Always a "close talker".

Ms Awesome: The awesome girl who is a world class lifter that everyone wants to hook up with, and has some pussy of a husband/boyfriend who treats her like shit.

The Late Nighter: The drunk story guy- "Oh man I got wasted and banged these 2 skanks last night" Every weekend

The BiPolar Lifter: When they are doing well powerlifting is the best thing to ever happen to them and they are going to break every all time record. Then when they have one bad session, powerlifting is for fags. This of course lasts for several months.

The total headcase: This guy asks 50,000 questions every time he is in the gym even though he is an above average lifter and knows the answers. He typically asks everyone how every lift of the night looks, even his warm ups. This guy is also usually ready to "retire" after his next meet because "its too much" Even though he is a lifer and will lift til the day he dies.

The unnecessarily long setup guy: You know him, the kneewraps, the strap adjustments (several times), the belt adjustments, the perfect music, the yoga like breathing techniques, etc. This starts at 60% of his max, even on nights where he'll be working up to 100%

The "one time" guy: This guy is usually in his 50's or older. He has a story for EVERYTHING. These stories usually start with, "Oh yeah, one time". Also known as the Story for everything guy, or the One upper.

Creepy Bear: This is the guy who we think is a bear but don't really know. He spends most of his time walking around with ILS going from the bench to the weight rack as if he is looking for something .
He hardly trains and doesn't talk to any of the serious lifters, just eerily watches them and looks away real quick when we look at him. He is usually wearing logger boots and ripped jeans. He has been spotted posing in the bathroom. (Not that he should be)

The WSBB guy:... He's read every article, bought every t-shirt and feels compelled to argue with anyone who recommends any other protocol. He's even visited the gym. They didn't like him.

Right There Guy:. He's afraid to tell his training partners that they're squatting 4 inches high so every squat is "right there".

The "Badass" Covered in tattoos: listens to obscure death metal and scowls a lot. Went to an expensive private school.

The smelly guy: no need to explain. This guy pissed us all off.

What weight class should I go?" guy: Worries about weather he should go 220 instead of 242 so that his 500 squat is "more competitive".

The prohormone guy: Still claims to be natural.

I don't trust doctors guy: Takes shit that he bought out of the trunk of a 96 Civic in the parking lot of a Bally's.

The GPP guy: Pushes the prowler or drags the sled 6 times a week to work on his conditioning. He's 145 pounds.

No assistance work guy: Has his jacket on within 5 minutes of racking his last squat.

The "5/3/1 sucks" guy"... mortal enemy of the "5/3/1/ rules" guy.

The Spotter/Loader: the only reason he is there is to be an extra body to help with logistics

Drug Free Guy: the opposite of the guy who talks about drugs all the time....makes it a point to tell everyone how he is drug free as if it matters

Partial Guy: never does anything unless it is off blocks/pins, to a high box, or off 3+ boards.

Critic - no matter what exercise you are doing that day, they say you should be doing something different (typically whatever it was they did on Tuesday)....and you wear gear too often or don't wear gear enough....they seem to be very concerned with your programming.

Max Out: The guy who maxes out his squat, bench and dead every training session. He doesn't care that his technique is crap and that he always misses at the same weight. Is always seen shaking his head in disbelief and leaving the gym frustrated.

The First Timer: the guy that does his first meet and then won’t shut up about the 100 pound PRs he will make on all his lifts for his second meet. Which Nationals he will do (again, second meet), which world records he is going to break (at second meet), and which world championship he will lift at (third meet).

Crusty:The master lifter that thinks he’s everyone’s mentor and coach just because he had competed for 43 years.

DJ Max Out: the guy that has to switch the music all the time on put on a “special” song for his sets.

Gear Blamer:the guy that always blames bad technique on his gear being too tight. This is the same guy that blames missing a weight on his gear being too loose. You see, it’s ALWAYS the gear, never the lifter.

The "I am unique" guy: - no matter how much experience, knowledge and the discoveries you dealt with through time. There is always a guy who when struggling is going through something noone can comprehend with.... I'm not talking about outside the gym, I'm talking about during exercises. Nothing you say is at all like what he/she feels. Everything he/she deals with is of a higher degree than what everyone else notices.

The BUT head: "I'm not arguing with you, but..." "I know you're right, but..." "I'm not disagreeing, but..." Lifted with us for 3 years and never put 5 lbs on his bench because that was his answer to everything.

The Programmer: The guy who loves to program, but doesn't know how to work to achieve it

“I used to train with him” guy:. You wouldn’t believe how many people I personally have come across that have trained with Kenny Patterson, Chuck Vogelpohl, Lee Haney, Dorian Yates.

The Flexer: That guy who read that you have to flex and pose to get ready for your next contest but missed the part about actually having some muscles to flex..... flexes and grimaces after every set and must be near or right in front of you. Sunglasses and cowboy hat optional... I'm not kidding.

The Leg Press Gang: We've all seen them: The gang usually a group of high school athletes who realized that you can pile a lot of weight onto a hip sled. Over time they morph into a swaggering, screaming group of 1000 lb leg press monsters. Screaming, high fives and a 2 inch range of motion. There is always an alpha dog advising the others on how to perfect their form and technique so that they can move the big iron like him. "Bro, How was my set?" It was great man, hardcore but you should stay at that weight - your form was breaking down on that last set."

