Confused about whether or not you're a real lifter? There are a few ways to find out. You could check your favorite powerlifting federation's lifter classifications for elite and pro totals, such as the IPF/USAPL classification standards or the SPF classifications. You could head over to the local powerlifting gym and see how your strength stacks up against the best in your area. You could even go to a bodybuilding show and see how you look compared to the guys on stage (though many powerlifters will argue that this isn't an accurate measure of a real lifter — we'll let you use your own judgement).

Or you could just read this list from team elitefts. If at least 30 of these apply to you, you can call yourself a real lifter.

Here are the things all real lifters do:

  1.  Put their weights away. —Dave Tate
  2. Load their own bars. —Dave Tate
  3. Know how to wear a belt.  —Dave Tate
  4. Know how to use straps. —Dave Tate
  5. Adjust the settings on any machine or bench. —Dave Tate
  6. Give a lift off (not drop the bar on you). —Dave Tate
  7. NOT ask for "3 more reps" after you barley got the last one.  —Dave Tate
  8. Spot correctly. —Dave Tate
  9. Know when and how to ask to "work in." —Dave Tate
  10. Know when to NOT walk in front of someone lifting. —Dave Tate
  11. Understand what movements pair with what body parts and how to group them during a given session and why. —Mike Szudarek
  12. Actually move dumbbells away from the rack to use them. —Brandon Smitley
  13. Use machines for other purposes than than they were intended (pressdowns on the dip machine, good mornings on the hack squat, inverted rows on the smith machine, etc.). —Brandon Smitley
  14. Know which machines are a piece of shit (the rotational "ab machine" for example). —Brandon Smitley
  15. Know when to shut up when your training partner is about to do a set. — Méana Franco
  16. Never, under any circumstance, wear gloves. Not even to shovel the snow. —Mike Szudarek
  17. Know how to both give a receive legitimate criticism. —Dave Kirschen
  18. Make do at a commercial gym even though it is not optimal. —Matt Ladewski
  19. Interact with a lifter of the opposite sex without coming off as a creepy sociopath. I'm leaving this open to both men and women, but we all know it's directed at men. —Dave Kirschen
  20. Train without wearing a singlet. —Jo Jordan
  21. Train without wearing tights. —Jo Jordan
  22. Don't bench with a deadlift bar. — Jo Jordan
  23. Don't squat with a deadlift bar. —Jo Jordan
  24. Never, ever ask "what muscle does that work?" —Dave Kirschen
  25. Never start a conversation with "back in the day I used to do x-amount-of-weight on (fill in the blank with a lift)." —Julia Ladewski
  26. Respect the gym where they train. —Brian Schwab
  27. Never asks what the boards, box, chains, or bands are for. —Brian Schwab
  28. Know how to spot enough to help the lifter push through the lift without taking it from them or making them strain. —Brian Schwab
  29. Clean up after themselves. Not just re-racking weights but also throwing out their empty bottles of energy drinks and wiping up their sweat. —Brian Schwab
  30. Understand how a movement is supposed to occur and be able to see and explain to your training partners exactly exactly how and where they are totally sodomizing their technique in the most insulting, but helpful way possible. Death threats and prison shower metaphors are a must. —Andy Deck
  31. Know when to offer a spot when you can see someone is looking for one, before they even ask. —Scott Stevenson
  32. Recognize that a loaded bar/machine with a pile of stuff next to it means someone is working there before taking over. (Be polite enough to wait a bit, look around and ask before commandeering.) —Scott Stevenson
  33. Make sure to make it obvious where you're training if you need to get a drink, use the bathroom, etc. (See above) —Scott Stevenson
  34. Recognize where you're placing yourself in the gym space: Don't stand in walk spaces, lean on DB racks, lean on machines, or get in the way. —Scott Stevenson
  35. Give way to the person carrying weights, DB's etc.  —Scott Stevenson
  36. Step outside/away from the gym for phone conversations (if you just MUST have your run on hand). —Scott Stevenson
  37. Train hard as hell in any gym, regardless of the external environment/gym atmosphere. Get it done. —Scott Stevenson
  38. Don't commandeer a machine and then hold a conversation: Others may be waiting for you to leave. —Scott Stevenson
  39. Allow others to work in, unless it's ridiculous in terms of moving weight around (you're using 1000 pounds and they want to use 90 pounds). —Scott Stevenson
  40. Re-rack weights in the proper places and even move them toward someone who you can see will need them (e.g., bring 45's toward the big guy at an empty rack where there are no 45's) —Scott Stevenson