'Borderline Harassment': Man 'Trying To Help' Woman at Gym Sparks Anger

A male fitness fanatic has been blasted on social media for taking it upon himself to offer "unsolicited advice" to a woman training at his gym.

The incident involving has been shared online by a man posting to Reddit under the handle Budget_Ingenuity6404, who insisted he was just "trying to help a girl at the gym."

Writing in the post, which has been upvoted over 10,000 times, he said a month ago a woman started regularly coming to his gym. "I'm not a stalker or anything, we just happen to be there during the same hours," he explained.

According to the man, he has been going to the gym for several years now and considers himself "pretty knowledgeable" on all things fitness. "I have noticed that this girl doesn't have a workout plan, she doesn't have leg day, arm day etc. she just exercises several parts of her body every time," he wrote. "She doesn't count reps, she doesn't do sets, generally it's a mess."

A woman being harassed in a gym.
A man has drawn criticism after, as he put it, he tried "to help a girl at the gym." Stock image of a man inappropriately touching a woman in a gym. Rachaphak/Getty

During a recent trip to the gym, he noticed her at the treadmill and decided to start a conversation. After a few minutes he "politely advised her to have a workout plan and to exercise specific body parts each time."

She tried to explain that she can only come to the gym "three times a week" and as an ex-dancer, feels it's "unnatural" to focus on one body part. The man, however, "insisted" she try and have "designated days," persisting even after she told him "that's not how she likes her work out."

He continued on with his advice though, telling the woman it would be "wiser" for her to "focus on muscle groups and mind her nutrition" at which point, "she got angry" and "practically yelled" at the man to "leave her alone." He finally relented, going back to his "workout buddies" who agreed with him that "she was out of line."

Social media, however, felt entirely differently. One Reddit user, posting as Cloud_nin9, was furious, writing: "Don't give unsolicited advice. Ever. Especially to women at the gym. It's creepy and borderline harassment."

Huggie1, meanwhile, told the man to "look up 'mansplaining' online and get a clue" with NatFreeRider accusing him of "full on harassing" the woman. "This dude's behavior is why I stopped going to gyms a long time ago," they added.

Thswillsoonendbadly could not believe the man's lack of self-awareness, commenting: "He spent ten straight minutes harassing her!! Like holy s***, dude!!" No-Cars-Go said: "This is literally why women-only gyms exist. So many men complain about how that's sexist or whatever but this is exactly why they exist."

One woman, posting as Poverload237 offered up a scathing assessment of the man's actions. "Not only did you give advice that was not wanted... you decided to insult her while you were at it," she wrote. "The whole thing comes off as: 'The little girl doesn't know what's best for her but me, a big strong MAN, does! She couldn't possibly be happy with what she's doing so I must rescue her!'"

She went on to brand his approach "creepy and pretentious" adding: "Leave women alone and try sticking to your own form in the future."

Elsewhere, FinalToe-8403 noted: "He claims he ain't a stalker but...all I know is when I'm in the gym I'm typically too busy with my own stuff and definitely don't take the time to keep track of random people's workout in such detail."

When it comes to exercise, a major disparity remains in the number of men working out compared to women. A 2018 issue of the National Health Statistics Reports concluded that on average 18.7 percent of women across the U.S. were meeting the guidelines for the amount of aerobic and muscle-strengthening fitness activity undertaken. The national average among men, by contrast, was 27.2 percent.

While the reasons behind this disparity are complex, plenty of incidents have surfaced on social media portraying gyms as intimidating male-dominated spaces where women are made to feel uncomfortable.

In December last year, fitness influencer Anna Archer went viral on TikTok after confronting a man who invaded her personal space during her gym workout. In October of the same year, another woman, Chelsie Gleason, shared footage of her uncomfortable encounter with a man in a gym who interrupted her workout by trying to speak to her and, at one point, even leaned into her face.

Newsweek has contacted Budget_Ingenuity6404 for comment.