Unsolicited Advice in the gym

No one wants to be that person who goes around telling everyone that they are doing it wrong, whatever "it" happens to be. Yet our humanity compels us to cross that line at certain points. For me, that point has always been when I see someone doing something wrong in a way that will almost certainly lead to injury. If, for example, you see someone trying to squat with the bar on their neck rather than their shoulders, you say something. If nothing else, you say something because you don't want to have to wait for an hour and a half for the EMTs to wheel them out of there before you can use that squat rack. Short of impending doom, I usually keep my mouth shut. However, there is this person I see quite frequently at my gym who is doing it so very very wrong that it is all I can do to keep from saying something. I mean, she is working HARD, but she is doing so in a way that is just.... it's not doing what she thinks it's doing. At all. Should I say something, or mind my own damned business?
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Replies

  • brewji
    brewji Posts: 752 Member
    "Excuse me, may I offer some advice? It might help you get more out of your workout."

    If yes, then explain.

    If no, then let them do it their way.

    That wasn't so hard :)
  • kjo9692
    kjo9692 Posts: 430 Member
    I don't know anything about lifting at all. If I were her I would truly appreciate any help I can get from anyone. I guess you can approach her and kindly ask her if she needs any help because you can notice that there are some things she isn't doing quite right. I believe she would appreciate it due to the embarrassment you save her in the long run because I'm sure you are not the only one who notices that she's doing it wrong.
  • knra_grl
    knra_grl Posts: 1,568 Member
    "Excuse me, may I offer some advice? It might help you get more out of your workout."

    If yes, then explain.

    If no, then let them do it their way.

    That wasn't so hard :)

    I like this answer and to be honest if it were me and I seen you at the gym lots I would probably appreciate the input.
  • aquarabbit
    aquarabbit Posts: 1,623 Member
    There are so many ways that a person could take it. Even if you mean well. Are there workers at the gym who you can maybe use as a messenger? That sounds so sneaky, but I remember when I was a member of a gym (long time ago) there were workers who would go around and make sure people who using the machines correctly. Sometimes they would give little tips too. If that isn't an option. Use your best judgement. But be prepared for people to not take it well if you do decide to say something. I think if you phrase it in the right way, most people would be appreciative if it's something that could potentially injure them. Well, I would. I can't speak for others of course.
  • just_jess7
    just_jess7 Posts: 271 Member
    "Excuse me, may I offer some advice? It might help you get more out of your workout."

    If yes, then explain.

    If no, then let them do it their way.

    That wasn't so hard :)

    This is probably the best way to approach the situation. If I were her in this case, I would appreciate the assistance and be grateful to you for thinking of my best interest and safety - but that may not be the case for everyone, so approach with caution!
  • donnat238
    donnat238 Posts: 309 Member
    Offer the advice or mention it to someone that works @ the gym. It's up to her if she chooses to accept it or not.
  • Commander_Keen
    Commander_Keen Posts: 1,194 Member
    If you can't say something to her, then have one of the PT say something to her..
  • JuiceBars
    JuiceBars Posts: 78 Member
    Love the example provided above. There are many people at my gym as well who are using the equipment incorrectly. It bothers me even more that the gym staff members are not helping people out that are at risk for injury. I think most people are receptive if approached in a nice manner. Go for it, good luck!
  • randomtai
    randomtai Posts: 9,014 Member
    I would mind my own business.
  • ItsCasey
    ItsCasey Posts: 4,022 Member
    This is a tough subject for me. I have been "advised" by guys who didn't have the first freaking clue what they were talking about, usually when I was doing an atypical lift (like a hip thrust or Turkish get-up) that they had never seen and knew nothing about. So I can't just assume that you know all about it and the woman in question knows nothing, based on the very unspecific comments you offered.

    Having said that, I would first start by asking yourself if you'd feel the same urge to correct a man doing the same thing. If so, then this may be legit, in which case, I'd start by asking if she's open to some pointers. If she says yes, fire away. If she says no, let it go.
  • tempehforever
    tempehforever Posts: 183 Member
    What's she doing? I think my answer depends on this. :)

    I can think of almost zero situations in which, in my opinion, it would be OK to correct a stranger unsolicited. People have injuries/different issues they have to accommodate. You just never know.

    For instance, I have a back condition that makes my form look "wrong" when I do certain strength exercises, like pushups--there is nothing I can do about it. If someone came up and tried to correct me, I admit I'd feel pretty bad; it would be like they were pointing out how obvious it is that I look abnormal. I'd be like, why on Earth do you care so much about what a stranger is doing?

    However, if she's like actually at risk of severely hurting herself (maybe doing something dangerous without a spotter?), you might offer to help in a constructive way. Make a joke about something YOU used to do wrong at the gym or something--then you won't seem annoying. :)
  • KrysBlaze
    KrysBlaze Posts: 196 Member
    "Excuse me, may I offer some advice? It might help you get more out of your workout."

