Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I usually don’t attend the gym much anymore because I work out from home doing bodyweight strength training. However, when I did hit the gym, there were plenty of fitness fails to go around. Definite gym laws need to be mandated. From time to time and in certain circumstances, they may not apply, but in general, here are 10 rules that it wouldn’t hurt you to follow.
1. Rerack the weights. It’s awesome that you can deadlift 620 lbs without hemorrhaging, but remove the plates you layered on after you’ve left the station. Even if the next guy can throw up that much weight, he probably doesn’t want to spend the next 10 minutes unloading the full barbell he didn’t use just to do wrist curls. A general rule of leaving one 45 lb plate on each side of a standard barbell is also considered an acceptable practice.
2. No yelling like a savage. If you have to grunt a bit for the last few reps of your last set, or you’re going berserk lifting your one rep max, feel free to get a bit loud. Otherwise, the battle cries are unnecessary. You’re not in an Olympic weightlifting competition or fighting for Sparta. Besides, you should be using that oxygen you’re screaming with to breathe.
3. No staring at other dudes. You should actually never make prolonged eye contact with a dude in the gym. If you want to find out about his workout, go over and ask him about it (briefly or in the locker room). The only exceptions to this should obviously be during a competition or during an unusual and impressive feat. If you want to gawk, go work out at Curves.
4. Wipe down bench sweat. A good rule of thumb is to either lie a towel down on benches or the seats of machines, or give them a quick wipe down with a paper towel (which gyms usually provide) afterward. It’s not the next guys’ job to put up with the ‘oasis’ of taint sweat you left on the leg extension machine. The other equipment like barbells, dumbbells and such don’t usually require this treatment since you’re only touching handles, but stay within reason.
5. No full-fledged conversations. Feel free to say a quick ‘what’s up?’ in the gym, but leave it at that. If you really want to talk to me, hit me up after we’re done working out. This especially applies to running. If someone’s wearing headphones on a treadmill, they don’t want to talk to you. If you can hold a casual conversation, you’re not running fast enough. Talking with a lifting comrade between sets with ample rest times however is allowed, as long as it does not detract from the workout. Accepting non-emergency phone calls and texting are also forbidden.
6. No short shorts. Unless of course you’re a female, in which case, the shorter the better. For men on the other hand, even if you’re a marathon runner, there’s really no reason to see upper thigh. It’s not a good look.
7. Wear a towel in the locker room. As men, there’s no reason to be homophobic. People are showering and getting dressed. That’s what people do after they work out. On the other hand, there should never be a moment where you’re walking around, chatting it up with no towel around your waist. What is the purpose of having a towel if you’re just going to Huckleberry Finn it over your shoulder and air out your McBalls at face level of the men seated around you? No bueno.
8. The weight rack is numbered for a reason. Nothing is worst than reaching for a 45 lb plate and realizing there are nothing but ‘10s’ in its stead. This also applies to the dumbbell rack. Don’t be lazy. Working out while being lazy is an oxymoron.
9. Use discretion. If you absolutely must look at the hot girl in the gym (and I know, you must), be discreet and use the angled mirror. Like law #3, there’s no reason to make people feel uncomfortable while they’re exercising. You should be focused on working out anyway, because she’s more likely to go out with you if you have a six pack.
10. If you have more than an 8oz bottle of water, don’t fill it all up at once. This is not the Book of Eli. You’re not going on a biblical journey that requires you to refill a five gallon drum. If you do need to refill, allow people to pass you in line. It’s only courteous.
...and so it is said, and so it shall be...
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