The Trainer: The guy with 2 months in the gym who shows his "newbie" buddy how to lift with horrible form and way too much weight. 6 inch weight belt required. Note: This guy is not to be confused with The Personal Trainer - the PT has also only been a member for 2 months BUT he took the weekend certification course at the gym in order to dispense his shitty advice. Plus, he has a polo shirt and a clipboard.

Coach Dad: Coach Dad means well. He wants to support his kid but has no idea what he is doing. So, he leads his kid through a series of the oddest lifts you've ever seen. They don't squat because Coach Dad has never squatted and has bad knees. See you in the NFL.

The Motivator: The guy you've never spoken to who suddenly runs up when you're grinding out a tough rep who somehow gets in your face to scream motivational sayings to help you. How this guy hurdled all my shit on the floor, got past my training partners and somehow got between the squat racks and the wall in front of me I'll never know. Why he figured he was the guy I'd listen to I'll never know. Of course.... he's a spit talker.

The "What's The Gym Record Guy?": This is the guy that loads up every plate in the guy to do his " shrugs." He asks anyone in the area what the gym record is - despite the fact that nobody keeps records of anything let alone, shrugs. He literally hangs extra weights off the end of the bar with tape, belts or bands. He paces back and forth yelling "look at me, look at me." It comes out as "wwhooooooooooooo" over and over but it means "look at me." He slaps himself and then chalks up and straps in. He tugs mightily on the bar which , of course, never breaks free of the pins. To his credit, the bar does bend as he puts everything he's got into it. He releases the bar with a mighty breath, wipes his brow and says humbly to the crowd....... "it's heavy, but somebody's got to do it. You understand, you're a veteran." The day he told my training partner that "you understand, we bleed the same blood, I damn near died laughing."

The Ultimate Warrior: This guy is usually about 5 feet tall and weighs 140. He wears his big brother's wife beater to the gym. He invariably wears something with the worlds "TapOut" or "Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves" just to let you know what is up. Rather than go to the cardio room where there are mats and ROOM, he mean mugs the world as he works his way into a corner of the main gym floor so that he can begin his rope jumping..... personally, I make it my job to walk over to grab a weight as soon as the rope jumping starts just to be a dick. Now, he's worked up a good sweat. It's time for shadow boxing and knee thrusts. Time to put on the black hoody with some MMA logo on it, look around and then walk out of the gym taking care to step over his victims.

Nut Hugger Man: 55 years old - lime green biker shorts - no underwear. Always trains near the ladies......and by ladies I mean the young ones. There isn't much more to say.

The Deload Guy They guy who Deloads every other week, almost never goes above 80% in his training, and if he misses any weight he just shuts down the entire workout?

Last but not least...

The Excuse Maker: look, we "get it". Your gear doesn't fit, the training cycle so and so created doesn't work, the X method sucks, you didn't get enough sleep, your shit's fake, the band tension wasn't the same as last cycle, the bar is too thin, the bar is too fat, the chalk was wet, the bar was wet, the straps are too wide, you couldn't feel your legs, your arms are too big, the bench is too short, the bench is too high, the uprights were wrong, you had a shitty lift off, your spotters didn't cue you at the right time, the camera angle was off, the lights were to bright, you didn't pull enough, box squats suck, your grip was off, rubber plates don't feel the same, your shoes are new, your lower back is jacked, your bum shoulder is flaring up, your toe socks don't fit right, your underwear was ridding up your crack, the box was too low, your bloat was not on, you got in a fight last night, so and so got their high squat passed,"THAT" guy will NOT stop looking at you, the judges don't like you, politics, drama, someone took your foam roller,your hemorrhoids were on FIRE, your elbow hurt, you didn't get enough time to warm up, the bar was miss loaded, the chains weren't set up the same, the bar whipped, the bar rolled down your back, your sore from last session, you have adrenal fatigue, didn't get enough protein yesterday, you have a kink in your neck, You broke a finger, your glycogen is depleted, your dehydrated, humidity, someone ripped off your hat, road rage, it wasn't a world record so you couldn't get into it, the platform was uneven, the floor was uneven, your feet hurt, your head is too heavy to keep up, someone put oil on the bar, the rotation changed, kilo plates messed you up, the deadlift bar had too much whip, the knurling was too deep, the suit was smashing your nuts, the belt was too tight, the AC in the hotel was crap, your CPAP broke, allergies are acting up, the fan broke, your foot slipped, your partner was late, it was snowing outside, the judges are friends of so and so, it was not your federation, the cat peed on your briefs, the gym was too cold, the gym was too hot, and whatever else you can think of.

February 20 2012
Ha! Adult dieraps Ah man. I'm with you on the going to the gym thing more often Dbags are everywhere. This guy at my gym literally ripped off his shirt and started screaming and grunting while trying to curl 135lbs
April 30 2012
"I-Want-It-Now-Ivan": Just assumes that because he bought a spiffy new pair of Pendlays and went to one workout that he's gonna lift the world, and can't figure out why, after 1 week of training, that he isn't doing a double bodyweight snatch and being mentioned in the same breath as Mutlu, Vlad, Dimas, et al.