You can take the following as advice if you so wish but really this is just me ranting because the last two weeks have been one hit of my biggest gymming pet peeves after another. It was seemingly the week for annoying people both at work and at the gym. Not a fun time, really. So, my top 10 pet peeves while at the gym!
1: People who don’t rack their weights or put their equipment away
This is one of the rudest things you can do and my number one no-no against gym etiquette.
Think about being at home for a minute. You want to make yourself a sandwich but you walk into the kitchen to find the bench space covered in a food processor, a bowl, an oven tray, and used utensils. You now have to clean up somebody else’s cooking mess before you can use the kitchen for your own purpose. That is the same thing as using something at the gym and then not putting it away. For one thing, when it comes to the olympic bars and their weights, it’s actually dangerous to leave them lying around or racked without taking the weights off. Not everybody may be able to lift the weights you have used off a racked bar, or even worse, lift up a bar on the floor in order to remove the weights. That is DANGEROUS. Also, inconsiderate, as it stops people from using that bar. Leaving weights lying around is both dangerous and untidy and just not cool. Rack your olympic bars without weights on them, and rack the weights back on their stands.
Leaving any equipment you have used – be it yoga mats, weights, kettle bells, medicine balls, exercise balls, resistance bands, anything – lying around isn’t okay. If you use it, put it back where you got it from (with weights removed if that is the case) so that other people can use it and nobody trips on it or has to clean up your mess.
2: People who don’t wipe down a machine once they’re finished with it
It is seriously so gross to sit down in somebody else’s sweat or touch anything covered in somebody’s bodily fluids. More than that, it’s unhygienic. If you’re sick (you really should take a couple of days off from the gym anyway but that’s a different discussion) you could pass those germs along to somebody else through those icky bodily fluids you left on one of the machines. It’s pretty standard practice to put a towel down underneath you on a machine. And I don’t know about other places, but my gyms provide paper towels and cleaning spray to wipe down your machines and bars after you’ve used them. Just do it. It’s takes 10 seconds and it’s just polite, alright?
3: People who use a machine or a piece of equipment and then spend 10 minutes on their phone and only 2 minutes actually using it
The other day I wanted to use the balance trainer after my warm up. Another girl came and got it so, no biggie, there were other things I could do first. Only when I started my workout five minutes later and she still had it, she had spent 4 minutes and 30 seconds of those five minutes, leaning on the ball while scrolling through her phone and 30 seconds doing an ab “exercise” (I use quotation marks because she only did roughly six of whatever it was and it honestly doesn’t look like it was doing anything for her at all). She continued in the same vein for another 10 minutes. Of the 15 minutes she had the balance trainer, she spent maybe 3 actually doing something with it, the rest on her phone. In those fifteen minutes I could have done 4 different activities and would have only spent maybe 2 minutes in rest time changing songs on my spotify playlist.
This sort of behaviour is not cool and it happens all too often, more often in the all-female gym I use than the co-ed one (more on that in Number 10). Sure, you pay for your gym membership, use it however you want, but I have no patience for people who spend more time in the gym on their phones than they do actually working out. Especially if they’re doing so on machines or with equipment that I would like to be using to actually work. It is incredibly rude and inconsiderate and it ties in with number 10 on this list.
4: People who stare unabashedly at you as you work out
I have talked before about people looking at you in the gym, how more often than not they’re making sure you’re doing okay or are interested in the exercise you’re doing. But that is when somebody looks over a few times and watches for a short period. When somebody flat out stares for a long time while you’re working out it becomes uncomfortable and, frankly, it’s irritating. I don’t care why you’re staring – if it’s my loud and brightly coloured gym gear, if it’s the intensity with which I’m doing my workout, if it’s my unusual exercises, if it’s my facials (I know they’re outrageous sometimes), whatever it is – stop it and pay attention to your own workout. Especially if you’re staring with a look on your face as if you trod in dog doo. Even more especially if they’re staring at my ass or my chest. Just… just stop it.
5: People who give your gym gear snooty looks
I like brightly patterned gym clothes. I shop at Cotton On for most of my gym wear because it’s decently priced and always really pretty. However, most of the women who use my gym wear monochromatic gym wear in greys and blacks, or sometimes blues. So, I stand out a little. I don’t mind this, so much, I’ve always been rather eccentric with the way that I dress. I wore brightly coloured skinny jeans for most of my teenage years before the trend really caught on as mainstream and my classmates used to snicker a little. I didn’t care then and I don’t care now. But seriously, if you spend time while you’re at the gym sneering at what other people are wearing to work out, then what the hell are you doing there? This is something that only happens in the all-female gym. In the co-ed gym nobody blinks at my spangly tights, or bright pink sports bras. And nobody takes a double look if I’m in a cropped shirt or a sports bra (unless it’s a skeezy double take, which, ew), with nothing extra covering my torso if I get overheated during a workout. Yet, wear just your sports bra in the all-female gym, and suddenly people turn their nose up as if you were working out naked. I roll my eyes but it is really annoying. Focus on your squat technique, lady, before you strain your back and let me box comfortably.
