Saturday, July 7, 2007

Gym "Sweat-iquette"

Once upon a time Mommy taught us "please" and "thank you" and "I'm sorry" and "look both ways" and "take turns" and "share!" and all those good things that would serve us well in life. Too bad many of us forgot those lessons a long time ago. So for some of you, here's a refresher course in basic etiquette--specifically for all my fellow gym rats...

1. Do not smell gross and sweaty BEFORE working out.

I know for many people it may seem counterintuitive to come to the gym smelling clean and looking somewhat presentable--after all you're just gonna sweat from working out, right? But for those of us who have to work out NEXT to you, please don't reek like some long dead piece of roadkill. Have you ever tried doing an hour of cardio while HOLDING YOUR BREATH? It's not fun. Take a shower, use deodorant, brush your teeth (and your hair for god's sake!) and THEN come to the gym. Your fellow gym rats' olfactory systems will be grateful.

2. Cover up!

There's good naked and then there's bad naked. And then there's really really scary it-hurts-my-eyes naked. Too frequently it ain't good naked that's on display in the locker room. Use a towel, bring a robe. I don't care how comfortable you are with your (cellulite-ridden, saggy, droopy, flabby, wrinkly) body, the rest of us don't need the nightmares. This coming from a person who is rapidly entering the "bad" naked category. Even if you have a Playboy centerfold body, do us a favor and show some modesty. Like the rest of us need your perfection slapped across our faces!

3. The workout equipment is not a lounge chair.

You know that chick who brings a magazine to read in between her 97 sets of abductor reps? I hate her. Do not read or chat on your cell phone or go into a trance thinking about last night's episode of Lost and whether or not Jack and Kate will ever get it on and what the hell happened to Rose and Bernard and where did the polar bear come from while you are working out on a piece of equipment. Do your reps and move on. There are other people in the gym who are plotting your death as you recline on the butterfly press chatting up your pal Tiffany about the party at Hyde this weekend and by the way did she see last night's episode of Lost and I thought Kate blew up her stepfather and her real father was that military guy who released Sayid but really her stepfather was her real father and blah, blah, blah. GET OFF THE FREAKING EQUIPMENT!!!

4. Wait (patiently) for your turn.

Not every person using the equipment is chatting with Tiffany or reading the Fall Fashion Issue of Vogue, so give us a break. Yeah, we know that you are acting under the assumption that your workout and your schedule is sooooo much more important than ours. We realize that you believe that you are the center of the universe--but we didn't get that memo. So unless you've waited while we've done a significant portion of our 97 sets, do NOT come up and ask when we'll be done or if you can work in with us. I know that you absolutely, positively need to use the machine we just started on right this very second, but chill out and wait your turn. Find another machine to work out on. And maybe another one after that. If it looks like we are well on our way to doing 97 sets or have become caught up in an never ending conversation, then ASK.

Also, if you were just about to use a piece of equipment and someone else just beats you to it, do not have the presumptuousness to ask them to let you work out first. Wait your turn--and for god's sake, don't HOVER!

5. Share.

This is a follow-up to number 4, but I don't know how many times I've gone to sit on a vacant piece of equipment to have the person working out on the machine next to me say, "Oh--I was using that." Okay, I say--then I'll use that machine (the machine they are currently on). "Oh--I'm using this one, too." Um, yeah right. It violates laws of physics to use two machines at the same time--and it violates basic etiquette to try and pull that @#$%. If the gym isn't crowded, feel free to workout between several pieces of equipment. But as soon as someone else wants to use a machine that you're not currently using, you need to adjust your workout. Or go out and buy your own equipment for your own private gym. I had one jerk tell me I was "Selfish" because I went to use a vacant machine that he was going to use after he finished up on the other machine he was on. Excuse me? You want to kick me off a machine so it will be available just for YOU and I'm selfish? Idiot. I paid my membership dues, too.

6. Timing issues.

Come to class on time. There's always that stray person or two who stomps into class 10 minutes late, unfurls their yoga mat with a resounding THWACK!!! and slams their keys on the ground as the class is chilling out in child's pose. If you can't be on time, let's not be an irritating interruption for your fellow classmates who did show up at the appointed hour. Slink into class and tiptoe to your spot, gently laying out your mat as you silently deposit shoes, keys, etc. into a corner.

And speaking of interrupting, do NOT ask a fellow gym rat a question or make a comment while they are in the middle of doing their reps. Ask between SETS not REPS.

7. Personal space.

Admittedly things can get a bit close in the gym. But do try to respect those working out around you. It's been said that we need an average of 18 inches of personal space--keep that in mind when setting up in a class, stretching or mopping up with a towel while using cardio machines, or even when in the locker room. No one likes to have someone breathing down their neck or tailgating their @$$--especially if that someone has neglected to follow rule #1.

8. Use the towels.

Many gyms provide towels. Use them. Put them down between you and the weight machine. Use them to wipe up after you've done your sets. If you dribble from your water bottle, wipe it up with your towel.

Your mom always told you to clean up after yourself--and to wait your turn and share. It's about time you listened to her!


  1. On the locker room nudity thing, I'll say this...

    I'm a heterosexual woman, so it's not that I'm getting any sexual thrill out of this. But I really don't mind when women with nice bodies walk around nude in the locker room. Especially since there are several actresses who are members at my gym, and several of them are among the happily walk around naked group in the women's locker room at my gym. And it's kind of cool to be able to tell other people that I've seen Heather Locklear or Paula Abdul naked in the locker room, or that I've had a conversation with a totally nude Jennifer Aniston in the locker room, or that I know that Katherine Heigl does her hair and makeup standing totally nude in front of the mirror.

    Kelly H

  2. Those are mostly examples of "good naked." That kind of naked is not the norm at my gym!

  3. Well, we do have some overweight women at the gym that are surprisingly comfortable being naked in the locker room. It really doesn't bother me though. I just don't take a close look at them. I try not to stare at any of the ladies when their in a state of undress. But when it's one of the celebrities I can't help but take a peek. I'm the envy of all of my guy friends. LOL.

    Kelly H