Gym Etiquette

I am well aware that there are plenty of gym etiquette blog posts, YouTube videos, and Facebook statuses to last a lifetime. With the fixation on losing weight and getting in shape, a plethora of people visit (or at least try to visit) the gym a few times a week. Most come alone, with the exception of their mP3 player. Others come with buddies to give them motivation and spot them as they use free weights.

As with any public place, there are rules everyone should abide. Along with the written rules (for example, signs, posters, laws, etc.) there are plenty of unwritten “rules” that are broken every day at the gym. So here are my top 3 rules that are broken ALL the time.

1. Wipe off the machine. Now, each machine usually has a sign on it asking you to do this. In my opinion, the sign is meant to be read in a pretty friendly manner. It’s as if someone is saying, “Hey there, I’d greatly appreciate it if you would clean the machine after you use it. Not only is it sanitary for the next person, but it also maintains the quality of the machines. Thanks again, and have a great day.” Then I picture him or her smiling, maybe even winking.Why wouldn’t you want to make this person happy? I mean, they asked quite politely, with no hint of rudeness or sarcasm; they’re just looking out for the other gym members, and keeping quality of the machines only benefits you as a user.

However, we all know the reality is that not everyone follows these rules. I have seen way too many sweaty people use a machine extensively and then just walk away without ever giving the paper towels and spray bottle a second glance. So to these people, I think the sign is actually yelling, “Hey you! Clean off the machine after you plunked down your smelly, sweaty rear on the seat! No one wants your disgusting sweat everywhere. Don’t forget the handles too. Jerk.” Now this guy/gal is pissed. He/she is pointing fingers, turning red, and maybe even spitting when they’re yelling. I imagine super angry people are always spitting when they talk.

Ugh, people. And these people are usually the sweatiest of all. So not only do I clean after myself, but I also end up cleaning before I even use it because I saw them leave the machine without sanitizing it. And, okay, I realize that these sprays are not an end-all-be-all for killing germs, but it definitely helps. All I’m asking (very nicely, mind you) is to clean off the machine after you use it so that I don’t have to do double duty.

2.  Wait your turn. The other day, I was on the chest fly/rear fly machine, just finishing my first set of each, when this guy came and just kind of stood near me. I just figured he was taking a breather, or thinking, or something. But then, he stayed there. And then he came closer. He asked me a question, but I had my headphones in, seeing as no one really converses while working out. He repeated himself. “How many more sets do you have to do?” Ugh. “2 on each side,” I replied. He looked kind of lost before walking away.

It doesn’t stop there! He then came back and asked the girl at the machine beside me the same thing. She said she still had more to go as well. Really? You honestly couldn’t find another machine to use for the next 3 minutes? There are so many other machines you could use! Or just go get a drink of water and chill out for a couple more minutes! I’m just happy he didn’t come and stand by us, waiting for us to finish. I probably would have done 6 sets on each side instead of 3.

3.  Personal space. Another time that I’ve noticed people being impatient is on the track. Our track at Columbia is indoors and one lap is only 1 km long, so space is kind of limited. However, there are 3 lanes (dedicated for walking, jogging, and running), so passing slower people is not difficult.

So then why is it that some people feel the need to pass you with just enough space between you so that your arm hairs almost touch? I’m walking…in the walking lane. You are jogging or running. Go around me, use your five senses (seeing as you lack the sixth one: common sense), and give both of us our personal space.

There is plenty more that I could say about this topic, but for now we’ll stick with these three. Also, I would disregard all rules if this guy was the perpetrator…

Until then, what is a pet peeve (ha, pet peeve. ^  Get it?) of yours at the gym or any other public place?

Go ahead, leave me a comment!