6: People who don’t do proper cool down stretches
Now, this really has nothing to do with me so I debated whether or not to include it on the list but it truly bothers me enough that I had to include it. I’m guilty of sometimes leaving the gym without a cooldown because I need to catch the bus but I can assure you that once I’m home, I stretch out all my muscles before jumping in the shower, then I roll my little massage ball over any muscles I went particularly hard on that day. I ice my knee if I went hard on leg day. Proper recovery is essential to a healthy fitness routine. Now, I suppose those people who don’t cool down properly might be doing the same thing as me BUT sometimes I see people sitting on the studio floor in front of the mirror, chatting to their workout buddy and half heartedly stretching and only holding those stretches for a couple of seconds a piece. It makes me cringe every time because I just imagine how their poor muscles aren’t being allowed to recover properly from their workout. In the first couple of months of my fitness routine, I strained one of my hip flexors because I didn’t warm up or cool down properly. Now I spend 10-15 minutes on my warm up and cool down stretches every time because injury prevention is just as important as the workout. Please cool down properly, I wince for every person that doesn’t.
7: People who inconsiderately set up in your way
I hate hate hate it when I have set up my little space for a circuit or a core workout or a warm up/cool down with everything I need and as out of people’s way as I can manage, and then along comes somebody who decides they just HAVE TO use the space directly beside, in front, or behind me to the point of me having to move so that I won’t hurt them. For example, I skip to warm up every second day. I make sure I’m in a space where nobody will get hit with my rope. One day, somebody decided they would just have to do some exercises right beside me, i.e. where my rope would be swinging (funnily enough this is the instance where a girl was using the balance trainer I had planned to use and then spent 15 minutes on her phone). Not only was there an entire free studio she could have used but the space she set up in isn’t supposed to be used for anything but the sled so she shouldn’t have been in that space anyway (the very reason I was skipping beside it because the only people who would need it where people who wanted to use the sled and I would have moved if somebody had wanted to). But, nope, this girl had to set up in a space she shouldn’t have been in, right next to somebody who needed a bit of space, when there was an entire empty room she could have used. Rude. Inconsiderate. Don’t do that. Please, I beg of you.
8: People who don’t ask if you’re using something and take it
I try not to set up a circuit that uses too much equipment unless the gym is fairly empty as I feel bad for using lots of things at once, I feel like an equipment hog. Thankfully I own my own skipping rope, resistance bands, ankle weights etc. so I don’t have to use some of the gym’s stuff. But I do still need to use a lot of their things as I don’t plan on carting kettle bells and dumb bells around with me all the time. So, one day I’m doing a HIIT circuit that includes kettle bell swings and medicine ball slams. I had moved to the TRX suspension trainer to do pull ups, right next to my mat. I had placed the kettle bell and the medicine ball on my mat with my water bottle and towel to return to them on my next run through of the circuit. I turned around after completing my pull ups and some girl had made off with my kettle bell. In the grand scheme of things it wasn’t a huge deal. I grabbed one of a slightly lower weight and did a few extra swings on my next circuit to make up for the lesser weight, but that is beside the point. When something is clearly being used by another person, have the decency to ask if they are finished with it, or if you may use it, DO NOT JUST TAKE IT. It’s so rude.
9: People who don’t wait until you’ve racked your bar before trying to move past
This one is just plain stupid. I have concussed myself by hitting my head on the end of an olympic bar (it was not in use, it was racked, I was not aware how close my head was to the bar. Oops). Those things are hard as hell and that concussion wasn’t fun. I was laid up on the couch for three days. So, when somebody is squatting, or snatching, or deadlifting, DO NOT WALK DIRECTLY IN THE PATH OF THEIR LIFTS! Especially squats and snatches which involve the bar being at head height. I’m very conscious of people around me when I’m squatting so I pause if somebody walks too close but that is also rude because you’re interrupting my workout. But, honestly, it is just genuinely stupid to walk in the path of somebody’s squats. If you need something nearby them, signal them and ask if you can just grab it. They will wait for you. Otherwise you risk being hurt and that person feeling terrible about it. Don’t do it.
10: People who are clearly not in the gym to work but are there to waste time or be ogled
Now, here’s a problem that I only encounter occasionally in my all-female gym (read: girl who took the balance trainer and then spent 15 minutes on her phone. Never forget, never forgive). Mostly, I encounter it in the co-ed gym. Men and women alike who go to the gym with the precise purpose of showing off their bodies. They’re easy to spot. The guys will be shirtless or wearing super tight muscle shirts, won’t be breaking much of a sweat, but will stand by the mirrors and do about 100 curls just to pump their biceps. And the girls will be wearing a FULL FACE OF MAKE UP. Seriously, you don’t wear make up to the gym if you’re serious about your workout because you’ll just sweat it off. No cute gym selfie is worth mascara in your eyes or streaky foundation from the sweat (I take a lot of gym selfies, so I don’t judge the selfies, just the make up). These are also the people who will work out for 1 minute and then take a 5 minute rest period on their phone, while still hogging the machine/equipment they’re “using” to “exercise”. It’s infuriating because I’m there to work, damn it, and they’re inconveniencing me. Use your time and your gym membership how you want, by all means, but the moment it gets in the way of my actually serious workout, I’m gonna be judging you so hard. So hard.