Learn how to be a better gym-goer from Joey Swoll, the man who calls himself the “CEO of gym positivity”
While it’s true that being in the gym is therapeutic for a lot of people, it’s also entirely possible to have sour experiences from people who don’t respect personal boundaries—and worse, maybe even take the drama to social media.
It’s an especially big risk during a boom in gym memberships, with more people coming in either not knowing how to be a good and respectful gym-goer or simply being traumatized by other gym-goers’ behavior. How do you deal with a potentially toxic environment when all you want to do is work out in peace?
Enter Joey Swoll, an American bodybuilder, personal trainer, and popular fitness influencer on TikTok who’s been gaining momentum on the platform for his mission of holding gym-goers to a higher standard. His best content involves him firmly and calmly calling “bad” gym-goers out, usually for treating other people in the gym harshly, filming them, and posting them on social media for the clout.
If you can relate to gym stories, you can easily lose hours just watching Swoll’s TikTok content—and learning more than just a thing or two on how to be a better person in the gym. In fact, you might even change a few preconceived notions and take on a more positive mindset. But if you don’t have all that time to spend on his page and you want to be better, here are four important lessons he preaches:
Stop filming other people in the gym
This is undoubtedly Swoll’s number one reminder: Don’t take videos of other people in the gym without their consent, and even more so, do not post it on social media.
The social media post has been weaponized to shame people and gain clout, especially when there’s something funny or there’s a disagreement. You likely won’t want that to be done to you, so don’t do it to others. If there’s a perceived slight or you want to correct someone and you really want to do something about it, go talk to that person.
Don’t judge other people’s workouts
A lot of what passes as “funny” gym content on social media typically involves someone else doing ridiculous and uncommon exercises. While there is some over-the-top stuff that does need to be called out, there are times when what one finds funny is actually a legitimate exercise, like the neck stretches in the above video.
You can encounter something unusual in the gym and find it funny, but as mentioned, it’s generally below the belt to invade someone’s privacy by filming and posting it on social media for clout.
You don’t own a public gym
I haven’t seen it from local fitness creators, but there are apparently people who try to publicly shame other gym-goers who walk into the frames of their workout videos. Swoll reiterates that unless you own the gym, the public commercial gym is for everyone to use, and nobody is expected to give way to your camera.
Be a positive influence in the gym
The gym is often seen by outsiders and newcomers as an intimidating place with people who are really fit, so it’s up to regulars and veterans to make it as accommodating as possible. The positivity referred to here isn’t the toxic kind; it’s the kind where everyone supports, compliments, and helps each other get through their fitness journey in the gym.
Contrary to the previous rules, Swoll seems to make an exception and encourage the filming and posting of these moments—and rightfully so, because we definitely need to see more of these in the world.