    If yes, then explain.

    If no, then let them do it their way.

    That wasn't so hard :)

    Co-sign
  • tempehforever
    tempehforever Posts: 183 Member
    Having said that, I would first start by asking yourself if you'd feel the same urge to correct a man doing the same thing.

    I was also thinking this.
  • MysteriousMerlin
    MysteriousMerlin Posts: 2,270 Member
    "Excuse me, may I offer some advice? It might help you get more out of your workout."

    If yes, then explain.

    If no, then let them do it their way.

    That wasn't so hard :)

    Exactly. If she says no, just smile, nod and walk away. Then look smug when the EMTs take her past you :bigsmile:
  • SaintGiff
    SaintGiff Posts: 3,673 Member
    Lots of good tips already. It's just hard for me because I'm somewhat socially awkward. It also doesn't help that I don't exactly look like the person a strange woman wants walking up and talking to her. And then I think hey, maybe I'm wrong. But I just... ok... this is what I'm seeing, like, 5 nights a week. Also, this is late at night and the gym is not staffed at those times, for what that's worth.

    This woman has a lot of right ideas. She comes in and hits the treadmill for a solid hour each time. Right on, sister. And she wants that incline burn. High five. However.... ok... I'm just going to paint the pictures. Sauna suit or heavy heavy sweats, a hoodie, and a ski cap. Ok, fine. I'll never even bother with that one. She gets on the treadmill and cranks the incline all the way up to to max and that is where it stays the entire time. Bad *kitten*. Except.... she then proceeds to, well, strap herself to the treadmill. She wraps several pieces of rope and bungee cords around her back and attaches them to the sides of the treadmill so she is literally leaning back on a sort of belt. She then proceed to attach more bungee cords and light ropes to the front of the treadmill to fashion handles, which she attaches to her wrists. It's like some crazy 50 Shades thing. This woman is bound into that treadmill. And yeah, calories burned. But we know that even lightly touching the side of the treadmill reduces calorie burn by 15%, so literally strapping your hands to the front of it is going to cut that burn by a minimum of 30%. Leaning back and allowing your bungee / rope belt to support your bodyweight completely defeats the purpose of the incline. Her feet are bearing maybe 25% of her bodyweight between all of these ropes. I don't want to say anything because she sees so into it, and she really is consistent. I don't want to ruin her mojo. And she isn't in any real risk of injury that I can see. I mean, it's physically impossible for her to fall down.

    Yeah, I'm just gonna leave it alone.
  • SaintGiff
    SaintGiff Posts: 3,673 Member
    Having said that, I would first start by asking yourself if you'd feel the same urge to correct a man doing the same thing.

    I was also thinking this.

    Absolutely. At a minimum, in fact. I am far less self-conscious about saying something to another man. I can't describe how much less self-conscious. I was raised by a single mother and 9 older sisters. I get that whole angle. Plus, I've been in and out of gyms all of my life. I've known a lot of female athletes and I've heard countless stories of would-be male "helpers". If this were a man I would have said something day one.
  • randomtai
    randomtai Posts: 9,014 Member
    Yeah, I'm just gonna leave it alone.

    That is probably best coming from someone who also has social anxiety. :flowerforyou:
  • MostlyWater
    MostlyWater Posts: 4,293 Member
    I think it's nice when we help each other out and cheer each other on.
  • msbanana
    msbanana Posts: 793 Member
    I had to go get a trainer the other day to help someone. He was going to kill himself.
    He was running at ~8 MPH on the tread, BENT OVER (like in half) holding onto the heart monitors. He was damn near coming off the back of the thing and I could tell he was trying to "rest" but why not slow that *kitten* down to a walk if you need a second. I was just waiting for him to shoot off the back of that thing like America's funniest home videos.

    And as for helping the girl out, one exercise at a time (don't give her a dissertation on how bad she sucks at lifting) offer a little advice. Here's how I would like to hear the advice if you were correcting my form.

    "Can I offer a piece of advice?"
    "Ummm... ok..."
    "I noticed that when you're deadlifting you're rolling your hips under as you stand up. That can put a lot of stress on your lower back as you increase the weight and is a sure fire recipe for a back injury."
    "Try it like this"- show proper form. Help her with verbal cues (flat back, stick your butt out, soft knees, head neutral, chest up- don't be a creeper and touch her).

    I hate it when people come up and try to bro science me though so be careful with advice...
  • AllanMisner
    AllanMisner Posts: 4,147 Member
    I tend to keep to myself at the gym. I do my work and I move on. I'm afraid if I took the time to help every time I saw poor form, I'd never get my own workouts done.

    However, I have on two occasions gone to the training staff and asked them to check up on someone (once when I was sure they'd injure themselves and another time when I was sure they'd destroy some equipment).