Let’s Talk About Cleaning Up After Ourselves…

If there is one thing that makes me crazy in the gym, it’s people who do not put their weights back where they belong when they are done using them. But that’s not what this post is about.

I want to talk about using good judgement when you are cleaning up after yourself. Namely, being aware of the people around you and thinking about the impact of your actions on the people around you.

So, this morning, I went into the gym, ran about 6.5 miles (this was actually about twice as much as I thought I’d start with … but I felt really good this morning, so I just went with it), then made my way back downstairs for a little bit of light leg and shoulder work. One of the last exercises that I chose to do – mostly because I know I don’t do it enough – was the leg press. So I loaded up about 250 lbs., settled myself in, and got working on a three-exercise circuit (wide legs for 15, feet together for 20, then a little calf raise for another 20). About halway through, the couple on the machine next to me finished up with their exercises. Surprisingly, they started unloading the machine before they went on to their next exercise (let’s be honest … if there is one machine that people never unload the weights from, it is a leg press).

Which is where the little pet peeve of mine reared its ugly head.

One thing that I’ve always been really careful about is only returning plates to either the free-standing racks, or, if there isn’t one nearby, onto a machine that is not currently in use. Which of these did this couple decide to do? Neither. They decided to put them on racks on the machine that I was using.

Now, keep in mind that my gym is huge – and they take advantage of as much of the space as they can. Meaning that there are plenty of other machines with open racks on which to return plates. At about 10 a.m. on a Saturday, maybe 15% of the machines in that general area were actually in use (yes, this is why I LOVE a gym on an early-ish Saturday morning). So I fail to understand why my machine, albeit the closest to the one they were using, was the one they chose.

Here’s the thing … it wouldn’t bother me so much had the machine not started SHAKING as I was mid-press. It’s unsafe. How do they know that something couldn’t happen as a result of the shaking to send the 250 lbs. atop the machine down onto my significantly less heavy body? I could have been crushed. Luckily, I wasn’t, but still … I couldn’t shake the thought that the shaking machine would bring me to my untimely death (okay, that’s a little dramatic).

Bottom line: be aware of the people around you when you are cleaning up after yourself. You never know when your actions could lead to another person’s injury. And as always, put your weights back where they belong! Trust me, taking two seconds to keep your gym clean makes a  world of difference to everyone.