Monday, November 3, 2014


There is an epidemic that is spreading at commercial gyms: zombism.  Though small in number, reported sightings of the commercial gym zombie continue to increase each day.  The symptoms of commercial gym zombism are as follows.

-Perpetual moan emitted of “GAAAAAINS” as they shamble through the training area.

-Tendency to fixate on one object/activity with total disregard for surroundings.  There have been reports of commercial gym zombies clipping unobservant gym patrons with a barbell while performing the squat and still completing the set with zero issues.  Other such reports include zombies that walked directly to the pair of dumbbells they needed from the rack, in doing so forcing many patrons to create enough space between themselves and the rack in order to allow the zombie through.  This has of course upset many gym goers, who firmly believe it is well within their rights to perform their exercises exactly 3” away from the rack.


-Limited vocabulary.  Most zombies, upon encountering a gym patron occupying a piece of equipment that they desire access to, will only mutter “work in?” while pointing at the object of their affection.  This of course is an indication of social deviancy, as the zombie has completely neglected to perform the standardized ritual of waving at the gym goer, asking them how many sets they have left with an aura of simultaneous aloofness paired with desire to use the equipment, and then passive aggressively occupying the space while watching the gym patron exercise until the equipment frees up.  This lack of social grace can only be chalked up to an overactive repitilian brain that operates purely off of the need to feed.

-Noted “thousand yard stare” between sets.  The gym zombie seems unaware of the activity going on around him at the gym, and during his time spent not lifting, he appears to be in some sort of “resting” status.  Were cognition possible, one would think that the zombie was in some sort of deep thought, contemplating his next set, exercise, how his progression has succeeded, or any other training related though that one may engage in to better themselves.  However, given the diminished mental state of the zombie, this seems wholly impossible, and is most likely simply coincidence.

-Disregard for external stimuli.  Given the lack of central nervous system, the gym zombie seems completely unaware of a gym’s lack of air conditioning, or too powerful of a heating system, or too strong of an air conditioning unit, or any other such discomfort other patrons are experiencing.  In many cases, the gym zombie can be witnessed wearing the same training attire, regardless of climate, and seems more concerned with utility than outward appearances.

Note the tank top OVER the t-shirt, completely removing the ability to display one's biceps

-Unawareness of “self”.  The concept of “self” of course is only possible to those in possession of higher level intellect, and due to the effect of zombism on the brain, the gym zombie has completely lost this concept.  This becomes evident by the zombie’s inability to recognize itself in a mirror.  In fact, in  most cases it seems that the gym zombie is completely unaware that there are mirrors in the gym at all, fixating on a spot straight ahead over the horizon whenever they engage in any sort of training, and not at all concerned with checking their form or ensuring that their gym attire accurately reflect s the hard work they are performing.

-Complete disregard for injury and damage.  This once again is a representation of the gym zombie’s diminished nervous system.  There have been many stories of patrons observing a gym zombie train despite encountering “career ending” injuries to include, but not limited to: sprained ankle, stubbed toe, pulled muscles, broken hand, shoulder dislocation, torn ACL, 10lb plate falling on their head, bloody noses, scrapped shins, etc etc.  Additionally, gym zombies perform their lifts with TERRIBLE form, which clearly they are only capable of due to their diseased state.  Were a normal human attempt to try this, they would DEFINITELY get injured, no questions asked, 100% of the time.
-Insatiable hunger.  Gym zombies crave gains, and are never satisfied with what they have achieved.  Most patrons have observed gym zombies training year round, continuously making progress and growing ever larger and more powerful.  This of course poses a significant threat to those gym goers who have been training for years but don’t have the genetics, drugs, time, energy, food, money, coaching, or fortune of being infected by a terrible disease to be able to make such progress.

Bullets will only make him mad

After reading these symptoms, I imagine many of you are aware that you have in fact come into contact with a gym zombie.  Fear not though, for some people are of a certain genetic strain that they are immune to gym zombism.  If you display the following quantities, consider yourself safe from contamination.

-Total awareness of all the stupid people around you at the gym.  If you have nicknames for everyone at your gym, and know that certain people always perform half reps and that some people aren’t on the super awesome program that you’re on that you just KNOW is going to make you huge one day, you do not possess the single mindedness seen in gym zombies.

-Need to correct bad form.  The good Samaritan qualities that you possess contrast entirely with the gym zombies sole need for gains.  The zombie no longer possess the overpowering empathy, good will, and integrity that you as a fine upstanding gym citizen do.  So long as you selflessly come to the aid of all the poor souls who have been tragically misinformed on good form and preach to them the good word of “Starting Strength” and internet form checks, you will be immune to commercial gym zombism.

If you force the guy on the right to pull like the guy on the left, you are immune

-Pride.  Pride is a quality that can only exist in those humans that still possess higher level cognitive abilities, which the gym zombie lacks.  While a gym zombie will make lifts “unpure” by using belts, straps, wraps, sleeves, chalk, cheat reps, half reps, touch and go, machines, etc, those immune to the strain will refuse to lower themselves to this base “animal” state, and will instead ensure to train using ONLY their body and a slippery barbell.

-Ability to retain tomes of information.  The gym zombie’s mind is fixated purely on the pursuit of more gains, it has no room for storage.  If, however, you find that you are able to fully read and commit to memory the words of Mark Rippetoe, Boris Sheiko, Louie Simmons, and many other authors AND can utilize their words to assert, defend, and attack any point in any training argument, you are most definitely immune to gym zombism.  This is especially true if you have no actual experience with these methods, as your ability to take information and predict it’s pattern of success is only possible for those that maintain high level of intellect.

-Complex digestive system.  The gym zombie’s internal systems have degraded to a bare basic level, and as such they seem to be able to progress in the gym off of any sort of fuel they intake.  Low cost food, non-organic food, fast food, cheap supplements (or in some cases NO supplements), no matter the source, the gym zombie progress.  If, however, your digestive system is complex enough that you require a pre-workout supplement, along with accurate and precise pre, peri and post workout nutrition, along with all other meals dialed in to the macro in order to make progress, you can rest assured that you will not be infected by the gym zombie.

The original cure

-Long warm-up.  As was previously indicated, the gym zombie does not have an effective system for noting body temperature and, when paired with an inability to sense pain and ability to perform dangerous form, we find that they spend little, if any, time warming up. As one immune to gym zombism, you will of course require an EXTENSIVE warm up in order to ensure you are properly ready and able to lift weights.  If you are unable to effectively train without at LEAST 5 minutes of steady state cardio, 5-10 minutes of foam rolling, 5-10 minutes of dynamic stretching and 5-10 minutes of mobility work, you are in the clear from gym zombism infection.

I will continue to keep you posted as reports of more sightings occur.  Until then, stay safe.


  1. Replies
    1. Though tongue was firmly in cheek upon my writing of this, it's the persona I adopt in a commercial gym. I do my best to avoid distractions and focus on the task at hand, and based what I read online, a lot of folks are paying attention to all the wrong things.