How Would You Handle This?

When I hit the gym it often feels as though everyone around me becomes an instant expert. I can appreciate the desire that they have to help the heavy girl get fit, but sometimes I just want to be left alone to do what I showed up to do.

Some of the unsolicited “advice” I receive is absurd. Someone once told me to drink 600 oz. of water  per day.  Today someone told me to hang upside down so the blood would start pounding inside my head which would eliminate the desire to eat.  At other times they share good advice, but what makes it okay to walk up to a stranger and tell them how to fix themselves?

It seems as though people simply hang out at the gym or  lose a little (or a lot) of weight before instantly becoming a self-proclaimed expert.  And while I can appreciate the good intentions that accompany the advice most of the time, unless they’ve been in my shoes, I don’t want to hear how easy it is if I just do this or that.

Has this ever happened to you?  If so, how did you handle it?

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30 Comments

  • Reply
    sanumaria
    May 8, 2013 at 4:27 am

    Here in Finland where people don’t go that easily to talk to strangers, it’s more about “should I go to the him he’s doing that totally wrong?”. But it’s different online, there you have these same kind of self-proclaimed experts to tell you how to lift, how to get fit, how to eat etc. Maybe you should get a T-shirt like this: http://s764.photobucket.com/user/nphunk/media/ALONE_3_blkK.jpg.html
    That’s a quote from Finnish Formula 1 driver Kimi Räikkönen. He got some instructions during the race from his team, and that’s what he told them back 😀

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    • Reply
      Lori
      May 9, 2013 at 9:03 am

      That’s too funny. I love that!

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      • Reply
        Kenlie
        May 10, 2013 at 3:03 am

        That shirt is awesome..ha

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  • Reply
    Shell Baker
    May 8, 2013 at 4:50 am

    Just smile and nod whilst allowing it to go in one ear and out of the other. 😉

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  • Reply
    Melanie
    May 8, 2013 at 5:15 am

    Here in the UK (and especially in London where I live) strangers are very unlikely to talk to you anywhere! I’d like to think that people are just trying to be helpful but it is scary to know that really poor advice is being passed on.

    I think I would find a chatty gym environment really difficult as being at the gym is ‘me time’. However, if I was clearly doing something wrong and was at risk of injuring myself I do hope that someone would say something to me – the trainers at the gym are often paying very little attention.

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  • Reply
    Tonya
    May 8, 2013 at 5:40 am

    I haven’t had to deal with that yet. Usually people are either encouraging or in their own zone and don’t pay much attention to me or at least I don’t think they do, my trainer says otherwise. He says they are just impressed. I like it that way. A friend of my that trains without music keeps her ear buds in just to avoid things like that, so she can get her work done.

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      May 10, 2013 at 3:05 am

      I rock the music regardless of the exercises I’m doing unless I’m with my trainer. No one bothers me when I’m with him…People get my attention even with the earbuds and the blaring tunes…

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  • Reply
    Eric Van De Ven
    May 8, 2013 at 5:41 am

    If I am at the gym, and someone wants to tell me something, I politely tell them, you do not know my situation as it pertains to what I am doing, so respectfully, please do not interrupt my workout. I have limited time.

    If someone comes up to me for advise, I have no problem giving it to them, but I do not go up to everyone and tell them how to work out.

    Each individual has a different set of situations, injuries, weight gain or loss, to name a few, and unless you are a certified trainer, with intimate knowledge of the person, it is better to say nothing.

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      May 10, 2013 at 3:06 am

      That direct approach is definitely a consideration…

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  • Reply
    Brandy E.
    May 8, 2013 at 9:35 am

    I have never had anyone give me advice at the gym, I wonder if the headphones have a part in discouraging that….
    The only advice I ever give is how to turn on the sometimes finicky TVs or other equipment.

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      May 10, 2013 at 3:07 am

      Nah..I am always wearing headphones…

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  • Reply
    Karen
    May 8, 2013 at 10:18 am

    I have had that happen. Not at a gym, but from friends and family. My response: ” Thanks, but I’m already doing what works for me.” This is my standard answer for pretty much anything. I might add that no one said a word until I had already lost 40 pounds, then suddenly they all became experts on me.

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  • Reply
    Em
    May 8, 2013 at 11:02 am

    “Thanks for your concern. I’ll take that under advisement.” Polite but vacant facial expression.

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  • Reply
    Brandy
    May 8, 2013 at 11:35 am

    600 oz??!! Were they trying to give you water intoxication?! Wow.

