I Realize this is a Gym, But Were You Raised in a Barn?

(Let me start by clarifying that I have nothing against barns. And no offense to those who may have, in fact, been raised in barns. In three weeks, my cousin is getting married in what appears to be a very nice barn. But I digress before I even begin…)

My fitness life has been quite hectic as of late. Between spending a few days out of town earlier this month and filling in for other instructors (meaning I’ve been teaching nearly double my weekly class load – as of last night, I’ve taught 22 classes this month … with six more scheduled in the next week … and that doesn’t count the three I declined to teach this week. Yes, I’m exhausted.), I’ve been forced to slack on my own personal workouts. Now, that’s not to say that I’ve gone easy on myself – just that I haven’t been lifting or running as often as I normally would in a typical week.

Which brings me to last night. My cycle class wrapped up around 6:45 p.m., and once I cleaned up my studio, I was left with just under 40 minutes to hit the weights before I had to force myself out the door. Perfect. First chance to touch a weight since my pathetic excuse for a chest/back workout following a 7-mile run on Monday. So, I make my way up to the second-floor weight room, and as I’d anticipated, no 10- or 15-lb. weights in sight (we had two sets of each once upon a time, but at some point earlier this year, one set of each must have grown some legs and walked off, because they have been MIA since at least March). That’s okay, I’d had a quick shoulder workout in mind, so I could actually use plates for most of what I was planning on doing, and I tend to keep an eye the rack when I’m waiting on them so I can swoop in and snag them as soon as the current user has returned them to their proper place.

Which brings me to one of my absolute biggest gym pet peeves. For those unfamiliar with a weight room, weights are often organized in a pretty straightforward manner – smallest to largest. What did I see in front of me? 5-lb. weights where they belonged. No 10- or 15-lb. weights. 25-lb. weights where the 20s belong. 30-lb. weights where the 25s belong. 35-lb. weights where the 30s belong. An empty space where the 35s should be.

Seriously? Can we not count? Or are we just really that lazy that we can’t move one weight to avoid having 10 in the wrong place? Or, better yet, put them back where they belong in the first place.

It’s probably just the perfectionist – my mother would say anal retentiveness – in me, but this sort of thing makes me absolutely insane. While some commercials would suggest matching numbers would be difficult for body builders (“I pick things up and put them down” … anyone?), the reality is, not putting a weight back in its proper place is just plain lazy. I stood there, watching people actually walk to the other side of the rack instead of returning their weights back where they belong, as I moved through my workout. Continuing to stare at the weight in the wrong place. Watching people get confused looks on their faces, then walking away. Wondering just how hard it is to simply clean up after oneself.

I know this kind of thing is not unique to my gym – I’ve seen it at the other two I’ve belonged to throughout the years – but I still fail to understand the difficulty in cleaning up after yourself, and putting things back where they belong. It makes me grateful that my club has a little thing they call “five minutes of pride,” in which the employees take a quick sweep around the gym, replacing weights or other equipment that have not made it back to their proper home. (I really appreciate it when I think about the many times I’ve had to remove eight or more 45-lb. plates from a leg press machine before I even have a chance to start my workout.)

So, where does this story (rant?) end? After watching half a dozen people either put something in the wrong place, I took the two seconds to put four sets of weights – none of which I actually used – back into place. Last time I checked, I wasn’t anybody’s mother. And I’m pretty sure if you made it past kindergarten, you can put something back where it belongs (and count). Today’s take-away? Be courteous to those around you. Don’t act like you were raised in a barn.

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8 thoughts on “I Realize this is a Gym, But Were You Raised in a Barn?

  1. My gym is littered about with weights ranging from 5-100lbs. Im sorry but if a hundred pound weight is blocking comfortable access to a machine for an older lady, we and she have a problem. Good post!

    • Thanks! I don’t even know why it still bothers me – I’ve been a regular gym goer for almost a decade, so you think I’d just be used to picking up after other people. But really, it’s not that hard …

  2. Actually I feel pretty much the same. What disgusts me the most is to see uni teacher sweating like pigs on the cardio machine and just walk away without giving it a single swept with their towel… knowing that the gym provides tissue and cleaning liquid in each room even in each ladies toilets… can you believe that ?

    • I know, it takes two seconds! People at my gym are pretty good about that part – but there are cleaning supplies (and reminders) all over the place, so I’d hope so! It’s just common courtesy.

  3. Yes, you can be a perfectionist. Love you anyway. When it comes to sharing things with others, you are right. Common curiosity of putting things back when they belong is one of my pet peeves. The first person to complain is the one that never puts things back. Are you that sloppy at home? It isn’t being a perfectionist, it’s being responsible. [Some people don’t get it. Ahem.. your brother in the whole house.] Good work Sarah 🙂 xoxoxo

    • I see it all the time, too. There was one day this other lady and I were sitting there watching someone walk to another part of the gym to put something away instead of just moving what was in its place. I finished whatever I was doing before she did, walked over, and fixed it. She smiled at me and said she was getting ready to fix the same thing, because it makes her crazy, too 🙂

  4. Whenever people don’t wipe off their sweat I point it out to them… I also graciously include the fact that I’m a chemist, and handling highly carcinogenic and toxic substances is what I do. Daily. Now I wouldn’t say that I’m threatening people, more, kind of implying that if they don’t act correctly some of my substances might found their way closer to them… Maybe a bit too close for comfort even..

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