Monday, 25 July 2011

Gym etiquette

So, after four days of gyming it last week (and a day off due to a hangover on Sunday), I decided today I would go for the workout DVD instead. Rather than my usual 1hour+ I ended up doing half hour on it – the warm up and dance section, still it got me sweating and it was better than nothing so I was relatively okay with my efforts.

That is until I discovered that my boyfriend’s laptop is still not working and I had the ‘bright’ idea to go over to my Mum’s and use her computer (where I am now), but that I should walk here. Admittedly it took less time than I imagined and I walked it in just over half an hour, but I was in flipflops and now I am a bit hot and bothered and adorned with four lovely blisters (two on each foot). Just what I wanted!

I’ve just recently started getting back in to my whole healthy eating and exercise regime, after a bout of being a bit lazy really. It’s funny how quickly you get out of shape just from even the shortest break away and I hated how I was feeling so now I’m trying to stay on track and get myself sorted again.

Last week on one of my many gym visits though I found myself in a right panic as I realised I’d left my towel at home – not one I use to shower with (I tend to go home and get washed after a workout there), but a small towel I use for when I get a bit sweaty on the machines etc. I really did feel lost without it and having to use that horrible blue coloured paper stuff was just not the same.

As I stepped into the gym and started to press all the treadmill buttons to get my workout started I noticed on looking around me that quite a lot of people don’t take a towel with them at all. Obviously a lot of people choose to use said tissue provided in the gym, but many it seems just don’t bother at all and let themselves sweat all over everything and well basically just leave it and move on to the next machine. This is something, amongst many other things in the gym, which really does wind me up.

To me, there are a few rules you should stick to – gym etiquette as it were – in order to have a good gym experience and ensure those around you get the same.

Be dressed appropriately
Now, obviously if you wear the wrong type of footwear and injure yourself that’s down to you and it doesn’t affect me if your trendy ‘boat shoes’ or pretty little pumps don’t support your feet and ankles properly. However, I think people that turn up in their jeans, inappropriate footwear and the like are just plain rude and show a bit of a lack of respect when they enter the gym.

Moreover, are the people who think they are there to show everyone every last inch of themselves – not good. I admit, this is mostly limited to women – apart from those men who don’t quite seem to understand that loose and very short shorts reveal way too much about them and constant squatting or sitting with their legs akimbo on a weights machine really does leave nothing to the imagination. Ew... Some girls don’t get me wrong look amazing and if I was as toned and in shape as them I too would want to wear a crop top and roll the top of my jogging bottoms down – although perhaps not so far that I start to reveal the top of my thong?! One of the classic sights in my gym though is a rather shall we say elderly lady who comes to the gym with a thick sweatband on and usually some sort of shorts or cropped trousers. However the band on her head probably covers up more than what she wears on top – a bra. No, not a sports bra or a crop top, but a full-on granny style bra, add to that a nice wrinkly muffin top and you get the picture. Now I am not one to judge in a gym, I spent the first few months of my membership hiding in a side room as I was convinced people were laughing at me and all sorts. But honestly, is this sort of attire really necessary, who is it benefiting??

Wipe down the equipment
So, everyone sweats in the gym, it’s a fact of life and necessary and those people who go to the gym and don’t sweat, well quite frankly work a bit harder! However, if you find as you run some sweat drips from your hairline onto the treadmill, you sit on the rowing machine and leave a bit of a sweat patch on the seat, or sitting on a weights machine you leave lines of sweat on the back of the seat then for goodness sake please just wipe it up!

The number of people who leave machines drenched in their sweat is ridiculous and it’s not nice for the next person waiting to go on – some machines may be the only one available in your gym, or in busy periods you just need to get on whatever you can, so you can’t be picky if a machine presents itself sweaty or not. So what do you do? Am I expected to wipe up someone else’s sweat, or worse still do these people think we should use our towels to wipe up somebody’s else’s mess? Yuck, no thank you.

Keep things tidy
I go to the gym armed with towel, water bottle, mp3 player, asthma inhaler and my membership card but I appreciate some people prefer to travel light and use the facilities there. Fine. But, if you use the blue paper towel to wipe something up throw it in the bins, do not leave it in the pockets of the machine meant to house the next person’s water bottle. If you buy an energy drink from the vending machines when you’ve drunk it do not leave it on the machine or the floor, put it in the bin! The other day in fact my Mum went to go and sit on the bike and someone had just used some paper towel and left it scrunched up on the seat, lovely. Seriously, how hard can it be?

Muscle meatheads
Don’t get me wrong I appreciate the form of men who work out and put in all that effort to look so ‘buff’, but if they come in the shape of dumbbell dropping, grunting, arrogant morons then I am not a fan. Why do gyms always seem to get those guys who have to show just how big and strong they are by making all sorts of unimaginable noises as loud of possible. Yes, I can see you’re lifting a weight, yes I can see it’s very heavy and you have big, strong arms, but no I am not impressed with your grunts echoing around the room and putting me off my session.

Or the best is when you’re somewhere near those guys lifting weights who are such ‘hard’ men that they don’t put weights back, oh no, not for them they just drop them. On the floor which makes the area near it vibrate, or in most cases makes people around you jump out their skin. To me dropping it like that makes guys look more weak as if they had to drop the weight suddenly as it got too much for them surely?

A few months back my gym had a bit of a revamp and got some new machines in, most of the ones they replaced were actually better in my humble opinion but anyway...What I then found much to my dislike, was that the meatheads then decided this area – a bit like ‘muscle beach’ (you know the bit I mean!) – should also belong to them and they would hog the machines. So now, when I want to go on the lat pulldown or the leg press for instance I normally have to wait for some gym obsessive to finish his set (which seems to mostly consist of staring and then flexing his muscles, rather than any weight lifting) before I can get started. Before the old equipment area was deemed ‘for girls’ and they left well alone, but because it’s all shiny and new they want a piece of it.

Anyway I should really be concentrating more on getting in the gym and sorting my body out, rather than whingeing about the behaviour in it. For now I’ll step around the dropped dumbbells and avoid the sweaty bits on the machines, I’ll only use one hole of the machine storage area and make sure I clean up after myself. Perhaps one day one of these people will slip on the mess or drop the barbell on their foot and then we’ll all have a break from them for a while. One can only dream as I enter my gym tomorrow and endure the sweat pouring out of me as yet again they decide they can’t really be bothered to switch the aircon on or turn the music to an appropriate volume or upbeat channel.

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