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Dealing with Bad Gym Etiquette

Dealing with Bad Gym Etiquette

A gym is the temple for all physique conscious people. But, there are unspoken, unwritten, untold rules of behaving in a gym. Here are a few suggestions on how to deal with people indulging in any bad etiquette at the gym. Everyone comes to the gym for one sole purpose - to maintain or improve their physique. It is a public place and there are rules to behave in a gym. Nobody will come and tell you these, but better check yourself before everyone at the gym starts glaring at you or calls you 'the gym idiot' behind your back! There are also tips for dealing with bad etiquette of fellow gym goers. Top 15 Bad Gym Etiquette and How to Deal with Them? No.1: Sweating it Out Everyone comes to the gym to sweat out all those extra calories. Even the air conditioner won't stop you from sweating. But, can you actually feel a shower of sweat coming from the person on the treadmill next to you? Or, did you plan to use a machine but were grossed out by some idiot who used it before you and did not clean his/her sweat off it? It can be such a terrible experience when you are going to a gym, unless of course you have one at your home! How to Deal With it Well, for a problem like that, you have an option of using the gym during the happy hours when there are very fewer people. That way, you won't risk yourself to be in gross and wet scenarios at the gym and you can work out at your pace without compromising on your peace of mind. If that is not possible, politely ask the person to wipe the sweat off their body or the machine. You can ask the gym instructors to request people for the same about following gym equipment etiquette. All good gyms keep anti-bacterial sprays at easily reachable corners for those who at all care about the germs they are getting on to their bodies. No.2: No Equal Opportunity Yes, most people hate working the fat folds at the gym but all of us still manage to have one favorite equipment at the gym to bust those calories. But, that does not mean you should be denied using it because someone is working on their favorite machine. Have you been rudely kept waiting to switch to a new machine? How to Deal With it If you see a line behind you, do not use a cardio-machine for more than 20 minutes and a weight lighting equipment for more than 10-15 minutes. It is not polite to overdo your stay on one machine while others wait. If you plan to do multiple sets on it, wait for the machine to be unoccupied again to resume your workout. Till then, you may choose another machine so you don't have to interrupt your grueling workout session. If someone is keeping you waiting, wait for the time designated per person on the machine, and then ask the person using it to allow you to take your turn. No.3: Right Things at the Right Places There are ethics to be practiced at every place, even the gym. If you are lifting weights, keep them where they belong even if you picked them up when they were lying around at the wrong place. It is not acceptable to leave weights on machines or anywhere else after you are done. It could injure someone if they tripped and fell because of it. Did you just fall last Sunday because someone left his weights where they shouldn't have been? How to Deal With it If you see someone doing that, let him/her know that they should be keeping it at the right place. They will be so embarrassed, they won't do it again. Make sure your message is audible to those around so they follow the same ethics to avoid being pointed out at like that. No.4: Cell Phone Addiction I get it, we are all addicted to our cell phones no matter how much we may hate it. But as I mentioned earlier, the gym is the temple for everyone who wants to stay fit. We all devote 2 hours of our busy schedule to pump it out at the gym. Have you been rudely interrupted, during your workout, by the sound of someone who felt it was too important to attend calls while at the gym. It is not impressive to make other people a part of your telephonic conversation at the gym. If someone attends call while on a machine, it doesn't only hamper their workout, it also wastes the precious time of other people waiting to use the machine. Trust me, it's very annoying. I don't even get it how people talk over the phone with all the loud sounds of blaring music, people chit-chatting and machines working around them. How to Deal With it There is absolutely no way to deal with it except if gym authorities installed cell phone range jammer around. No, I am just kidding but that wouldn't be such a bad idea. If this happens frequently in your gym, you can ask the instructors to put up 'No Cell Phone Use Allowed' boards everywhere. Else, enjoy listening to the conversation or interrupt them too! I actually remember once pulling out my cell phone and pretending to talk. It was more of yelling on my part just to piss him off. He got the message. I did not say you try that out but who said, I will be watching you? No.5: It's a Gym, Not Your Garden! Oh!.. did you notice how every gym has those that are 40 plus and trying to get back in to shape after years of abusing their health? Good Job! I really appreciate the enthusiasm and will power to lose the fat. But, hey moms! Let's work out here instead of making it your daily hang out spot to whine about your ungrateful husbands and children or even gossip! It sounds interesting but no one wants to hear it when they are so focused on having an intense workout. How to Deal With it Nothing works better than a loud 'shh....!!!', complete with a glaring look in your eyes and a finger on your lips. I did not say they