Unsolicited ≠ Wrong

Good morning loves.

I hope you are having a nice relaxing Sunday filled with plenty of coffee and family snuggles.

Now, on to today’s topic…
Unsolicited advice in the gym.


As a fitness professional with a deep passion on the topic I want to help people.  It’s at my core.  Suppressing it is difficult to put it lightly.  I have the greatest of intentions and any advice I give is never to put someone down or make them feel bad, it is to lift them up and help them do better.  I’m not saying I am always right.  There is a TON of information out there about fitness and the different ways to achieve the body you want.  It is highly unlikely that any advice you get is completely wrong, just simply different.  Take it or leave it, but we are all just trying to help.

The situation:

I work out at about 5am during the week and I am typically there with the same group of people.  For the most part they are your very well educated, buff, fitness fanatics.  They know what they are doing and have been doing it successfully (obviously) for years.  If you take a moment to look around (during your rest periods of course) you are almost guaranteed to learn something.  A new move, a new method, a slight movement alteration that helps isolate the muscles better, the list goes on and on.

The point here is, there is always something to learn.  You could probably always be doing something better.  That isn’t an insult, it is a fact.

About everyone.

During a rest period of mine I saw a gentlemen watching the girl to his right do shoulder raises (alternating front and lateral).  I had seen her walk up earlier.  She was by herself and obviously not completely comfortable in the gym, but doing her best.  Her form wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t horrible either.  I could tell she wasn’t using the right muscles but she was trying, and I give her serious props for that.  She wasn’t going to hurt herself (this is where I would have drawn my line to step in) but she wasn’t getting the most out of the movement.  During the guys break he interrupted her and gave her some unsolicited advice.  I couldn’t hear the conversation (headphones) but I could see him give advice, demonstrate, then QUICKLY go back to his workout because he could tell the help he was trying to give was not welcomed.

As I said, she wasn’t doing horrible, but she definitely could have used his advice to do better.

I don’t know his background on fitness.  Nor do I know hers.  I have never spoken to either party and it is unlikely that I ever will (again, headphones).

I have been on both the giving and receiving side of this interaction before.  Both before AND after I became a fitness professional.  NOBODY is perfect!

Gym goers want to HELP you.  They genuinely love what they do and they just want to help others achieve that same love and level of personal satisfaction they feel when they leave the gym.

Yes, being corrected given advice is initially embarrassing.
Yes, it was unsolicited.
No, they don’t know your goals, injuries, or workout routine.
No, they don’t know your knowledge on the topic.
And no, they did not just give you advice because you were a girl and obviously doing something wrong.  (Do you feel the sarcasm here??  BE REASONABLE.)

They gave you advice because they wanted to help.
Because they think they have a way that can improve your experience.
Isn’t it possible that they are right?


My experience:
Slight side note:

Apparently I have resting bitch face in the gym.  I’m going to say this is my concentration face, BUT I could see the argument for both sides.  Anyways, people don’t typically approach me during my workout.
Second side note: Please DO approach me.  I promise I am nicer than my resting gym face. <–quote credit to my super sweet client. 😉

Back to my experience:

I was doing single arm lat pull downs and apparently this gentlemen wasn’t scared of my face (ha!) and decided to give me a small piece of advice: grab the handle for the other arm.  You can pull backwards more and get a better range of motion.  He had me try it once while he watched and BAM!  It worked so well!  He was brilliant!  I’m sure my eyes lit up with the new knowledge I had and I thanked him profusely (probably more than a normal person, but hey, I was impressed on more than one level.)  We both went on our merry little ways, but mine with better lat isolation.

Sure my initial slight embarrassment of using the equipment incorrectly DIFFERENTLY was there, but only for a split second.  My appreciation for a random stranger in the gym willing to help another gym goer (NOT because I have a vagina, because I know where your mind is) was extreme and quickly took over.  As I walked out of the gym that day I passed him again and thanked him one more time.

I never told him I was a trainer.  I never told him I have studied the field immensely because NONE of that mattered.
Fitness professional or not, you should listen to someone when they give you advice.  Whether or not you take it after is completely up to you but they are trying to be nice and do what they believe is the right thing, so how can you be offended by that?

My other recent experience:

I was doing two handed overhead tricep extensions with a dumbell while sitting on a flat bench (no back).  This gentlemen (also not scared of my face) was doing arm day as well and had just finished his sets on the bench with a back.  He stopped me and said, “Please take this bench.  There is no need for you to strain your back there.  Plus I need to do curls now, so I’ll just trade you.”

Again, I don’t think my form was bad but it could obviously be better.  He was right, there was no need to perform this move without a back rest since it didn’t make what I was trying to achieve any more difficult, it just put undue stress on my back.  He smiled and I happily switched him benches while thanking him for catching that since it had never even occurred to me.

I don’t know him personally.
We have never spoken outside of that incident.
I see him in the gym, give a friendly smile and go on my merry way, as does he.
I have no idea what his fitness knowledge is and he knows nothing about mine.
This was just a simple act of kindness.


Remember that next time someone approaches you in the gym with their unsolicited advice.  Just because it is unsolicited, doesn’t mean it is wrong.

They are simply trying to be a good person with good intentions.  The kind that this world needs more of.

Sharing love and knowledge is an amazing thing.

Imagine if everyone did this outside of the gym.  The implications of a kind heart filled with loving advice would be amazing.

Give people the benefit of the doubt.

There is less of a chance of them giving you advice just to prove they or right or to “hit on you” than there is that they truly and simply want to help.

And on the off chance they are a douche just “Listen, smile, agree.  Then do whatever the fuck you were gonna do anyway.”
Oh ya, I just hit you with some Robert Downey Jr. knowledge.
Iron Man for the win!


I want to know what you think.

Have you ever been approached in the gym with unsolicited advice?  Did you take it?  How did you feel versus how you reacted?  Do you think people should approach others with their advice?


Stay tuned.  I am in the process of baking your next electronic readable doughnut now.
Pretty exciting, I know.

If you haven’t already, make sure you sign up for your doughnut fix.
–>–>–>–>–> To the riiiiiiiiiiiiiight. –>–>–>–>–>

You can also find me on Instagram here and Facebook here.

Love, deadlifts and doughnuts.
❤ Sam ❤

 

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