This is not a rant. It is a list of 10 solutions that, if implemented, will make a good thing better, because for the most part I like the gym.
I like the gains. I like how the rhythm of weightlifting vibes with my playlist of 90s gangster rap. And I like that the gym enables me to hilariously believe that benching 225 pounds means I am well conditioned and of overall good health.
But the gym has its drawbacks, and as with most public places, the problems are with the people. But I’m not here to nitpick. In fact, in the spirit of tolerance, I’m willing to overlook any strange and annoying gym behavior as long as it doesn’t impact me directly.
The college grad snapping mirror selfies…Lookin good, bro. Enjoy that metabolism while you got it.
The couple playing grab-ass between sets of calf raises…Nice. Happy for you guys.
The meathead grunting like a barbarian warlord through an entire squat routine…That’s cool. I got headphones.
All of this is fine and good. It’s the other stuff — the selfish and lazy and boorish behavior of a few that negatively impact the experience of many — that has to stop. So here now are the 10 commandments of gym etiquette.
1. Thou Shalt Not Flop Thy Dong All Over the Locker Room
I get it, we all have dicks. What I don’t get is why this fact turns every men’s locker room into an all out dick frenzy.
Now, I’m not suggesting some sort of crazy, fascist dick ban, or that you do the whole pull your shirt over your knees while changing briefs thing, but is it too much to ask to tie on a towel before galloping off to the showers?
Locker rooms are small. They have tight corners, and I bend down far too many times during my dressing/undressing routine for there to be rogue dicks everywhere. Someone’s gonna lose an eye.
2. Thou Shalt Please God Don’t Talk to Me
Despite what the sales guy behind the desk promised, the gym is not a place to ‘get social’. And while it’s a bummer that someone would join to find friends, it’s not enough for me to make even the smallest personal sacrifice.
Listen, I can’t spend 5 of my 60 minutes allotted for working out talking T-wolves, Twins, and Teddy with this poor bastard. I’m a 30 year old father with a declining metabolism and a commitment to spend 40 hours a week in a cubicle. Small talk with gym randos doesn’t make the priority list. It’s not even in the ballpark.
3. Thou Shalt Not Ask to Work In
Is today’s workout etched in stone, tatted on your forearm, and signed in blood? Can you not wait 2 damn minutes, or you know, do whatever it is you were gonna do next then come back?
Personally, I don’t understand how working in became a thing. We don’t take turns anywhere else. I’m not shouldering through people at the DMV, asking to ‘get a quick set in’ on this license renewal, or pounding on the stall door of the work bathroom, hoping to ‘hop in real quick’.
If a machine is in use, then you cannot use it because that machine is in use. Accept it, move on, but at the same time…
4. Shit or Get Off the Pec Deck
The no work in approach is only viable if machines are used for working out and not for Tinder, t-bombs, and Twitter.
5. Thou Shalt Re-Rack Thy Weight
This is like the only rule posted anywhere and still nobody cares. An unracked weight looks like it’s in use. Six shifts of workouts pass before someone finally wanders over to the orphaned EZ curl bar, inspects its temperature, then has to interrupt everyone in a 10 foot radius to ask, Hey, uh, you using that? Take 3 seconds and re-rack your weights.
6. Thou Shalt Not Superset Everything
Nothing is worse than arriving at the gym to find that you can’t use anything because some giant dude with a weight belt has collected 98% of the 45 pound plates, distributed them across the leg press, squat rack and deadlift bar, and is now in the process of supersetting 60 sets of one rep. Someone needs to kick this guy’s ass. Anyone?
7. Thou Shalt Not Continue to Solicit
This one is on the trainers. Is my monthly membership not enough? In how many ways must I express my unwavering disinterest in Warrior Strength class before I’m left alone?
8. Thou Shalt Limit Consecutive Uses of Workout Clothes.
Laundry is an awful chore and a weekly source of general sadness. But that doesn’t mean I say screw it and force a bunch of innocent Friday gym goers to deal with a funk that’s been festering since Monday’s chest routine. When your gym gear smells like the the back of Volkswagen microbus after a week-long hippie orgy, it’s time to change your sleeveless.
9. Thou Shalt Manage Thy Sweating
Sweat is to be absorbed by clothing, or a sweatband, or a towel. Excess sweat should be sprayed, wiped, and sanitized. Sweat is not to be worn like a badge of honor. It is not to be perspired then smeared across multiple machines like a mucus trail from a snail. If you want to go buck wild on the elliptical, maybe put a towel down before soaking the head rest of the bench press, you stupid asshole.
10. Thou Shalt Not Show Off
Ok, I am gonna nitpick. So I lied. BFD. Listen, I like to feel accomplished after half-assing my way around the gym for an hour. However, it’s hard to be satisfied with my progress on the shoulder press when Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden is over there combo-ing suicides into burpees. Nobody likes a show off. Stop it.