June 29, 2008

A Man's Life, Health & Sports, On Etiquette

10 Ways To Be A Gentleman At The Gym

Perhaps it is the rush of testosterone and the feeling of primal power that accompanies working out, but many men seem to check their manners at the door to the gym. But just because you’re getting in touch with your inner man beast, doesn’t mean you should turn into an inconsiderate boob. Gyms should give new members a course on etiquette, but they don’t, leaving many men wholly ignorant of how to act civilly while pumping iron. Here are the rules of etiquette every man should know and keep. Feel free to tape them up in your gym’s locker room.

1. Rack your weights. Would you whip up a meal in the kitchen and then leave the dirty dishes from someone else to do? Well maybe you would, but then your roommates are currently plotting how to get you kicked out of the house. Show some respect to your fellow gym patrons and rack your weights. And rack them correctly. Nothing pisses me off more then when there’s a 25 lb plate racked behind three 45 lbs plates. Take those few extra steps to put the same weight with the same weight.

2. Don’t hog the machines. Get in, get your work done, and leave. A gym is a community, so sharing is required. And no, you can’t lay claim to a machine by simply laying your towel on it. Not being a hog on a machine can get difficult when you’re doing super circuits. Before you move to the next machine, tell the person who’s using the machine after you that you’ll be coming back shortly to finish up your circuit.

3. Use a spotter. If you’re throwing around heavy weight, make sure you have someone spotting you. First, it’s a safety concern. Second, you’ll look like an idiot struggling with a bar over your chest.

4. Don’t hover. While hogging machines at the gym is a faux pas, what irks me more is when people start hovering over a machine that you’re in the middle of using. These hoverers passive-aggressively lurk by the machine to give you the signal that they want you to leave. If you want to use the machine, wait until the person has finished their set to approach them. Then politely ask if you can get a set in.

5. Wipe down the equipment. I am convinced that many men feel that their gyms’ “please wipe down your equipment” sign applies to everyone but themselves. How else to explain why a man who has soaked his shirt through with sweat would walk away from a machine he’s coated with perspiration? Nobody wants to sit in a pool of a guy’s sweat, much less a layer of it composed of an afternoon of inconsiderate gym goers. If you moisten a piece of equipment, wipe it down with your towel. If you are sweating profusely, also use the disinfectant spray that the gym provides.

6. Don’t drop the weights. When you’re finished cranking out a set of dumbbell presses, lay them down like a normal person. Don’t just drop them off your shoulders. First, it’s dangerous to do so. You don’t know if there are any feet or hands that the weight can land on. Second, it’s bad for the weights and the floor. Even if your gym has those rubber floors, dropping the weights from great heights will eventually cause some wear and tear. Finally, it’s distracting. Dropping weights creates a bunch of ruckus that can distract other gym patrons.

7. Don’t hit on women. The gym is not a bar. You’re there to work, and so are the women. Don’t bother them. Most women feel sweaty and messy when they’re working out, and are not in the mood for love. If the woman is not sweaty and messy, and instead has perfectly coiffed hair and a full face of make-up, you should still steer clear; you don’t want to date the kind of woman who gets guzzied up for the gym.

8. Don’t give unsolicited advice. So what if you got your college degree in sports nutrition and exercise? No one cares what you have to say about how to get chiseled abs. Only if someone asks for some advice, or is in serious danger of hurting themselves, should you step in and let loose a river of all the workout knowledge that’s stored in that big cranium of yours.

9. Leave the cell phone in the car. One of the most obnoxious things to see at a gym is a person yapping away on their cell phone while walking on the treadmill. Usually the culprits of this gym crime are snooty soccer moms, but I’ve seen men do this as well. Nothing is unmanlier than a man whose focus is somewhere else and not on developing and strengthening his body.

10. Don’t use the girly machines. No man should ever be caught on that machine that works your inner and outer thighs.

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