I know I’m not the only one struggling with the influx of inexperienced gym-goers that occurs predictably each year after everyone has made their resolutions (and like the waning tide, retreats around 8 weeks later). Many people are self-conscious about how they’ll be perceived, whether they’ll look like they’re inexperienced or not. The truth is, though, that the easiest way to be spotted is by having poor gym etiquette.
Usually, I don’t make a stink about it, but this week I encountered something I haven’t seen before (and further, indicated a lack of manners, not just gym etiquette): in a stroke of genius, one man discovered the way to maximize his workout efficiency was to occupy BOTH of the gym’s two squat racks simultaneously (at 5:30PM, arguably the most congested time of the day). Now, purists will tell you that squat racks are sacred ground, and that one should never do an inferior exercise like curls in a squat rack – this alone is enough to make a meathead’s blood boil. This man, however, was occupying 100% of the gym’s squat racks (okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but I know I wasn’t the only one waiting). Perhaps someone should direct him to my previous New Year’s resolution solution.
Second place was a tie between the guy who took the weights directly from my bar instead of one of the nearby weight racks, and the girl who filled her 1L bottle at the water fountain as a line began to snake all the way to the treadmills. Nice.
So that this post isn’t wasted entirely on negativity, here are some actual tips on gym etiquette –
- Rack (return) your weights
- Mind your body odor
- Share the equipment (offer to “work-in” with someone) – the gym is a community
- Wipe your bench down
- Dress appropriately
- Respect the personal space of others
- Offer to spot someone who looks like they need it
- ASK for a spot when you need it
- Read the NYTimes while occupying anything other than cardio equipment
- Ditto for cell phone use
- Balance your Starbucks Mochafrappalatte on any piece of machinery
- Admire yourself in the mirror
- Talk to someone during a set
- Grunt, scream, or yell
- Continue to fill your water bottle if a line forms
- Bathe in perfume or aftershave
- Throw dumbbells (or anything else)
Seriously, though – congratulations if you’ve recently invested in a gym membership. See you out there.