Friday, January 7, 2011

Gym Etiquette... how to NOT be a rude freak of nature at a fitness center

Dear 2011 Resolutionists,

Congratulations on resolving to lose weight and workout this year. Seriously, that’s awesome and I wish you success. And while I admit I have complained in the past about the way you clog up my machines with your listless attempts and by January 31 you’re back in the couch eating your Fritos- and I’m annoyed I haven’t been able to secure a treadmill the last two days and like Forrest Gump I’ve just felt like running- overall, you won’t catch me giving you dirty looks and bitching about you. After all, you have as much right to be there as I do… and when you commit to a year at the gym, you help keep my membership costs down. So thank you.

That being said, we need to get a few things straight. It’s nothing personal, promise. There are some gym sins I’ve seen that are just not acceptable in our society. Newbies, you’re not the only ones who do this stuff, but I’m picking on you today so you don’t become the people who have worked out for 20 years and still do these things. Perhaps if I educate you now, you’ll change your ways early and eventually good gym manners will be standard practice. And then I’ll have created an entire generation of polite people. You can thank me later.

1) If you’re sick, please, please don’t come to the gym. I know a lot of colds and death flues are going around during the holiday season. I fell victim to a terrible cold on Christmas Day myself. It was a bummer. Guess what I did? Stayed home and sat on my butt for five days. Yes, I gained weight. Now I’ll lose it. That’s what a gym membership is for! I know a good sweat session helps rid your body of what’s plaguing it. I’m not entirely heartless. If you must workout when you’re not 100% healthy yet, at least refrain from blowing your nose while you’re on an elliptical machine. And ALWAYS refrain from blowing it into the effing sweat towel you are provided with! Yeah, I’m looking at you, shorts-and-a-hoodie douche from the gym today. That was not OK.

2) If you’re a “Here I am in all my glory, walking around naked and changing flamboyantly” type of gal, power to you. I’m the one changing in the corner with my back to you and a beach towel wrapped firmly around me as a shield because I am aware no one looks flattering in that lighting. If you choose not to do the same, I respect that and I’ll never judge you. But please don’t glare at me when I turn the corner and get a brief surprised look on my face. I don’t see 88-year-old breasts or 300 pound women every day. I’m sorry, OK? Feel free to do the same to me when I emerge from the steam room looking like Courtney Love after a particularly heinous bender.

3) And while we’re on the subject:  ladies, for heaven’s sake. It is NOT, under ANY circumstances, appropriate or acceptable to use the steam room or sauna nude without a towel! Are you kidding me? Did you parents never teach you about cooties? I could elaborate, but I won’t. Just don’t do it. Cover your bits for the sake of humanity. Please.

4) I hate to nitpick, but let’s not slam the weights, OK? I know sometimes things happen that are beyond our control, we lose our grip, we’re stronger than we realize and things get away from us. But if you’re doing a set of 20 reps, you should have it figured out by the third rep. If at rep 20 you still slam the weights, you need to exercise your mind as well as your biceps. Shorts-and-a-hoodie guy, I’m talking to you…again.

5) If you sweat on it, wipe it off.

6) The fracking Food Network on TV all the time! Seriously? If you’re not going to take this seriously, don’t bother.

7) Please note the sign outside the locker room that says “No children of the opposite sex allowed.” Now, I’m not heartless. If your little boy is two, it’s not a big deal and he needs help getting out of his pool arm floaties. If he’s old enough to peer at me curiously and grin while I’m changing, he’s old enough to know better and also scarred for life. Way to go. If he’s in grade school, he probably shouldn’t be in the women’s locker room for everyone’s sake.

8) Last but not least, don’t worry about me and the other grumpy insufferable A-holes that just want to do our cardio and get out of there. We likely haven’t had donuts in years and are just used to things being a certain way. We are not glaring at you because you’re fat. In fact, those of us with souls are thrilled you’re there and want to make changes. Just clean up the remaining sweat after you make the changes and you’ll be fine.


A gym rat


JD said...

Hey Jess, thanks for reminding me of a few key reasons why I'd hate working out in a gym! Thank God I've got some willpower to get off the couch, slap on a DVD and move my cottage cheese ass every other day.
Hope you're feeling all better now.

writercafe/momany said...

Our gym is bursting with new recruits as many are this time of year. I am amazed how so many women just whip off the clothes and change right there for all to see. I don't want to see it! LOL Our gym doesn't allow any kids under 14 so that part is covered.
Our problem is that the gym membership is $10 a month and they just keep signing up new members but not increasing the size of the gym so it's ALWAYS so crowded.
Hope the sneazers and hackers stay home and take some wipes with ya so you stay healthy girl! Love ya!

Anonymous said...

Hilarious! I hope no one is venting about my gym etiquette ;) However that would require me to go to the gym! And as for grade-school boys in the ladies locker room-- tell 'em off! (As in the parents)

Laurie Boris said...

Hah! I love it! Great post, Jess. Those are most of my peeves with gym peeps, too. And another...for the love of all that is sanitary and holy, DON'T shave your legs in the steamroom. Ick. Also, someone once colored her hair using a home-kit (yes, that's supposed to be HOME) and rinsed off in the shower, staining the curtain that the custodian had just installed. Who raises these people??

M&M said...

LOVE the post, Jess! I found myself agreeing (and may I add laughing out loud) to every situation you described. People are outrageous. At the gym last week the large man next to me on the stairmaster was sweating onto MY machine...gross!! That should be an indicator to STOP haha Great writing, thanks for the laugh!

Carm said...

Oh Jess, this is soooo effing hilarious. AND SPOT ON! Not that I've set foot in a gym more than a dozen times or anything...but GOD BLESS YOU!

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