Friday, February 25, 2011

Don't be that guy

I am a certified personal trainer and have been for almost 10 years.  I have been a member of numerous gyms and have trained at numerous gyms.  I have a bachelors and masters degree in exercise physiology.  I've been a strength coach at 3 different high schools.  I was the Athletic Officer and PRT Coordinator for my ship in the Navy.  Through all of my travels, I have learned a lot about gym etiquette.  There are a lot of unspoken, and spoken, rules and regulations that everyone should know in regards to proper gym etiquette.  For me, the single biggest piece of etiquette that EVERYONE should follow is this: DO NOT OFFER ADVICE UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN ASKED!!!  I consider myself very knowledgeable on how to train, what works, and what doesn't work.  I frequently see people doing the weirdest things I've ever seen and often scratch my head in wonderment as to what the heck they think they are doing.  But I NEVER EVER walk up to someone and just offer advice on what they should be doing.  That's just wrong.  Today, that boundary was crossed by someone to me. 

I ran into an acquaintance at the gym.  I know the guy but I wouldn't say we are buddies.  We've spoken to each other but nothing much more than the obligatory "hey".  Well today was my off day from running and I was doing the elliptical and rower today to keep my cardio up but save my joints.  They guy just happened to be on the treadmill behind me and when I got off of the elliptical I turned around and we smiled at each other.  I thought that was going to be it but he started talking to me.  He asked about the upcoming Triple Crown races and I said I wasn't running them and that I was training for the full marathon.  I shouldn't have said that because I know he has done a couple of Ironman Triathlons and a number of full marathons.  He initially said that if I needed him, he'd be more than happy to help.  You know what, that's fine, I'll accept that.  I have no problem with him being nice and saying that.  I started to walk away and he kept talking.  Uh oh.  He then started offering advice on how I should run the race and how I shouldn't have too high of expectations on how I'm going to perform.  Whoa whoa whoa whoa!  That's quite enough.  First off, I didn't ask for the help.  Secondly, don't freakin tell me not to expect too much from my performance!  The way he was saying things he was basically implying that I'm barely going to finish and I need his help.  As the title of this entry is called, DON'T BE THAT GUY! 

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love getting advice on my training.  I have sought the counsel of numerous people on how to get ready for this marathon.  But the key is that I have looked for the advice.  So let this be a lesson to you.  Do not ever offer unsolicited advice at the gym. 

Oh yeah, and put your weights back while I'm at it. 

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