Gym bro 1: Hey, bro, you want to try my effective 2 RIR push day that I use as Push A on my current mesocycle?
Gym bro 2: Brah, just lift heavy circles. Eat big, get big, brah!
Gym bro 1: Bro, since it sounds like you dirty bulk, you really should calculate your basal metabolic rate. That will ensure you are eating optimally for muscle growth, bro.
Gym bro 2: Brah, you aren’t even aesthetic! I’ve seen you mirin’ me, brah!
Gym bro 1: Bro, all you do is ego lift, bro.
Gym bro 2: Brah, I’m just trying to become a Greek g—
Gym bro 3: Grab your forbidden pre, boys! We go jim!
Gym bro 1 and 2: We go jim!
By now, you are probably confused, wondering what Neanderthalic nonsense you just read. Let me introduce you to gym culture. If you are a male, if you consistently workout in a gym, you are a gym bro. If you are a female, if you consistently workout in a gym, then you are a gym girl. It is that simple to be a part of the community. This informal association of people from the ages roughly between 15 and 28 interacts primarily through social media. TikTok, Instagram, YouTube are the sites where fitfluencers, or fitness influencers, post content: daily vlogs, workout guides, meal prep ideas or anything gym related. Think of fitfluencers as the leaders of the gym community. Hundreds of thousands of people consume their content, and in many cases, gym-goers idolize these fitfluencers. “Idolize” is to be understood in the sense of basing a large proportion of one’s personality on the content or ideas produced by the community. To harken back to the initial dialogue, the obscure gym bro slang is a product of fitfluencers, past and current.
Beginning in the late 2000s with Aziz Shavershian, more commonly known as “Zyzz,” the gym community was created by young muscular men who essentially posted videos of themselves flexing on YouTube. Since then, more and more similar content has been produced.
From the way I have explained its origin, you might think of gym culture as bizarre, off-putting and cringey. However, I will say that this culture has developed into something more meaningful than half-naked men flexing in a maenadic frenzy. The most impactful quality of gym bro culture is its ability to simultaneously welcome and encourage young people. The culture extends a warm welcome to those just starting in the gym by offering educational resources via social media about the basics with respect to tips on form, workout plans and dieting. Members of this community invariably want to see their peers, who might be on the fringe about getting started working out, become their best selves. This is due to the perhaps overused cliche: everyone starts somewhere. But yes, even the most elite athletes or experts in anything had humble beginnings. Just taking the leap to start working out is itself an achievement, and it is an achievement that every gym goer wants for potential gym bros and girls. Overall, the gym culture ought not be reduced to the sarcastic inside jokes or its questionable origins but rather defined by its accepting, welcoming community.
Take the titular phrase: “We go jim.” Note the lack of preposition and the misspelling of “gym.” This is quite a common phrase on gym bro social media. At face value, the joke lies in the implication of a gym bro’s inability to think or speak rationally; however, I think of “we go jim” as a dictum in the gym bro language. The curt vocabulary expresses how deciding to go workout ought not be complicated by one’s excuses or laziness — those do not matter. It is a simple affirmation that one will go to the gym no matter what.
There is a similar theme with “lift heavy circles” and “eat big, get big.” These are syncopations of elaborate explanations of the benefits of compound exercises and calorie surpluses, respectively. But there is common thread of a mentality defined by simplicity, which is beneficial not only for one’s fitness goals but also any goal. Life is already complicated; do not make it more complicated by personal complications, excuses, laziness and everything in between. Thinking of one’s goals in a machine-like manner, a binary code perhaps, is an incredibly empowering mentality. Will I go to the gym today? Yes or no? Will I study for my chemistry midterm? Yes or no? It liberates one from “going through the motion” in life.
And so, it is apparent that there is more to working out than just physical training. When one consistently trains the body, he or she is also training the mind to adopt discipline and determination. There will invariably be a bleeding-over effect into other parts on one’s life. Take the Latin adage: mens sana in corpore sano. A healthy mind in a healthy body.
As a gym bro myself, I attest that these benefits are truthful. I started working out only four years ago. I had no prior knowledge of dieting or proper lifting form: I could not even do 10 pushups. So, I took the initiative by educating myself through YouTube videos. I learned. I became stronger. I looked better. I felt better. Fast forward to now, when my Instagram feed is populated by scantily clad muscular men, and I have a severe caffeine addiction. Funny how that turned out.
Jonah Tran is a first-year at Notre Dame double majoring in Finance and Economics and minoring in Classics. Although fully embracing the notorious title of a “Menbroza,” he prides himself on being an Educated Young Southern Gentleman. You can contact Jonah by email at email@example.com
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.