Workout Decorum

Week Eleven! I am thinking of sending Jamie Eason a thank-you note. After the grueling, 2+ hour workouts featured in Weeks Nine & Ten, this week is looking to be almost relaxing. Today, I ran through the leg circuit four times and I was finished in about an hour.

After spending large amounts of time at the gym recently, I have noticed people doing some things that range from slightly strange to downright rude and I need to vent about them. The following is a list of things I suggest not to do when you are in a shared gym space.

1. Talk on your cell phone. There are a couple of things that are distracting for other people when you talk on your phone while at the gym; the most important being that it is hard to concentrate on what you are doing when you are worriedly watching someone else for fear they will lose focus and fall on the treadmill as they try to multi task with a phone (I’m not making this up, there is a person who regularly has a gossip-fest while on the treadmill at my gym!). There are so many other things wrong with being on your cell phone while working out, for instance, if you have enough breath to carry on a conversation, you probably aren’t working hard enough. And, seriously, if you can’t stay away from your cell phone for the amount of time it takes to work out, maybe the gym is not the place for you at that moment.

2. Hoard equipment. We’ve all been there: in the middle of a superset, you need ten lb weights for one exercise and twenty lbs for the other when suddenly the twenties become to heavy and you race over to grab the fifteens to finish your sets, and, before you realize what is happening, the ground at your feet is littered with dumbbells and you look over to see some poor girl trying to hammer curl with sixty lbs because that is the lightest weight left on the rack. These things happen and can easily be remedied with an apology and by trying to keep an eye out for someone staring wistfully at the weights you are not using and offering them to that person. Intentionally hoarding equipment, however, is inexcusable. If you are the person who walks into the gym, claims a weight bench, grabs three sets of dumbbells and the only EZ grip barbell, plunks them next the the bench and then goes off to do thirty minutes of cardio, please stop. Equipment hoarding is number one on my list of gym indiscretions. If you are going to use the weights, use them, if not, leave them be until you are ready for them. You may have to lift a little lighter than you wanted or do your workout in a different order than you had planned, but life is about compromises, and if you can’t handle that, then you should buy your own weights.

3. Reveal your boobs. Sports bras are full coverage for a reason. Please do not alter your sports bra by cutting a ‘V’ in the front of it to accentuate your cleavage. You are (presumably) here to workout, not star in a Ke$ha music video. All jokes aside, respect yourselves ladies and keep your mind focused on becoming fit and healthy; that will attract the attention of the cute guy on the stationary bike next to you in a better way than your cleavage will.

4. Make excessive noise. You are lifting weights, not giving birth. Guys, you are the biggest offenders here. I get it, you are super strong and lifting twice my body weight; grunting, huffing, and puffing are fine, but primal animal screams? Please refrain.

5. Pollute the air. Perfume and Axe body spray should be left for after the gym. It’s ok to smell like sweat while working out, actually, I think thats the goal most of us have. Breathing in chemical scents is hard on your respiratory system, even harder if you are already taxing your airways by running. There are many people who have allergies to perfumes/colognes, and when you are in a closed, warm space, smells are hard to get away from.

6. Not pick up after yourself. Is someone using the Smith Machine or not? I’m not sure, there is 100 lbs of weight on each side, but it has been vacant for the last fifteen minutes… Nobody wants to be the jerk that takes off all your weight plates and ‘steals’ your machine while you are at the water fountain, just as nobody wants to waste time trying to figure out if a machine is open or still in use. An easy solution to that would be to put your plates away when you are finished with the machine. Not only is it a clear ‘I’m free and ready to go’ sign to everyone else who might want to use that equipment, but then the person who only wants to squat thirty lbs doesn’t have to spend all day taking off the 300 lbs you were using.

I hope this list doesn’t sound persnickety and preachy, and I realize it might. My point is merely that the gym is a shared space and not a person’s private venue for doing whatever he/she wants. We have to remember that while we are maybe running late and trying to fit in a workout before going to work, chances are we are not the only ones. It is important to be thoughtful about the needs of others; yes, maybe you got to the leg press machine first, but why not let someone else jump in and do a set while you are resting? Sharing is important, and, who knows, you may make a new friend?


2 thoughts on “Workout Decorum

  1. Amen to all of those, but particularly the cleavage and the cologne/perfume. I don’t know if you have an indoor track at your gym, but I would add “Don’t have a four-abreast gossip fest on the track while everybody else I just trying to run.”

  2. Yes! I would discourage attending the gym in groups totally, but I know some people find the buddy system easier. We should all try to remember that other people are trying to do other things around us and we should not make our time take precedence over theirs.

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