Etiquette is considered a helpful skill in aiding daily social interaction. I’m polite to you, you’re polite to me, we all wipe our noses when snot starts to run, everyone’s happy. We’ve all adopted the rules of accepted behavior in most areas of functioning society except for one glaring exception: the gym.
For some reason, the rules of etiquette go flying out the front glass doors as soon as people enter their local House of Sweat.
As a self-professed workout junkie, I frequent gyms and workout studios on the regular, and it oftentimes results in a spike in my cortisol levels rather than the intended stress-reduction benefits. This is due to the inconsiderate habits of my fellow gym-goers.
Here’s my list of the top 10 gym grievances:
1. Inappropriate Workout Gear.
Fine. Show your stomach if it’s impressively toned. But don’t also then show your butt cheeks, your back, your feet… seriously. No one wants to see you bending over in a bikini except the pervy guy standing behind you. And you really don’t want that kind of attention.
2. Talking On Your Cell Phone.
"OHMYGOD I KNOW! I *huff* I could not believe her! What a bitch! WHAT? OHMYGOD!" Tell me: how am I supposed to hear to my Flo-Rida mix over that?
These individuals do one set, then sit. And sit. And probably play a couple of rounds of Draw Something on their iPhones. Then sit some more, yawning. Meanwhile, the crowd of people wishing to use the machine is getting so massive that it’s being mistaken for an Occupy movement. These machine-hogging individuals also like to go on long, leisurely hour-long walks on the treadmills at a pace of 2 mph even though signs posted at the gym restrict machine usage to 30 minutes.
4. Sweat, Sweat, Everywhere.
Wipe machines and equipment down after you use it. Why is this concept so hard to grasp? Sweat is disgusting, and yours will probably give me ringworm. Clean up that shit! Also, I have an unnatural fear of slipping on a pool of sweat left on a treadmill while I’m running. I’m convinced that’s how I will someday die.
5. Deodorant. Use It.
Speaking of sweat… Nothing - I mean NOTHING - is worse than trying to run on a treadmill next to some asshole who still lives with his mother and who apparently hasn’t learned what deodorant is yet. Trying to breathe in deeply while getting attacked by noxious fumes is difficult. Trying to prevent yourself from strangling the oblivious perpetrator is near impossible.
6. Trainer Wannabes.
These folks think they are experts on all things physical, and want to offer you their unsolicited (often unhelpful) advice. They may or may not have a potbelly or flabby underarms. They’ll stand in the corner, staring at you, until they finally come over and start informing you that you should use heavier weights, or increase your incline, or pull your shoulders back. They are often middle-aged trolls who want to pick up chicks at the gym. Best solution? Glare at them silently until they get the message and finally back off, a la Lisbeth Salander.
7. Broadcasting An iTunes Playlist.
Shit. I forgot my earbuds! You know what I’ll do? Put my iPod on Speaker mode and listen to it that way! WRONG.
Also, you like to work out to Ashlee Simpson? Really?
8. The Man-Grunt.
You know the guy, the one standing in front of the mirror using incorrect posture while lifting weights that are obviously WAY too heavy for him who lets out a roar every time he lifts the weight up. He thinks he is hot shit. You think he is obnoxious.
The man who grunts is probably also the man who sends his weights crashing to the ground after he’s finished, usually resulting in a sound so loud and so unpleasant that it actually kills small birds flying nearby.
10. Eating On The Workout Floor.
Aside from being completely counterproductive, this habit is also unsanitary and messy. Thanks for leaving your bagel crumbs all over the row machine! And that puddle of spilled Diet Coke? That will never, ever, get cleaned up. Which means sticky shoes for all!
Please, folks: if you go the gym, remember that basic etiquette rules apply. Stop being stupid.