I am very lucky to have my own gym, a great private facility where I do one-onone fitness training with some of the finest guys and ladies in Fort Lauderdale. Yet when I exercise myself, I often like to go to one of the popular commercial gyms in my area just to take a break from my workplace ambience. I usually enjoy my time at these gyms, but at least twice a week I witness things that really tick me off. Before anyone tells me to go back to my own gym and STFU, allow me get up on my soapbox and vent a spell about the need for gym etiquette.
A gym is not just a place where YOU go to work out. The gym is a great social outlet for people of all ages and backgrounds to go to exercise and relieve stress. As such, there are some basic and oh-so-essential rules of gym etiquette that I feel I must review.
First, remember that you are not the only one in the gym. If you have to carry around your cell phone, put it on vibrate and when you get a call, take it outside or somewhere where you don’t have to share your call with the rest of us! Speaking of not sharing, keep a towel with you to wipe down equipment after using it. No one wants to workout in a puddle of your bodily fluids.
Second, the gym is not your private space. This means that you should not push in front of others to get to equipment. Rack free weights once you have finished your sets. Don’t linger at stations while you talk on the phone or waste time. Others are waiting patiently. I was once in a gym where a famous visiting porn star was working out. His ego was bigger than his calf implants! This behemoth pushed and shoved in front of others to hog the weights, and monopolized two and three pieces of equipment at a time. What a gross turn-off for his multitude of fans. A simple “Excuse me,” or “Pardon me, are you using those weights?” is so much nicer than a primal grunt, a surly sneer, and a shove from behind. Don’t forget basic kindness and manners. You expect them from others, why not let others learn from your good example?
Another basic rule of gym etiquette has to do with personal hygiene. Primal man-scent may flip your switch at Ramrod, but three day body odor is not acceptable anywhere.
Showers can be used both before and after a workout. If your jock can stand up on its own in your locker, then it’s time to do laundry. Yes, real men bathe, wear a touch of deodorant, and wash the gym clothes. While I’m on this tirade of discussing personal hygiene, let me say a word to those phantoms of the locker room who refuse to flush their mess or wipe off a toilet seat, and those who spit, hock, and dispose of their gum in the drinking fountains. Get with the human race. Learn to flush the toilet! Stop using the drinking fountain as your personal waste receptacle! And while we’re at it, the locker room is no place to trim your toenails, shave your head, or iron your clothes. These are tasks to do in the privacy of your own salle de bain, as they say in France.
Finally, let me say a word or two about something that really irks me. The locker room and showers are not your private areas to carry on sexually, with yourself or with others. Your sexcapades are not as hot as you imagine them to be. It is illegal, and furthermore, you are putting your club and others in jeopardy for all kinds of trouble. Stop it now!
Well, I’ve gotten some things off my chest. For me, and many others, the gym is a way of life. With a few basic rules of etiquette, a little consideration and some politeness, the gym can be a great place for all of us to workout, unwind, and socialize.
Tom Bonanti is a certified personal trainer and owner of Pump’n Inc Gym at 1271 NE 9th Ave, Fort Lauderdale. For more tips on how to get bigger beefier arms by summer, give me a shout at TrainerTomB@aol.com