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Is there a disconnect between Gen Z gym-goers and older generations in the gym?

PRorER

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To start, I’m 24 years old so I’m gonna make the assumption that I am one of the younger individuals on this forum. I’ve been working out for 10 years now and most of my experience within the gym was learned from MUCH more experienced gym members, strength coaches from playing hs/college football, and watching YouTube (EliteFTS, IFBB pros, etc).

Something that I’ve always noticed early on is that there’s always been people at whatever gym I workout at that are super friendly or helpful but they are usually +30 in age. I have 3 training partners (1 everyday, 1 a few times a year, and 1 only over the summer because he’s in college out of state) who are all relatively the same age as me but we’ve known each other for years. I’ve always found it funny interacting with people my age or younger in the gym. It usually turns into a dick measuring contest… I’ve had people tell me my physique/lifts don’t count because I take steroids (I’m open about my use if asked). Once I had a kid curse me out because I wouldn’t tell him where to buy gear(personally I think it’s a right of passage to find it yourself, which isn’t very hard). It’s almost like in my generation people are competing against each other to look better than the guy next to them. Obviously not everyone is like that but it is becoming a theme as I’ve become more experienced.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s always the older guys (by old I just mean above my age range) at my gym that are the first people to congratulate you on a big lift, compliment you, etc. I’ve also learned a lot just from taking lil pointers here and there. This question is aimed more at the individuals on this forum who have made the gym apart of their lifestyle and have years of experience but do you ever feel like the gym culture you grew up in is completely different then the gym culture younger generations are experiencing? If so what are the things you like or dislike?
 
It is different, but it is normal because times change and therefore people's behavior changes too.
Social media has the biggest role in this change because you never knew that somewhere in the world there are guests who sniff your best results through their noses. You were happy that you were simply getting better from month to month and year to year and today social media instead of motivating us is starting to sow seeds of hatred in people because they show them that there are a lot of guys in the world who are much better than you and at least that should motivate you to work harder instead of motivating most people it simply arouses hatred and hate
 
It is quite different.

Now many of these kids lift and take anabolics to look a way to get “likes” and social media gratification. Pictures, videos, tinder, bumble….to build this online persona. They love the results…not the means.

When your working out beside a tractor and a diesel welder in your garage…pulling a PR that blows capillary beds in your eyes….you love the means.
 
I’d say most of us in the “older crowd” learned by socializing and imitating. You found the guy with the biggest arms and watched him or worked up the balls to ask him what he did to earn them.

Now, everyone is an instant expert and that’s really eliminated the desire to talk to people. The lack of critical thinking also plays a factor since a lot of the younger gym goers don’t take criticism or advice well and just go to their preferred bubble to get the answer they want. Not the answer they need.

There a still a few young guys who have old souls. You see them working the hardest and keeping a low profile. They’re may not be that many, but they are out there.

Also, there’s a lot more gyms now than their used to be. So a lot of the younger kids who have that old soul are spread out. We all used to go to one gym.. forever. Or until we all decided to migrate.
 
When I started at the gym, nobody wore headphones. We had a radio speaker that played and the “advanced” guys were able to choose what we listened to. People were friendly and always offered a spot, or would give advice and just generally be helpful. But you knew your place at te bottom of the totem pole. Steroids weren’t talked about, you had to earn that with hard work and dedication. Now, it’s all completely the opposite. I miss the old days and the vibe
 
When your working out beside a tractor and a diesel welder in your garage…pulling a PR that blows capillary beds in your eyes….you love the means.
Not quite the same but during Covid I didn’t have money to buy an at home gym. I did have two downed telephone poles so I cut them into a bench and squat rack, found a 10ft rusted metal pipe, and used cinder blocks as weights. Honestly the most fun I’ve had working out
 
Not quite the same but during Covid I didn’t have money to buy an at home gym. I did have two downed telephone poles so I cut them into a bench and squat rack, found a 10ft rusted metal pipe, and used cinder blocks as weights. Honestly the most fun I’ve had working out
That’s pretty sick. Any pics of it?
 
There's no disconnect.

Prior generations said the same things about your generation. The lens is different but the fundamental ideas are the same.

You can't expect things not to change over time - evolution is the natural order of things.
 
Your outdoor gym is epic
 
I never understood the dick measuring contests that fire up in gyms… If you can lift 50lbs more than me on all your compound lifts then congrats to you. It doesn’t mean shit to me… I just focus on what I can do, but it doesn’t mean I’m not a lil jealous. lol

Way back when I was starting out I was doing barbell incline presses. I was probably 180lb lifting 210lbs. Had a large fella come over and offer me some advice. He mentioned I was using a large load for my size. Then instructed me to utilize the full ROM which I obviously wasn’t doing.

