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Proper Gym Etiquette

Proper Gym Etiquette




Not that you can really tell, but I spend a fair amount of my laid off time in the gym.  My local NYSC is filled with former Wall Street types (not to mention Chelsea boys competing to see who can wear the smallest pair of shorts – and yes I realize these groups are not mutually exclusive).  As I’ve learned, the internet is a powerful forum to show people what mistakes they are frequently making and how to correct those mistakes.  These mistakes are generally due to a fault in either one’s self awareness, common sense or both.  I’ve come to the conclusion that, in general, most people are largely devoid of either trait – necessitating laying their shortcomings out very explicitly.  

So, lacking the ability to figure shit out on their own, I will continue to offer my helpful hints.  You, my collective readership, are most likely aware that you shouldn’t lather yourself in Old Spice before heading to the gym.  But feel free to forward to your moron acquaintances who aren’t.  


10 Common Sense Rules for the Gym That are Frequently Broken by Mouth Breathing Tards


1.  Don’t douse yourself in a cheap (or expensive, for that matter) eau de toilette and then hop on a treadmill right next to someone going through a grueling workout.  When someone’s gasping for air, Aramis takes up 7x the lung capacity of oxygen.  That’s just science.  


2.  If there are several empty treadmills to choose from, don’t grab one right next to someone who’s already going.  It’s not like cycling, there’s no drafting.  And don’t do it so you can watch two TVs instead of one – that’s like reading over someone’s shoulder and is annoying as hell.

Last week, some awesome fellow went for the daily double (violating rules #1 and #2) – I was actually tempted to say something to him, but he looked a little too much like the lead singer from Midnight Oil.  There was at least a 5% chance of violence, and he was under 75 years of age, so I ran without demur.


3.  Have a little common decency in the locker room.  Granted, I live in a community where the NYSC locker room is basically Studio 54 in the late 70s.  But seriously – do you really need to walk around and weigh yourself naked?  I’m pretty sure those 7 threadcount towels at NYSC aren’t going to have a major impact on your weigh-in.  Even though I have a pretty strict eyes-to-the-ceiling-change-my-shirt-only locker room policy, I still see way too much dong on a daily basis.  I’m Malin Akerman in that scene with ten naked Dr. Manhattans.

And for that matter, let’s show a little modesty in the gym attire, period.  If you are basically wearing tighty-whities on the elliptical machine, why don’t you just move on down the road to Rawhides?  Perhaps I can help draft a policy for NYSC employees to follow (“No visible mushroom caps or well-defined camel toes allowed.”)  Maybe I’ll work on it.


4.  Don’t walk at 2.0 mph with no incline when there are people waiting for the treadmills.  Unless maybe you are recovering from a major illness or you weigh 723 lbs and are trying to get down to levels where you can submit your application video to The Biggest Loser.  It’s pretty clear that most people doing this are just too cheap for cable and end up “working out” so that they can stay somewhat TV-current.  Get a DVR, you Philistines!



This Utopian place is definitely not a NYSC
This Utopian place is definitely not a NYSC. No daisy dukes.



5.  When refilling your Big Gulp-sized water bottle, step aside for folks who are just getting a quick drink.  Common decency prevails again.  See, it takes like 45 seconds to fill a water bottle, but only like three seconds to get a drink.  So you save people from waiting and watching you fill up, and it only costs you like 7 seconds.  

Aside: At the water fountain, make sure to give a few seconds of lag between taking that drink after the person in front of you leaves – lest you get a big mouthful of their (presumably disgusting) breath.  This is similar to unwittingly hitting a urinal too quickly and getting a great whiff of the previous inhabitant’s urine (I call this phenomenon “uroma” but haven’t settled on the best description for drinking someone’s bad breath).

6.  Rack your weights, but use common sense.  Everyone knows you are supposed to return plates and dumbbells to their respective racks after use, it’s pretty well explained on signs in every single gym ever.  There are some exceptions, such as leaving two 45 lb plates on the bench when finished – most everyone at least warms up with 135 lbs (or more) so this is basically the baseline and saves from lugging more plates around than necessary.  Same can be said of T-Bar and some others.  Just make sure it’s a 45 lber on each side – not a 25, a ten, a five, and 2 2.5 lbers.  


7.  Be tolerant of the excessive sweaters.  I don’t say this just because I look indistinguishable from someone who’s been thrown in a swimming pool after a three mile run; there is some inherent risk to even going to the gym (I’m pretty sure you disavowed all your rights when you signed that waiver card upon joining).  Is getting a little collateral sweat damage really all that bad?  I’m sure the fat, sweaty person isn’t really striving to soak 1/3 of your ‘mill.  As long as they are conscientious about wiping down their crime scene, let them (us) be.


8.  Turn off your cellphone.  Why does this bother me?  I’m not really sure, except: 1) there are signs specifically saying don’t do it, and 2) it’s fucking annoying listening to people discussing their inane plans for the evening.  Why must people talk on cell phones at all?  Can’t one just as easily text the agenda for the evening?

To Larry: dinner + drnks?

From Larry: ok

This seems much more efficient to me than a ten minute discussion of your day, etc?  What will you talk about at dinner if you blow that stuff out now?  Goals and aspirations?  The way your faith has positively impacted your life?  Sports?  Linday Lohan?


This is the warm up
Always warm up with lighter weights



9.  Calm down with the grunting/screaming.  This is a tough one for me, as I have been known to grunt and/or breath theatrically and loudly in certain situations.  I think this is fine in limited quantities.  But we all know the guys who get a little too wound up on Megadeth and scream and yell like an aspiring Vin Diesel.  Actually, he’s pretty laconic….hmm…you get the idea, though.  Chill out a little.  Keep it under control.  Not a life or death situation.  No need to throw the weights around when finished, either.  Buy a little larger size Under Armour gear and relax.  (Although, honestly, there isn’t that much of this at my current gym – for the most part people there are more into armoires than Under Armour)


10.  Don’t stomp on the treadmills.   There’s a reason why 35% of the treadmills in every gym in the world are broken: misuse.  Or else they are just really put together poorly.  I don’t know for certain, but I’m betting on the former.  My pet theory is that stompers are the cause.   You know the type – they set the speed like 2.0 mph higher than they can actually run, and jump on and off every 15 seconds.   While they are on the treadmill they are stomping harder than the Strikers All-Stars (off topic: Lil Mama is only 19????).  This cannot be good for the machine and is an annoyance to listen to.  I understand running intervals – if that’s the case so be it.  But you stompers know the real story – those aren’t intervals, are they?



What did I leave out?  This sickness has knocked me off my game.  Any gym rats have anything to add?