I wanted to talk about a few things I’ve seen at the gym lately that drive me nuts. Over the last few years, there have been some new fitness trends like CrossFit and TRX that have made their way into the weight room; there’s also people who are doing their own “types” of training.... I’m supportive of anyone out to reach their goals, but sharing a space comes with some etiquette. Now, entertaining as it is to watch someone theatrically doing self-taught martial arts in between the gym equipment, it is also very distracting. These areas are kept open for stretching and mat work; not erratic shadow boxing and grunting while spinning into the air, exerting every bit of energy you have. There are gyms made for this, they are called martial arts studios, and they are free of all equipment to avoid an accidental roundhouse kick to leg press machine. Check them out Van Damme.
Another one of my favorites, is the throwing and dropping of dumbbells. I think a good rule of thumb is: if you can’t put them down the way you picked them up, maybe they are too heavy for you. Remember, nobody cares about how much weight you are lifting, and nobody is watching, so stop lifting like you have an audience. The only thing getting bigger while lifting with improper form, is your ego. Most of this all pertains to males; You rarely see a woman throw down 100lb dumbbells and then stand up grunting and flexing in the mirror. These practises are all fine, if you want to act like this in the comfort of your own private gym; but when in public, no one wants to see it. The rack is a place for form, safety and gains. It’s not interpretive theater, it’s not a cathartic safe room, and no one wants a show to your public exorcism. Please, order a screaming pillow online and get it out in your car before you enter the doors.
Also, guy yelling and tossing weights, re-rack your dumbbells when you’re done. Most machines are still left with plates on them, and bars strewn all over the ground. Take the time to leave the gym the way you would if someone wasn’t there to clean up after you. I don’t think an elderly person wanting to use the leg press needs to be un-racking 16 plates before they throw on a couple of 25’s. Your mom doesn’t work here (she’s at my house doing my food prep for me).
So who belongs at the gym you ask? In my (obviously) modest opinion, everyone does. But please be aware of your surroundings, behaviour and your use of the physical space. I too was once a newbie, and all of these unnecessary practices made me question what I was doing there, distracting and inhibiting my goals. So try smiling, softly placing the weights back, shadow boxing in your own bathroom mirror and cleaning up after yourself to allow for everyone to use the space.
All ranting aside, what’s my point? People just need to be respectful of the equipment and the people using it. If you want to work out and make a giant spectacle of yourself, please do it at home, or post it on YouTube, so we can watch and laugh on our own time. To the rest of you? Keep grinding, I will you give a polite, quiet nod as I gently re-rack my dumbbells.
Author: Nic Foxon | Foxon is a certified personal trainer and coaches full time at the private Next Level Performance studio.