Well he was behind me cause he already knew I was gonna get stuck. Sure enough he bailed me out of the failed press. He had me lower the weight and perform them again really concentrating on the movement. I was like woah, this shit is way harder now. I thanked him for his input and continued to follow his advice for many years.

I’m older (mid-40’s)… Like others have mentioned you never approached the big guys at the gym. NEVER!!!!! Once they recognized you by showing you’re there daily grinding and making progress they’ll eventually say something. Only then were you able to ask some basic questions. Nothing abt AAS though…

Cage
 
The adult and veteran people you know are consistent and love the process, whereas over your years in the gym you will find that 95% of teens who show up only stay for a few weeks or months.
 
I haven't worked out in a commercial gym consistently for about 8 years so I don't really know the culture nowadays. When I am traveling and workout in commercial setting I do notice the t shirts are very tight and/or the guys are in stingers or tanks. I prefer my 3xl pump cover and long baggy shorts even though that's not the style.

My advice as far as being open about gear is don't. You don't have to say you're natural but when someone asks (unless they are an inner circle friend), just say "I take what my Dr. tells me to". Be safe and never have dialogue about gear outside your circle.

Being 50, I first stepped into a commercial gym in 1988. Things were much different back then. There was no YouTube or any training E books. You watched the biggest guys and then copied what they did. It was intimidating at first but then the older veteran guys watched you work hard and they would be ok giving you a spot or some advice after you put your time in.

As I progressed in college it was much the same. Freshman year I worked out at a hardcore gym off campus with a lot of bodybuilders and some powerlifters. Daily there was someone pressing 405 for reps or doing 225-275 seated overhead for 10-12. It was intimidating at first but it was a mix of us college kids and "townies" so after you put your time in the older bigger guys opened up and were great.

In those days there was never any jealousy. But there was also no internet and social media. Sure there were rivalries among guys in the guy but everyone pushed each other. Looking back we didn't have the "info" young people had now but there was certainly some beasts in the gym and the styles were great. Lean wasn't the "thing" back then and you could be a permabulker and wear your Otomix, Zubaz, and T Michael big top with pride!!
 
It’s all perspective. You can’t appreciate something until you’ve gone through the work or gotten to the other side. @danieltx hit it dead on the head.

I’m 35 now so I sit right in the middle of the spectrum. I see both sides, but just as I’ve learned most of those younger guys you train with now won’t be in a gym 5-10 years from now. They’re chasing a temporary thing. The older guys have been in the trenches and know this is a lifestyle.
 
I go at 4am so the crowd is different.. older crowd...more about getting shit done and getting out of there..... Now that's Monday -Friday..... the weekends are another story.... I can say the younger crowds, GenZrs or whatever they wanna call themselves FOR THE MOST part lack gym etiquette... they have no problem eating up a machine for 45min while they bullshit on the phone and set up their tripod...... they could give a fuck if people are waiting to use the machine....it drives me crazy.....
 
You kknow what it is...

When we (and im going to consider myself in the old crowd now) were coming up, it was a trial by error type of situation. There wasnt a TON of info about bodybuilding. You learned to lift from sports and then if you were interested in it, you kinda had to be a weirdo. You had to watch the big guys, read weird magazines, etc. It was very niche. So niche that you couldnt fake it and treat it like a fad. If you didnt have passion for BBing, you got that EARLY and you were done with it. By the time you actually looked like you lifted, you were a member of this elite club...bodybuilders. The lack of info filtered out the wanna be's verryyy quickly.

Nowadays there is more fadiness to it. Its as if every 19year old has to try it at least once to see if its there thing. Thats why its so dangerous for these kids. They wanna be a lifter for what, 18 months. And they wanna add gear to the mix too. Dude, you wont even LIKE lifting in 3 years and you're about to fuck your sex drive and hormones up? Good luuuck. The rise of social media made it accessible to everrryone. A good thing and a bad thing. Add the rise of Bumstead and an increase in an "achievable physique" through diff classes and we see the perfect storm lol.
Not a hater at all. I feel very much like a hipster, "oh i was into BBing before it was cool" lol
 
I’m from generation X 1977. We had to learn from the big guys in the gym, and asked him questions about training and diet. When I started in the early 90s, no one talked about steroids. It’s like you had to earn your stripes to be able to talk to the guys who had access. There was no social media until late 2000’s so there certainly was no one filming Work workouts. We actually would ask people who knew to watch our form. I don’t mean this in a derogatory way, but seeing all these young people videoing, their workouts is just gay. I can be done with my entire workout in one hour, and this young generation is still on their first exercise. It’s like herds of young college age, kids that are completely clueless, even though they have access to so much information. But you can’t tell them anything because they think they know what they’re doing. Looks to me like you have an old soul. Social media and the Internet can be great, but it also can be dumb as hell.
 

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