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      May 10, 2013 at 3:07 am

      Right?!?!?!?

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  • Reply
    Jackie
    May 8, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Take it one day at a time, and let everyone know “I am doing fine, thank you”.

    Going to the gym can be an intimidating experience, but hold your head up and do whatever works best for you. If you have a friend with whom you can work out, so much the better. Put on your headphones, and work out to Irish music (my ‘fave) or whatever music moves you! That way, you can turn everyone else out!!

    Good luck!

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  • Reply
    Ann
    May 8, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Wear headphones at all times. Even of you aren’t listening to anything!

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  • Reply
    Missy
    May 8, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Put your headphones in and don’t make eye contact! People should get the hint and leave you alone ;o)

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  • Reply
    Heidi R
    May 8, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I can not stand when people do that to me. Just because they are in a gym does NOT make them the expert on fitness. 600 OZ of water!!!???? Are they trying to drown you? That is just ridiculous….

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  • Reply
    Ryan
    May 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Most people are just trying to be helpful, even the most misguided. A simple and sincere “Thanks” or some other acknowledgement, maybe including an honest and brief moment of eye contact with a just as quick return to the activity being interrupted, without any added statement that refutes or continues the conversation, will hopefully keep things civil without wasting any more time. Other choices for response could be sarcasm, disdain, sincere explanations of beeswax, or even veiled hostility, but they all would require more time and energy which is what I think you are trying to avoid.

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    • Reply
      Lori
      May 9, 2013 at 9:08 am

      LOL…I love your reply. so funny.

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  • Reply
    dad
    May 8, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    600 ozs? That is almost 5 gallons per day. Maybe they meant they to say they thought you needed to take a bath.LOL

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      May 10, 2013 at 3:08 am

      Hahahahahaha

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  • Reply
    Kim
    May 8, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    I try to remember that most of the time people’s hearts are in the right place. I haven’t had anyone offer advice but have had random strangers offer me words of encouragement. I also have a habit of getting a little too into my music and dancing when I’m walking on the treadmill so I’ve gotten some strange looks at times. I really don’t care too much what other people think of me, I’m at the gym me, not for anyone else. If dancing makes the time go by faster, so be it, and hopefully having a chuckle at my expense will brighten someone else’s day. In your situation I think I would just smile, say thank you, put in my earbuds and keep on dancing 🙂

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      May 10, 2013 at 3:08 am

      Encouragement is different. That happens too, but I appreciate that a lot.

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  • Reply
    Shelladawn
    May 9, 2013 at 6:18 am

    Mmmmmm tricky one. You are young, attractive and look approachable, which would be a big factor in people coming up and giving you unwanted advice. I’m with the masses put some ear phones in, whether or not you are listening to anything. And if they give you their chitty chat, just smile and nod, tune out and say thanks when their gums have stopped slapping! (I would never ever have that problem. I have a talent for looking cute-ish one moment and in another looking like Godzilla on a bad hair day. I find that doesn’t encourage unwanted comments or conversations from strangers!)

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      May 10, 2013 at 3:09 am

      LOL…you made it sound so flattering..thanks.

      The earbuds are always in…:)

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  • Reply
    Holly
    May 9, 2013 at 7:57 am

    I have this happen all.the.time. Well meaning skinny people love to give me unsolicited advice on dieting and exercise. If I had a dollar for every person that told me it’s “just calories in vs calories out”, I would be rich. I want to be like, “REALLY?? I’ve NEVER heard that before!!” but I feel bad being rude. I don’t understand why people think this is ok! Can you even imagine walking up to a skinny person and giving them advice on wrinkles or cellulite?!

    I’ve been honest with friends and strangers recently, telling them it’s not really helpful and reminding them that I’ve been a serial dieter for 20+ years, so I actually know a lot more than they do about the topic, I just have a problem applying what I know! I’ve finally come to the realization that my issue isn’t lack of knowledge or will power, it’s almost purely psychological or something different about how my brain/body views food., and when I tell people that it usually shuts them up.

    Thank you for posting this! It’s obviously a sore spot for me :-/

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      May 10, 2013 at 3:10 am

      Really good point about wrinkles and cellulite!

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  • Reply
    Tiffany
    May 10, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    This is my life. I just listen and say thanks because I don’t want to be rude (and I imagine they are actually trying to be helpful), but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve mentally slapped skinny girls who just lost 5 pounds, trying to tell me how they know exactly how I feel because they used to be “overweight” too …

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