The everyday embarrassment of being the skinny guy in the gym

Stop telling me how to lift, bro


At certain times in life, we all look a bit out of place. It’s not a bad thing if you don’t want to be there – but I can’t help but feel like I look quite out of place in somewhere I love. The gym.

You’ll catch me there pretty much every day. Yet their glaring eyes still say “you can’t lift that” and “I bet this is his first time.”

I do lift, bro

Always the tall and lanky one, my body has failed to blossom into a pulsating bag of muscles despite me lifting lots of the quite big weights and squatting real deep. I’m probably the skinniest guy in the gym.

It’s not like I haven’t grown at all since I quit the cardio and began benching presses a couple of years ago, but things could be better – or bigger (like there’s a difference).

But as the token skinny guy, I’ve become used to being told my KGs are “measly” or not worth bothering with.

My friends take the piss because I can't squat at Ollie

My friends take the piss because I can’t squat an Ollie

It seems that to really fit in amongst the gym crowd you need a bunch of cunty accessories: the backwards cap, the hi-vis shoes, and the general look on your face as if you’re ready to knock out anybody who calls your cap “cunty”.

Being the skinniest guy in these places means you’ll always be looked down on, even if you are lifting as much as the lump who’s matching Maria Sharapova for grunt volume.

Working out in between these brutes can be a tad humiliating, but never so much as when people offer tips and advice via the patronising medium of “you can’t lift that”.

There’s nothing worse than a trainer pointing you out and telling you you’re using the peck deck wrong from across the weight section – and they always come for the skinny guy. And it really stings when they tell you to drop your weights size because they think you’re struggling – I was about to conquer another set, thanks.

Those skinny arms, though.

Those skinny arms, though.

Most people quit when they don’t turn into a man-mountain but that’s all the motivation I need. And, to be honest, I haven’t any desire to fit in amongst some of the twats that inhabit many of Britain’s gyms – I couldn’t give less of a fuck if they think I’m thinner than an anorexic toilet brush.

There will always be that niggling doubt of disapproval from the beasts in the free weight corner. Luckily most skinny blokes have a sense of humour – just wink and nod along.

I still love a good gym session. I’ll keep lifting, believing and knowing that one day I can finally be like Arnie S… Can’t I?