won't glare right back at you or that you won't be the subject of their next criticism. And it will take more than just one try to successfully shut them up. But ladies, keep your chit-chats under a minute or take them out of the gym. No.6: The Locker Room Some people absolutely love the locker room. In fact, those people spend more time in the locker room than at the gym. I am imagining a bunch of old dudes talking nasty about the 'meats' at the gym. Ugh...! This is also the place where the ladies from above 'talk' about you. Can't stop anyone from talking in the locker room. But, please don't strip down to your birthday suit if you are not in the shower. It is amazing that some people are that comfortable with their bodies to strut their stuff around in public, the locker room is still public after all. How to Deal With it Such sights in the locker room can be pretty gross, but I am not much of a help here, except I would advise you to shut the naked world out. If you have the guts, tell the person to cover up. Be prepared to listen to a long lecture on how comfortable they are with themselves and that we all were born naked. Or, you could just hand out a towel to them. Actions speak louder than words. If you are the one doing it, it is a very bad etiquette. Respect privacy and cover up! No.7: Swinging Around A really bad etiquette I have noticed among many people at the gym is that they don't care about the world while working out, literally. It's good to be so dedicated to your work out but it's really bad behavior at the gym to move your body in a way that could hurt someone. If you are warming up, cooling down, lifting weights or doing cardio, keep your hands to the sides of your body. You should occupy only appropriate body space. Don't invade another person's space. Have you been 'hit' by someone like that? How to Deal With it If you ever got punched in the face by an over enthusiastic person doing his/her aerobics, what can you do about it except, shout, "Hey man!" most gyms have a separate area for aerobics and other exercises that do not require machines. But, if your gym doesn't have one and people are occupying free area to do their business, watch out for yourself or request them to move to a more secluded corner. But, what if someone was lifting the weights and then you got hit? Tough one. If your gym management is considerate enough, they may give you a couple of free vouchers or discount on your next paid session to compensate for the injury. Don't be afraid to ask for it or at least let them know. No.8: Keep it With Yourself I have often seen people leaving their water bottles, sweat-soaked napkins and iPods on their previous machines and then when you have to use it, you can only ignore it or go around asking who do those things belong to. How are you supposed to know if the person who was using the equipment will be back in a few minutes to use it or they just forgot it over there? How to Deal With it If you see someone's stuff lying on the machine you want to use or a bench that you need to occupy to lift your weights, let it be lying around or hand it over to the gym instructor/receptionist. I think people will learn to keep their things with themselves once they freak out thinking they lost their iPods. But, what about the used napkins, huh? I think you shouldn't bother. No.9: This is a Really Stinky Gym Etiquette! Yes, yes, everyone sweats in the gym and the body's bacteria will thrive on it and make it stink. It is a natural biological process. But, so many sweaty stinky bodies in the gym together can really want you to plead God to cut off your oxygen supply. Okay, I am being dramatic. But, the worst of it could be when all that sickening body odor is mixed with dollops of generously applied cologne and perfumes! How to Deal With it I had a really hard time breathing amongst all those stinky dudes at my gym. I kept telling myself that it was the gym and I should be more considerate instead of throwing some girly tantrums. This was back in college. People! Never heard of anti-bacterial deodorants and antiperspirants? They really do work. And it's time that your gym started using air fresheners. No.10: Noisy Business I think if you overdo anything, it will be a problem. We need to be understanding in a gym because there are so many people involved in intense physical exercises but if someone overdid it, they must be asked to control it. Granted that there will be grunting, moaning and groaning noises but you still need to keep them to yourself instead of making the entire gym an audience to it. But, what should you do when grunting gym neighbors start to make you feel uncomfortable? How to Deal With it If someone around you, is breathing too heavily or grunting too loudly, so much that it starts to distract you and you can't shut out those noises, you are lucky if you carry your iPod so you can blast the music in your earphones and forget about perturbing noises. I think the problem with such noisy people is that they either can't hear themselves because of the music or they are absolutely oblivious to it. I have even heard people showing off their vocal skills at the gym, auditioning for American Idol soon, huh? No.11: All Eyes for You I am sure almost all of us going to the gym have been through this and do it too! We stare at everyone at the gym and everyone stares at us. I think it's quite acceptable now. People don't really take this to be a problem anymore, I suppose. There is actually nothing much for your eyes to do when your entire body is involved in the workout, so they will wander around. But, it can make people so self-conscious when they know they have unflattering body parts and