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My take on Gym Etiquette

May 21, 2010

   I’m close to 1 week out, thinking how can I maintain muscle while shredding more body fat.  I was sought out by JT to write about giant arms, coconut deltoids, barn-door lats, and thunderous thighs.  Ha, nope, I was asked to talk about gym etiquette.  Not to leave a bro feeling unfulfilled, I have accepted this responsibility.

I’ll give it a toss.  I don’t have any ego problems with that.  I’m cool.  Yeah, I got issues with certain things, so here goes.

Gym etiquette.  Let’s see.  Each gym will require its own respective protocol determined by what it offers, its environment, and the neighborhood.  There are those exclusive clubs with a golf course, pools, and courts where one burp is registered offense.  Not my kind of gym.  There are those basement gyms with artistically damaged bars, and battered dumbbells lying in artistic heaps, where to speak is to yell loudly, and giving up a 45-pound lifting bar from one corner of the floor to the other is known as sharing.  Not my kind of gym either.

I’ve trained in them all.  Most gyms today are somewhere in between.  New unwritten rules are:

  • Smack the dumbbells together, and I’ll smack your head. 
  • Drop the weights, and I’ll drop you like a bad habit. 
  • If you don’t rerack your weight, I’ll rerack your membership. 
  • I told you no chalk, but you insist, now clean it up.
  • No gym bags on the floor, that’s what a locker room is for.
  • Mirrors are for signs, not for you to look at yourself.

Very effective?  Today, this approach no longer works.  We’ve gotten soft over the years, and everybody’s got a lawyer, so we have no choice but to abide by the whims of the management.

I compiled a quick wish list of do’s and don’ts.  I write based on my experience as a user.  It became a long list; Grrrr, I thought, yet wholly necessary.  I would in no way display this list on any gym wall for fear of it being torn down – the wall, that is – and for fear of my own tar, and feathering.  The list, however, served to bring focus on the issues.

Rules to Live by

A smart gym rat enjoys rules, and regulations.  He or she isn’t subject to them but freed by them.  Disorder is a breeding ground for irresponsibility, and disrespect.  Truth is, without order there is chaos.  In a setting of governing of the people, for the people, and by the people, we thrive.

We make mistakes, sh*t happens, and occasionally, bad moods happen, as life rolls on. 

So much for my agenda, don’t you agree?  Let’s get down to muscle-building in a stress-free environment.  After all, the atmosphere, and the attitude of a gym are in many ways more important than the very equipment you’re getting set to lift.

How to Be A Good Bodybuilder

You want to grow stronger, lose fat, and gain lean muscle mass.  Be a good guy, bodybuilder – Type A (i.e. a male or female bodybuilder with guts, and heart), as compared with a bad guy, bodybuilder – Type B (i.e. a girl or guy who’s mean, and arrogant).  Be innovative, and courageous in your lifting, but be respectful, and helpful.  Encourage one another, share your equipment, and don’t commandeer 2 or more pieces of gym equipment as you superset, and engage in your hellish training regime (unless, of course, the gym is empty, then go for it!).  At the same time, suggest with diplomacy to the Type B trainee that monopolizing equipment is an act of a selfish fool, and is not to be tolerated.  I don’t want to hear you were an “only child” so you never had to learn to share.  Though, I do hate to hear, Hey, I was using that.  Well, if you were, get your butt over here, and use it, and quit talking to the ladies.

Enthusiasm needs to be mastered, inspiration needs to be channeled, and the tongue clamped to the lower lip with a pair of vice grips as you prepare to lift.  No foul language, but boys will be boys.  Funny sometimes when used as motivation, but probably guaranteed that someone will be offended.

A couple of questions:  When you’re done with dinner, do you take your pots, pans, and dishes, and throw them in the general direction of the sink, and retire to the living room to watch TV while your mommy cleans up after you?  I don’t think so, so why do you insist on leaving your crap everywhere?  When you’re done with your computer, do you turn it off, and beat the monitor repeatedly with the keyboard?  Probably not (even though I’ve seen video clips to the contrary).  After parking your car, do you slam the door shut 5 or 6 times, and kick the tires like a child having a fit?  This is a tough one.  Take your time.  You don’t have to answer right away.

What is Bad for Your Health

Why, then do some of us insist on dropping the weights – unless, of course, they’re too heavy, uncontrollable, and we mistakenly failed to ask for a “spot” for safety.  They’re’ not beach balls that gently go bouncing away.  Another thing:  Slamming the 45’s together on the lifting bar as if that determines our ability to lift the weight.  What’s up with that?

Holy cow, Batman.  Metal against metal, metal against concrete, metal against rubber doesn’t need to happen.  Mellow out, man!  There’s always someone bigger, stronger, and faster than you right around the corner.  Did you just turn your head looking for him?  🙂  A list of my pet peeves also includes training next to people in cell phones, flip-flops, bare feet, and muddy boots.

They’re often carrying food in hand, a Big Gulp from 7-Eleven, and dragging around their entourage in the gym.  You think for a minute that you’re standing in line at the supermarket buying junk food, and a cheap video.  Attention People:  Stop, shake it off.  Put on your workout gear, and get in the swing of things.  Remember why you’re there.  It’s not a subway station, a bus stop, or your local hangout.  Shut up, and lift.

It’s a gym for cryn’ out loud.  Build, move, go.  Reps, sets, focus, all with the one belief of carrying out the plan.  My suggestion to you:  Take the high road; it’s the road less traveled.

What bothers you at the Gym?

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 21, 2010 8:17 pm

    Awesome article! Thanks for giving me a shout out! Some people get so crazy at the gym, when they have no right too! Yet, I digress, if you are at the gym you are doing something that a majority of the population DOES NOT, so I can’t hate on those rebel rousers too much. What I can say is that if you are at the gym and you really don’t know what you are doing, and you are only doing what you read in this months M&F, then you need to do one thing: ASK!!!!!

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