Rule the World

It's time to begin my manifesto.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

No. 011: Gym Etiquette

When I rule the world: standards of gym behaviour will be strictly enforced.

Don't get me wrong - it's great that people go to the gym at all. Regular exercise keeps us healthy, helps control weight, does wonders for our mood, and is a great way to maintain good bone density, thus preventing us from breaking our hips when we're old. However, some people don't seem to know how to behave in a gym, or in a communal changing area. To help these people I will widely circulate the following guidelines.

Wipe down gym equipment after you've used it. Nobody wants to sit in a puddle of your sweat, or grasp handles slick with your sweatiness. Always take a gym towel with you, and enthusiastically use it whenever you get off a machine. If you haven't left any sweat you probably didn't work hard enough, so get back on and do another set of ten.

Concentrate on what you're doing. People who go to the gym and then spend the time hardly moving on a stationary bike whilst chatting loudly to a nearby friend are very distracting. And if you can hold a constant conversation you're not going fast enough, so get those legs moving until you're out of breath.

Don't lift weights too heavy for you. It makes the rest of the gym anxious that a vein will burst open in your forehead. And if you have to dramatically drop the dumb-bell to the ground with a resounding thump at the end of your reps, it's definitely too heavy. The crashing noise disturbs people. You run the risk of an edgy person like Monkey having an ugly 'Nam-like flashback and attacking you. It's not worth it.

Don't wear make-up at the gym. It's not a pick-up joint, and if you don't look sweaty and crappy by the end of it - you guessed it - you haven't worked hard enough.

Dress appropriately. Men who sweat a lot should not wear vest tops, as the sweat will splatter on nearby people and make them throw up. Jiggly women should not wear lycra. Apparently some gym instructors have a saying: 'Lycra is a right, not a privilege'.

Don't take the 'calories used' readouts too literally. The cross-trainer may swear that you've just used 500 calories, but that doesn't mean you now have free reign to scoff a big pizza. I once read that a high proportion of people who start exercising to lose weight actually end up gaining it, because they overestimate how many calories they've burned, and underestimate how many calories they eat.

Don't spend twenty minutes in the gym, twenty minutes stretching, and twenty minutes in the sauna, and then complain in the changing rooms that you never lose weight, and then go to the cafe and have a big fat muffin. It just annoys people and makes them think you're stupid.

In the pool, choose a lane where other people are swimming the same stroke as you. Don't jump in with a fast freestyler like Monkey and then begin a sedate dry-haired breaststroke, without waiting for him to finish a length and realise you're in there with him. He'll swim in to you and hurt you if he doesn't see you in time. If he does see you, he'll accidentally-on-purpose try to splash you and ruin your 'do.

In a yoga class, don't get there early and then sit around, having a loud and boring conversation with your friend. Most people get to yoga early so they can chill in the corpse pose, getting themselves ready for Downward Dog and Plough. They want to relax. Your voice is nasal and whiny, and not relaxing. And beware that, when I rule the world, people who leave a yoga class before the end, thus interrupting the final relaxation, will be banned from all future classes.

If you're a gym instructor, try to look fit. I did a Bodypump class recently, and the instructor was very jiggly and a dreadful advertisement for the class - I was in better shape than her, and I'm no Linda Hamilton. Gym instructors should also endeavour not to fool people into thinking they've somehow 'earned' treats by attending. The aforementioned instructor spent the whole class using such quasi-motivational phrases as 'two more sets and you can have that curry tonight', and 'think about all the chocolate you're going to eat', despite the fact that Bodypump is unaerobic and so doesn't burn the same kind of calories as, say, a Spinning class. She was also a complete geek, telling us to imagine sitting on Pierce Brosnon's knee when doing squats. I prefer my Secret Celebrity Boyfriends to be a little less wrinkly.

After a shower or a swim, dry yourself in the designated area instead of padding wetly to your locker and turning the changing room into a swamp. Wet socks annoy people and make them hate you.

You don't have to get dressed under a towel, but try to limit gratuitous nudity. It's one thing to rub a bit of body lotion on your shins while half-naked, but it's quite another to sit, nude, for half an hour, liberally anointing yourself with Johnson and Johnson's finest. At least put your knickers on. And there's seldom any reason to stand buck-naked in front of a communal mirror and apply make-up.

Speaking of make-up, be mindful of the fact that several other people want to use that mirror as well. Try to cut your cosmetic routine down a bit. If you need forty different products to sculpt, bronze and highlight your face into submission, you may have issues beyond the scope of this manifesto.

Save some grooming for your own bathroom. Plucking one stray eyebrow hair? Fine. Squeezing spots, taming unruly whiskers, or attempting surgery on ingrown nasties in your bikini area? A little unsavoury.

Of course, in my world gym instructors will be helpful and friendly, gyms won't be populated by muscle-bound freaks hogging the hand weights, and changing rooms will be purged of perky women with envy-inducing fabulous bodies.


At 4:28 pm, Blogger Jessy said...

Great work on your blog - it was very enlightening. You've got a lot of useful info on there about stationary bike so I've bookmarked your site so I don't lose it. I'm doing a lot of research on stationary bike exposed and have just started a new blog - I'd really appreciate your comments

At 8:25 am, Blogger Rolo said...

I found a lot of useful info about stationary bike on your blog - thank you. I also have a new stationary bike tips blog - please click over and have a look

At 10:35 am, Blogger Brett said...

What a Helpful Addition!
Back Brushes

At 11:30 am, Blogger raj mangal said...

I really enjoyed your blog. It’s always nice when you find something that is not only informative but entertaining. Excellent!Personal Trainer Network


Post a Comment

<< Home