I typically enjoy going to the gym, but lately it has become an unbearable feat. I am self-employed and work out of my home, so I try to get to the gym following the morning crowd in hopes of having unfettered access to the equipment. Unfortunately, I am not the only one who thinks this way, making my plan a bit more skewed than I had originally thought. Around 8 a.m., when people with jobs are at their offices, the unemployable show up. This crowd usually tends to allow gym decorum to fly completely out the window.
Let me preface the remainder of this rant by letting you know that my gym is extremely small, and time on the equipment comes at a great premium. I played college sports, and have always enjoyed a good session in the gym. I like to get my workouts over with quickly and wear myself out, so having to wait to get on the machines makes my time in the gym less effective, which irritates the living piss out of me. I’m sure that you will all say “Just go to another gym”. That is a valid argument, but I live in the middle of nowhere, and healthy lifestyles aren’t something a lot of residents in West Virginia covet, so my choice of a gym is awfully limited.
Hopefully the following etiquette lessons will correct the problems:
There are only four treadmills in my gym, which are always tied up with four people walking 1.5 miles per hour. The nice part is that they are only able to last for a few minutes before having to get off the machine to grab a snack. The downside is that the conveyor belt is smothered in Dorito cheese that has oozed out of their pores, requiring a fairly solid wipe-down for fear of my feet sticking to it.
ETIQUETTE LESSON #1: Walking for four minutes will not counteract the Snickers bars and mozzarella that you will be shoveling into your face the remainder of the day.
Medical professionals recommend that you perform thirty minutes of high-intensity cardiovascular activity three times a week to maintain a healthy lifestyle and reduce your chances of heart disease. As a general rule of thumb, if you are able to talk on your cell phone while performing a cardiovascular exercise, YOU ARE NOT DOING IT RIGHT! Nobody in the gym wants to hear your mindless, banal drivel, so waddle your fat ass into the parking lot or get to work.
ETIQUETTE LESSON #2: If your pulse is significantly raised by walking for two minutes, you can probably attain the same high level of heart pump by sitting on your couch and convincing yourself that there is no more fudge in the house.
Once I can successfully complete jogging, I move on to weight training. I work out one body part each day, and the limited amount of equipment forces me to be creative. My gym only has one bench for chest workouts and it is invariably tied up with people using weights that never seems to exceed that of a can of soup.
ETIQUETTE LESSON #3: If lifting your hands over your head gives you the same workout as you would get tying up a weight machine, go the f*** home and give those of us with a modicum of athleticism the opportunity to lift uninterrupted.
Weightlifting form is something that I take very seriously. Twisting strangely during any exercise could potentially cause injuries that could take years to recover from. Apparently, I am the only one in the gym who actually gives a shit about this topic.
ETIQUETTE LESSON #4: Please make sure not to stretch before working out, and feel free to toss the weights around in an erratic fashion. I will happily carry you to the parking lot when you are unable to walk any longer, but you’re on your own after that.
Fred is a very old man who comes to the gym every morning in jeans, always holding a big cup of coffee. The World War II hat atop his head is a constant reminder of his service to our country, and most likely takes him back to a time in his Navy days when he was sharp, fit, and had a full life ahead of him. Today, Fred smells like a mix of formaldehyde and eggs. More disturbing is that Fred refuses to let any attractive woman work out without forcing them to hear “It’s gonna rain this afternoon”, or “Have ya ever had Salisbury steak?”
Every weekday for two years, I have seen Fred, and every weekday for two years, Fred hasn’t worked out at all. He simply shows up, watches the morning news, and verbally rapes the best looking woman in the room.
I understand that the gym is a wonderful place for social interaction, but if you smell peculiar and are 70 years someone’s senior, you may not get laid from your persistent hounding. You are unfortunately in the midst of a vicious cycle. Your loneliness will never be cured by pissing people off, but I can assure you that pissing people off is why you are lonely.
ETIQUETTE LESSON #5: If you want to talk to someone and drink coffee, go to Starbucks. If you want companionship, get a cat. In either case, leave everyone at the gym alone.
Shorts, athletic shoes, and T-shirts are all acceptable gym attire, yet the patrons in my gym tend to lean a different way. They have a clothing comfort level more synonymous with that of Grizzly Adams. Many members feel it necessary to don mullets, steel-toed boots, and camouflage.
Oh, the camouflage!
I am a firm believer that you should dress for the occasion at hand, so cut your hair, remove the hunter orange ball cap, and add sleeves to cover up your disgustingly under-toned arms. Your Harley Davidson tattoos may be endearing to you and whichever one of your cousins you are currently sleeping with, but the rest of us don’t give a shit.
ETIQUETTE LESSON #7: No man in the history of man has picked up a woman in the gym while wearing raccoon-blood stained jeans. Change them.
Hopefully these lessons will permeate your thick skulls and make you think the next time you enter my personal space. On the other hand, I hope you never step foot in the gym again. I am paying for a haven of health that you are encroaching upon with your “Git-R-Done” T-shirts, and porn mustaches. I deserve and demand more for my $19.99 a month.