Pump Iron, Break a Sweat, and Mind your Manners!
If you go to the gym regularly, you are to be commended. You are taking responsibility for your body, and creating habits that will benefit your future health. That said, this article is out to expose the darker side of gym society: Bad Gymnasium Etiquette. You might know all about this already. If you don't, consider whether any of it sounds familiar. Most gym regulars know and follow the expected behavior code when working out. These general courtesies include things like:
- Using good hygiene, on and off the equipment
- Waiting your turn and not monopolizing areas or equipment
- Observing the rules of personal space
- Maintaining appropriate volumes of talking, singing, and grunting
Simple, right? Not for everyone. A recent article on msn.com featured interviews with several gym associates and patrons, where they outed the folks that have come to be known as gym hogs, divas, chatty-Cathies, and stalkers, just to name a few. These people had stories about everything from exercise class catfights to personal routines that resembled other "adult activities." The following is an excerpt from an interview with a Canadian man, recalling a former fellow gym patron: "His routine focused on pelvic thrusts. He would do them standing up, lying on his back, on his side, and yes ... he'd lie on his stomach and do pelvic thrusts. He'd do them with weights, on benches and on the sit-up mats, all the while not even showing any sign that what he was doing may look a little odd. To top it all off, he would always wear tights." In the interest of thorough information, and just in case you're wondering what might irk people the most, here is the list of gymnasium don'ts:
- Don't be late for a class. If you are, enter as discreetly as possible.
- Don't dress inappropriately. Fishnets and short shorts are better left at home.
- Don't make an audible showing of talking, singing, or hefting weights.
- Don't underestimate the beauty of headphones.
- Don't give off extreme smells. Too much sweat or perfume is never good.
- Don't leave weights or other equipment in walkways. Just put them away.
- Don't leave any bodily fluids or cells on equipment.
- Don't allow children to run around or yell.
- Don't fight with other patrons. Save it for the workout.
- Don't assume the locker room is just like your bathroom at home. It is public.
- Don't hog equipment or cut in line.
- Don't follow other patrons around, trying to make friends. It could be their "alone" time.
When polite appeal does not work on gym disrupters, get creative. One Arizona instructor revealed his secret: "In what he's dubbed 'flipping the bird,' he throws a stuffed bird at offenders, a sign that they have to go to the corner and do the day's punishment - such as 30 push-ups or 20 mountain climbers." Whatever you do, remember that most people at the gym are just looking to get a little exercise, and keeping the peace is in everybody's best interest. Nobody's healthy workout should take a backseat to a fitness alter-ego.