Listen, we’ve all been there.
We’ve all been that asshole at the gym. If you claim you haven’t, I would bet there is at least one piece of Ed Hardy gear in your closet and you own a minimum of eight fragrances.
The easiest thing to do at this point is to wipe up the sweat that just dripped all over the mat I’m about to put my face near (repeat: face) and learn from it. There are other humans around you that deserve respect.
No one goes to the gym and thinks, “I really hope I have to clean each machine BEFORE I use it today” or, “Oh yay! A line for the squat rack”. We all have to do our part or it becomes a huge game of Spot the Missing Dumbbell, Where Did My Barbell Go, or my personal favorite, Who Has the Only V-Bar Now.
When I nervously tiptoed my way into the free-weight section of the gym for the first time, I felt like I was a broken record and the only words I could utter at another human were “I’m sorry” or “excuse me”. I was elbow-to-elbow with every person there.
The first thing I learned (quickly) was that there is a magical time of day I could go and feel like I wasn’t constantly bumping into everyone (2-3:30 M-Th)—find the timeframe that works for you.
The next 6 months were full of lessons you could say I “learned the hard way”.
I don’t ever want you to experience what it’s like to get through re-racking six 45lb plates from a squat rack, only to realize that the guy who was using it returned from his water break and was right next to you. Whoops.
Nobody actually cares about you.
This is the most important lesson I learned. People are too caught up in how they look in the mirror to notice that you just made an error, or almost ate it tripping over a weight. People feel just as self-conscious as you and are worried about the exact same thing. We’re all only human and we all make mistakes.
Is that sweat or oil on the bench?
Yes, I’ve literally had to clean oil from a bench. I don’t want to know why you decided to put oil on before the gym, but I can tell you that I expect you to clean it up. Consider it a little extra cardio to walk over, get a paper towel and wipe it down. Ain’t nobody want your sweat on them.
OMG IS THIS AN EARTHQUAKE?!
I don’t know about you, but having someone drop their 90lb dumbbells from waist-high within 10 feet of you jolts you from your focus. I’m the type that zones on my workout and has music pumping through my headphones, so please don’t drop your weights unless you have to. I scare easily.
If you take it, put it back.
Remember that time in preschool when you had to learn how to put your toys back when you were done with them? Imagine the gym is a giant playroom, put your toys back when you’re done. The other kids want to play, too.
On the occasion someone asks if they can “work in”, the polite answer is “yes”.
We all have busy schedules. Hell, these days it’s a trend to constantly be busy and running off of coffee fumes, but there is a huge benefit to human interaction. Next time someone wants to work in, say yes, take your headphones out and actually interact. Yeah, it’ll probably add three minutes to your workout, but you might learn a thing or two, and maybe you found your new gym buddy. You never know.
What’s that smell?
This rule goes two ways. The first should come as no surprise, but you should shower regularly. On the opposing side, no one wants to be able to follow your perfume trail around the gym. One spritz, hunny.
Out doing field research, to be continued…