that is exactly why they are at the gym. While working out, jiggling flab can be quite embarrassing. Especially for women, they are more conscious about it. So when someone stares fixedly, it can really embarrass you and even piss you off. How to Deal With it Wear proper gym clothing, even proper inner wear for your workouts. If you catch someone staring at you too much, look at them and smile every time they do it. It is a subtle way of telling that person, "I caught you looking at me". So, they will be at the other end of feeling embarrassed and people mostly check themselves. Most people stare without realizing that they are doing that. But, when it is intentional and doesn't stop, you should ask them if there is anything you can help them with. When they respond negatively, tell them that you do not appreciate all that staring. Problem solved. No.12: No Eyes for You! Ever noticed how all the gym instructors always attend to all the pretty girls at the drop of the hat, when they need help? Sometimes, even when they don't ask for it. Everyone likes pretty girls, even the gym instructors and all the other men. But, imagine the plight of the middle-aged lady or a man who is struggling to get the instructor's attention for some help and guidance. Why should you be neglected if the instructor is trying to score a date? This one is the instructor's bad etiquette. How to Deal With it If after calling the instructor thrice, he doesn't pay attention to you and continues talking to Ms. Pretty, you can either go up to him and tell him that it would be very generous of him to help you out so you can continue with your workout and that you would like his help because he is such an amazing instructor. That way, the instructor will be grateful to you for making him look good before the girl, and he will gladly help you without holding any grudge against you for interrupting his sneaky flirty moves, hopefully. It's a win-win situation! No.13: The Mirror Intruder Every gym has mirrored walls so you can look at yourself and check, if you are in the right posture while exercising and focus on your body parts. So, while you are looking at the mirror and working your biceps, what if someone came and stood right in front of you with music blaring in his earphones and absolutely ignorant about the fact that you are trying to work out? It might just want to make you work your biceps on him! How to Deal With it Someone who invades the space between you and the mirror obviously has really bad gym etiquette. I don't think there is any point being nice to someone like that because I am sure, if you are in a gym, you are far from being blind. It plainly means that you don't care about the inconvenience you are causing to others. You should just use the three words on him, "Do you mind?". No.14: The Chatter Box There are some people, like I mentioned in No.5, who just don't stop talking at the gym. I wonder if they are trying to subsidize the agony of the workout. So, it doesn't really always have to be a chatty group talking in the gym. It could also be the over-enthusiastic guy or the lass at the gym who is just too friendly. They won't stop talking to you and sometimes you may literally have to hide from them. How to Deal With it When you have someone so chirpy and extra-friendly that it starts to hurt your brain muscles, tell him/her that you like talking to them but you are pressed for time and need to complete you workout. Then, tell them you will catch up with them after you both finish your shower. This way they won't be interrupting your workout. No.15: Mr. Free Advice There is always a Mr. Know-it-all at every gym. God save you if he is from the same batch timings! The gyms can really save on instructor salary for the session he shows up for because he has loads of free advice to give to everyone, even when you don't ask for it! He is the guy who has the body of a Greek God but is still striving towards perfection and comes up with new health tips and facts every day. You don't even need to visit the dietitian and the instructor when you have this guy in your gym. He thinks it is his duty to help everyone lose that fat. It is so annoying when someone comes and tells you the right way to work out and get rid of your 'flabby' arms that you never thought you had before. How to Deal With it If Mr. Free Advice shows up again by your side to give you tips to work out properly, tell him you would love to try his tips but you have already begun following the routine your instructor has prescribed to you and he might not like it if you disobey him. After this, you will hear a 15-minute session of criticizing the instructor. But, hopefully the dude will stop troubling you. If he doesn't, pretend you don't hear him and continue with your workout. You know, there are many benefits of carrying your iPod to the gym! Good Gym Etiquette
  • Always carry a towel or napkin with you to the gym, to keep yourself dry while you workout.
  • Keep your cell phone on silent to avoid disturbing others.
  • Always clean the machine after you have used it.
  • Always wear fresh and clean gym clothes.
  • Put your dumbbells at right place, where they belong. Mixing up their places can cause an inconvenience to someone who may not be as strong as you. Keep your noise low to the bare minimum. Focus on your breathing.
  • Do not keep machines on hold for more than a minute.
When the suggested resolutions to deal with bad etiquette in the gym do not work, it is okay to be the complaining kid at the gym, and let the gym management know that someone has a bad behavior at the gym which is causing inconvenience to you.
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