Are “Gymcels” Ruining Gym Culture?

Image Courtesy of Instagram (@shizzylifts)

Cringey Tik Tok trend? Or inspiration to get up and exercise?

We have all seen the edits on TikTok, Instagram Reels, and other social media platforms that consist of videos of muscular men, such as Mr. Olympia winners like Dorian Yates and Arnold Schwarzengger hitting some posing with inspirational music or quotes playing in the background. A popular resource for these videos is the Makaveli Motivation on Instagram. However, now there is a newer trend on Tik Tok that has a lot of people looking down on the gym culture, and that is the “psychopathic Winter Arc” stuff, that has taken over Tik Tok and other social media platforms, and many are cringing and refraining from going to the gym as a result of it.

This may all sound foreign to some, but let’s break down this trend and what exactly a gymcel is.

What is a Gymcel?

@noah_bermudez3 like bro cmon ???? #gymtok #fitness #bodybuilding #gym #fitnessindustry #fitnessinfluencer #fitnessinfluencers #samsulek #fyp ♬ Lady – Hear Me Tonight – Modjo

 Now, Tik Tok is a great platform to find gym content, and influencers like Sam Sulek, the Tren Twins, and Alex Eubank have gained a lot of popularity from it, which we are more than grateful for, as these guys are pretty transparent and straightforward with their content, inspiring a lot of newer generations. These days though, there has been a rise in “gymcel” behavior, which has caused many to look down on the fitness industry.

According to Urban Dictionary: “The phrase gymcel is typically associated with a male who takes the gym way too seriously and normally has nothing to show for it.” While it may be a bit harsh, it is hard to disagree with. 

“Gymcel” is a play on the term “incel”. It is to the younger generations of the fitness industry (typically men aged 17-23) as what “meathead” used to be to some of the older generations of bodybuilders. Those who did not understand the idea of building a better physique often labeled bodybuilders as “meatheads”, meaning they were dull and only cared about the gym. The newer term “gymcel” is similar to that, as this is a term typically used to describe the newer age of lifters who make the gym their entire personality, meaning they only talk about the gym, spend hours a day in the gym, don’t talk to women, and their lifestyle is entirely catered to the gym. There is not enough pre-workout in the world to fuel the antics of these guys.

While there is nothing wrong with going to the gym, the image of gymcels is causing a lot of people to group the masses of gym goers into this behavior, and it has a very negative connotation due to the content that is being released and is deemed cringeworthy by many. Gymcels do not think of anyone but themselves, and the men they idolize which are often fictional anime characters and Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. While they train to look better in hopes of attracting women, there are countless memes made by gymcels on why talking to women is bad.

Tik Tok Trends

Image Courtesy of Youtube (@Big Crag)

There are plenty of “gymcel” Tik Tok trends out there, such as the “sigma male” edits which consist of montages of quotes on heartbreak, fat shaming, shaming women, screaming ‘we go Jim’, videos Patrick Bateman smiling combined and men posing, and to top it all off the people making these edits drown them in the deep fried filter before posting. Not to mention, the hardstyle music that is put on full volume to bring these videos together.

Now there is a trend of wearing a Halloween mask while flexing in the darkest lighting possible while still being slightly visible, and running their thumb across their necks like a blade. This has grown increasingly popular after the influencer named “Shizzy” started doing it, but a lot of people find this to be incredibly uncomfortable.

You also see gymcels making fun of others for performing exercises wrong, being fat, walking in front of their cameras, or maybe doing movements that you do not see often. Joey Swoll has addressed instances like these on several occasions, and rightfully so, as many people are afraid to step foot in a gym due to videos like that going viral.

This is why influencers like Sam Sulek and Chris Bumstead have become favorites of gym lovers, as their content is just straightforward, basic fitness content that a majority of people can relate to. Guys like this are the epitome of humbleness, while gymcel behavior demonstrates more cockiness and vanity, and is a huge turn off for those who are considering going to the gym

Don’t be Discouraged by Gymcels

Image courtesy of Instagram (@shizzylifts)

While gymcel behavior has a fairly negative connotation, do not be discouraged from attending the gym. The gym also does not need to be your entire personality, as even the top competitors in the world still enjoy going out to eat, spending time outside of the gym, even cheating on their diets here and there. 

On the other hand, if you are a gymcel, there is no need to stop doing what you love, but be mindful of others in the gym that may not want to be caught in the background of your videos. Or that just don’t want to see you posing in a Halloween mask with the lights dimmed down all the way. Ask yourself, is this the kind of content you want your future boss to see?

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that training in the gym is something everyone should be able to enjoy without the fear of being judged or made fun of. “Gym culture” is based around people bettering themselves, and others supporting that process. Take a look back at the film Pumping Iron and watch how the gym goers interacted back then.

Regardless of if you are training to be the next Mr. Olympia, a marathon runner, powerlifter, or you just like to be in shape. There should be no negative connotations surrounding gym goers, yet there is a lot of negativity with a rise in “gymcel” behavior. 

What are your thoughts on the topic?

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Dylan Wolf
I work mainly in content writing, focusing my free time on bodybuilding and strength sports. I was introduced to fitness in high school and after watching Generation Iron movies. I love to train. I have competed multiple times, even winning a junior title in classic physique. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice and business obtained through Alvernia University. When I am not focused on work or training, I enjoy watching films or reading about anything and everything.