If you’ve ever worked out in a public fitness facility, like a Gold’s Gym or a high school weight room or “The Y,” and I’m not saying that you have NOT, you look fine for now…
But if you have ever been in such a place you know there are some rules. And if you DON”T know the rules, well you’re the reason I’m writing this. These rules are the most-basic etiquette for behavior in a gym, and the people most likely to break them? THE YOUTH.
The disrespectful, self-entitled, “Fuck you I am on the way up and over your dying ass” Youth. And idiots.
Wipe It Down, Dry It Off
You’re sweating out hot sauce and beer gas from the weekend, all over the elliptical machine which you’ve cranked to Level 4/Mall Walking. As you marinate the machine you release your toxins and begin to feel a bit better. Hopefully if you’re only doing cardio you’re doing HIIT cardio, and not planning on trying to hit 49min of boring stuff. HIIT’s where it’s at. And you’re drippin’ your biodiesel all over the machine. This goes for the fixed-weight/pulley machines, too. You sweat it, you wet it, you wipe it.
Fine. That’s part of the gig and the machine can take it. When you’re done, you get a towel of any kind, as clean as it can be, and any kind of cleaning/degreasing spray. You spray that on the machine or the towel (I get the towel damp, don’t wanna hit other gym-goers with spray) and you WIPE OFF ALL THE SWEAT YOU CAN WIPE OFF OF THE MACHINE. Not the floor areas. Anything that a human has to touch or look at after you head off to your Zumba!!! class. Clean it up. No sweat left behind.
PENALTY: $10 for the first machine, $20 for each one after that. Suspended membership, picture on the wall. SHAME.
Sweet chocolatey Gregg Avedon this eludes far too many people. Two principles of managing free weights to keep in mind.
1) Handle Your Load: Lotta guys still doing that “Pick up the heaviest weight I can, drop it on the floor, kick it to my bench” move with the dumbells. If you can’t carry it 5 feet, you really wanna be pushing that over your face? Or do you need attention? Because you’re damaging the floor, the weights, and your reputation. 10 perfect reps of a weight you can handle for 10 reps are far better than 4 grunting spasms under a weight you can’t count to. How do you plan to…
2) RACK YOUR FUCKING WEIGHT: More precisely, re-rack it. You put whatever it was, a 3lb red-microsuede medicine ball or a 45.5kg plate, right back where you found it. Something in it’s place already? Find the next place it fits. You don’t’ leave it on the bar in case somebody randomly wants to hit a quick set of 315lb squats. You don’t tuck the 35-lb’ers under the bench and walk over to wonder what your legs would look like if you worked ‘em out. You put ‘em back on the rack by the other 35’s, or in between 30 and 40.
PENALTY: $1/lb of unracked weight. 2nd offense = Being spotted on the bench by an older Greek man with loose shorts and no underpants. 3rd offense = Suspended membership. SHAME.
HOLD THE BALL
If you like to play basketball, or “hoop” as white people call it, you’re probably gonna take your ball that you own from the locker room all the way over to the basketball court. If you’re inside for the duration of the trip to the court and you have a basketball in your position, hold it. Don’t bounce it. Don’t dribble it across the entire facility. BOMP BOMP BOMBOMP BOMP BOMP BOMP BOMPBOMPBOMPBOMP stop it, hold the ball.
We wouldn’t allow a guy with a bass drum strapped to his belly like a marching band pounder to hammer out a 2:4 beat from the Spin class over to the Stairblaster without glaring. Why should you, bouncer of the ball, be any different? Because you have a tanktop from a Summer camp? You’re wearing retro Pippen’s? Shorts below the knee are not a pass to act like you’re about to create a highlight reel in the Under 25 game. Hold the ball.
PENALTY: Anybody can approach, defend, and hand-check you across the weight room and gets to keep your ball if they knock it outta your hand, then puncture it with an ice pick while your smelly cousin watches.
Phone Down, Weight Up
The Youth are into this new workout craze where you do a set of something, then fill the next 3 minutes by scrolling through the smartphone to see something. I don’t know what. But it requires being totally still, sitting on one bench or standing in one place or walking around with your head down and almost bumping into people.
If the facility has a WiFi server, every 10minutes just send out a blast message that reads “KEEP CALM AND PUT THE PHONE AWAY”. Keep it moving. Other people have actual friends to socialize with.
So there ya go. Anything else happening in the gym is up to you. Most of us are paying too much money to lift weights with dumbasses. You can be an animal without being a savage. Stay dry, rack it, and hold your stuff. Good advice any time.