How Not to Annoy the Regulars

Welp, it’s January. For us regular gym goers, it’s the worst time of the year. For maybe 3% of those gung ho about their resolutions to get fit, it’s the beginning of a lifestyle.

Last week, I wrote a post about how newbies can successfully get started on their new workout routines. Now that the gym is starting to fill up, and all the regulars are feeling their style a little more than cramped, I wanted to share a few suggestions to the new folks – trust me, follow these bits of advice, and you won’t stick out like sore thumb.

Just park already. One thing I’ve never been able to figure out are the people who drive around in circles, hunting for a parking spot close to the entrance. HELLO! You are at a gym! WALK!

Clean your machines when you are done. I watched a woman sweat all over a treadmill yesterday, then just walk away. Gyms stock wipes and/or cleaner every five feet for a reason – because nobody wants to touch your sweat (heck, I don’t want to touch my own sweat). It’s cold and flu season, people. Don’t be nasty.

Be mindful of other peoples’ space. I’ve never understood the people who will just waltz in and park themselves an inch away from you. Or those who take over entire sections of the gym (and more often than not, are doing nothing). I actually overheard a regular talking to one of the managers yesterday … describing the situation in which a guy tried to fight him after he encroached on the space he clearly was already using (yes, I was eavesdropping, because I couldn’t believe this actually happened).

Always re-rack your weights. Nothing makes me crazier than tripping over dumbells (usually close to my bodyweight) or not being able to find what I’m looking for. Use it, put it away. Your mother doesn’t work in your gym (and if she’s like mine, she’d make you clean up after yourself, anyway).

Stop creeping. Yes, machines are at a premium this time of year. That is no excuse to sit there and stare at someone, willing them to finish what they are doing so you can pounce on their machine (yes, this happened to me tonight. Girl was STARING at me a foot away from my treadmill. It was a little unsettling).

…and stop waiting while you’re at it. Just because you have your heart on a run today doesn’t mean you don’t have plenty of other options. While I may not like it, on many occasions I’ve changed up my plan simply because I’d rather spend my gym time working, rather than waiting. Try something new instead of just standing around!

Most of all, never be afraid to ask questions. Those of us who are just as likely to be in the gym on July 1 as we are on January 1 will respect you a lot more if you make an effort to learn the how and why of what you are doing, rather than wandering aimlessly around the gym (or worse yet, ending up injured as a result of bad form). Good luck – the effort is worth it!