I have to wear headphones whenever I go to the gym, and not because I prefer my own music to the crappy noise management thinks is “motivational.” No, I wear headphones so I won’t be forced to listen to the absolute insanity I hear “fitness buffs” spout from their mouths about exercise and nutrition. Frankly, one of the worst possible places you can go to learn about fitness is the gym.
Don’t get me wrong -- most trainers know a thing or two about working out, and they might know a bit about nutrition, too, but nine times out of 10, the people giving advice aren’t actual trainers. No, they’re hopped-up college kids who’ve read an article about protein and strength training (or gluten and weight loss), and now they’re “experts” just itching to share their knowledge with anyone who has ears. Loudly. With the misguided confidence that makes their “knowledge” believable, and thereby dangerous.
Please, please hear me. If you insist on exercising at a gym, don’t turn to the guy with big biceps dishing out free advice on training; I’ve heard way too many of them spew wildly inaccurate information.
We’re winding down another year, which is when people start seriously considering biting the bullet and becoming gym members. Maybe your head will get turned by the too-good-to-pass-up holiday deals every gym inevitably offers. Before you succumb, though, think about yourself at 6pm, the Monday after New Year’s, standing in someone else’s stench, wondering if you’ll ever have the chance to get that rock-hard bod you imagined when you swiped your credit card.
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Laura Williams is an exercise physiologist and former gym manager who obsessively cleans gym equipment before and after using it because, truly, people are gross. Discover more of her idiosyncrasies on Twitter: @girlsgonesporty.