Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Texting Burns As Many Calories As Flossing: Reflections on Gym Etiquette

After four months as a gym member, currently working out five days a week, there are certain things I've grown accustomed to. I finally feel myself to be a real member of the little Golds Gym community; I see a lot of the same folks every day, working hard to be healthy just like me. A couple of the employees know my name and greet me ("You get thinner every time I see you!" is the best compliment any human being can pay another human being ever. That's like "You are the wind beneath my wings" for people who aren't Nicholas Sparks-reading cornballs). There are certain weight machines with greater magnetic pull than others, so I no longer grow exasperated wondering when the hell that guy will get off the torso rotation machine, or how many hundred ab repetitions that chick with the eighteen-pack is gonna do.

I have also grown accustomed to breaches of gym etiquette.

These affronts to common decency are not egregious at Golds; I would wager to say that my gym may have a little less than the national average if we're totalling up member offenses. A good girlfriend of mine lives and works out in Manhattan. I cannot even fathom the horrors.

--It's considered bad form to sit on a machine between sets. I say, go ahead and sit, but keep eyes peeled for anyone who may want to "work in", and sometimes just making eye contact with someone standing nearby provides the opportunity for them to request it. If this happens, it is bad form to say "no". Your workout routine is important, but so is everyone elses.

--Wipe ya sweat. Seriously, the fact that this is not obeyed across the board 100 percent is disgusting, vile, wrong and proof that the world is overpopulated with oxygen hogs. Especially the bald you not know that your dearth of follicular growth means the sweat hits the machine unimpeded? Do you know that no one is interested in laying their head back into your sweat patch?

--Don't leave the free weights on the floor. Ladies, come on. We're better than this. It's thoughtless and unsafe.

--I've only ever heard a couple people sing along to the sounds of their MP3 player. Y'all would never want me to partake. Can you imagine me busting out some Slayer while on the treadmill?

"Bones and blood lie on the ground/Rotten limbs lie dead/Decapitated bodies found/On my wall your head!"

--People who hold on to the treadmill handrails and/or read while going at a leisurely pace on the cardio machines really are guilty of bad training etiquette. How do they expect to get maximum results if they don't obey the rules of good posture and proper exertion? You should be sweating with a heart rate 70-80% your maximum, not able to read a book or magazine.

--I will not comment on the cell phone people. I haven't seen anyone texting on a machine yet.

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