OutsideSubmission-3 columnist

The Internet is loaded with articles about annoying gym members. We have all seen them, post after post, railing against those that curl in the power rack, guys that scream while doing triceps kickbacks, and ego lifters who quarter squat and do not put away their weights. This has all been beaten to death.

However, in recent years as training has become more popular and important, more serious lifters have migrated away from these characters and have found themselves in more specialized niche gyms where the training is smart and free of corporate gym nonsense. Unfortunately, there is no escape from bad gym behavior, and there is a new class of annoying gym members. Why would you want to buy these people a gift? Because elitefts is not only a place to buy tools to make you stronger; it also sells tools to make others smarter.

Here are some items to give to the new class of annoying gym members. Remember, if your gift gives them the clue to change their behavior, the real beneficiary is you!

For The Nit Picker: Bar Shield Kit

Any fan of music can tell you about the hipster mentality when it comes to great bands. Sure, a band may be good, but there is always a smaller, purer band that is a little bit better. The same ideology can pollute other areas of life, even lifting!

The Nit Picker is never satisfied with other’s lifts. I was once at a gym where a member hit a deadlift PR, and before we could celebrate, a Nit Picker stepped in and said, “Oh man, just imagine how impressive that would be if you wouldn’t have been wearing a belt.” Disgusting, right?

The Nit Picker is the human equivalent of a sad trombone. But if we are committed to getting them a gift we need to think of their needs. Imagine a Nit Picker lining up for their own deadlift PR, double overhand grip, of course, and lo and behold, there are small remnants of chalk still on the bar from a previous lifter. That PR can’t possibly count, can it? It is certainly not raw. So get them the Bar Shield Kit, and they will never have to worry about the bar not being up to their high standards.

For The Guaranteed Spot: Wake Up MotherF****r Smelling Salts

The scene goes like this: You are asked to spot someone on the bench press. The lifter then proceeds to approach the bench like they are shuffling out of a funeral. They gingerly lie down, lazily reach up, and take a feather grip on the bar, and then, just before they inhale a wisp of air, they tell you, “This is for an all-time 1RM.”

You may not have programmed upright rows for yourself that day but now you are not going to have a choice. The Guaranteed Spot may not be able to conjure up much natural fire for themselves, so they need a little assistance. Wake Up MotherF****r Smelling Salts ought to do the trick.

For The Overly Complicated: Neck Harness

They don’t back squat; they only pistol squat. They don’t do weighted chin-ups; they only do one-arm muscle-ups. The Overly Complicated are very proud of the unique lifts they can pull off… and they do not hesitate for a second to talk about how important they are for long-term health.

The only issue is that when they put on anything more than a stringer tank top, they display the physique of your average 15-year-old. I don’t expect their training philosophy to ever change but get them a neck harness so they can at least build one visibly intimidating muscle. They will probably use it while hanging upside down, but whatever.

For The Fashionista: Passion Trumps Everything Tank

This may be a controversial one considering that elitefts sells apparel and supportive equipment, but even Dave Tate shakes his head when he sees this one coming through.

The Fashionista has the branded hat, the branded shorts, the tilted straight bill hat, and the socks, and the elbow sleeves, and the wrist wraps, and the knee sleeves, and the expensive shoes, and… we get it, you are into lifting. We all can appreciate that, but please, just keep it simple. Black background, red letters, and it even says “Passion,” for crying out loud. Let your lifts make the rest of your statement.

For The National Prehab Champion: Blue Heat

They arrive at the gym and proceed to foam roll each muscle individually. From there, they go onto joint distraction exercises with a band, every joint, of course. Then some special stretching exercises before going into muscle activation activities. Then to the weights… nope, must stop at the treadmill for some blood flow work first. And only then is it time to start warming up.

Look, if you are in that much pain, just buy some Blue Heat and get it over with. To borrow a phrase from Jim Wendler: if it’s good enough for Secretariat, it’s good enough for you.

There will likely never be a day where you get along and agree with every member at your gym. Even the most candid hints can fall by the wayside. But members in smaller training facilities are like family, and what says family more than giving a gift to someone you cannot stand?

Header image credit: alphaspirit © 123rf.com

Jay Brown lifts in Chicago at Evolution Strength and Conditioning. He regularly competes in powerlifting and strength lifting, a competition that substitutes the overhead press for the bench press. He stresses that any character likeness in this article to members of his gym is purely coincidental.

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