Getting anti-social at the gym

By Matt Perryman

Much as I complain about social media, and as correct as I am to do so, my dirty secret is that I keep a small and highly-curated list of follows on the Twitter under a secret account.

I check on this maybe 10 minutes a few times a week. One of my favorite accounts is this guy Joey Swoll.

It’s become a thing the last few years for a certain demographic to film their workouts for Tick-Tock clout. Which is fine by itself. Back when I was halfway strong I was known to film a set of squats or deadlifts here and there.

Here’s some things that I didn’t do:

– Complain that somebody walked in front of my video.

– Film somebody else doing something “stupid” and post to laugh about it. (Lord knows I’ve been tempted, but I never gave in.)

– Notice a man minding his business in the background of my shot and then post the video to “call him out” for being a creep.

Having functioning eyes and being in a public place is now the bar for creepiness. These Zoomers, man. Staring into phones their whole lives has made them into social idiots.

This mess all passed me by for the many years I didn’t have to mess around with commercial gyms. I go back in 2019 and find hip thrusts everywhere, taking up all the squat racks for an exercise that can be done with a barbell and free floor space. Half the time I couldn’t tell if I was at the gym or a night-club the way the women dressed. Then there’s the 10-minute “Instagram rests” between sets, always on the one piece of equipment you need next.

Joey Swoll’s made his name from calling out the call-outs. The entitled behavior from these people is almost unbelievable and it warms the blacker parts of my heart when they catch flak on it.

Joey isn’t being harsh enough on this frankly. If I were a gym owner right now I’d have zero-tolerance “no filming” and “no phones on the floor” rules at the top of my terms and conditions, right next to the dress code.

The worst thing about “social” media is the way it’s turned so many actual social occasions into anti-social encounters between people who don’t know how to act with real human beings.

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Matt Perryman

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