Most fitness experts agree that weight training is the most effective way to lose weight and build muscle. But going to the gym isn’t always the most pleasant of experiences. Aside from the fact that you’re torturing yourself with large slabs of iron for a couple hours at a time—not exactly pleasant—sometimes other people in the gym make the experience even more tedious and painful.
Just like in everyday life, there’s a code of etiquette that exists in the weight-room—most gyms, in-fact, will have theirs posted somewhere on the wall. But we’ve all seen that guy or girl—usually a guy, to be honest—who has no notion of gym do’s and don’ts, or choses not to adhere to them. Those individuals make you wish you had your own private gym at home. Unfortunately most of us don’t have that luxury, so naming and shaming a hypothetical gym rule-breaker will have to do as a consolation prize.
1. The dumbbell heard ‘round the world
Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you’re using dumbbells and can’t finish your sets without trying to slam a hole through the floor, the dumbbells that you’re using are probably too heavy.
Nothing is more distracting/annoying/infuriating in the gym than being next to someone who finishes a set of dumbbell bench presses and violently drops 150 pounds worth of metal on the floor. It creates the kind of moronic-macho atmosphere that gives gyms a bad name, and intimidates weight-room beginners.
There are many alternatives to slamming dumbbells, which include finding a spotter, easing up on the weight, or joining a Cross-Fit gym and slamming to your heart’s content.
2. Picking up after yourself
Unfortunately the same guy that usually slams dumbbells around often leaves those same dumbbells on the floor for someone to put back on the rack. Of course we can ascertain that that same person can’t pick up after themselves because the weight they’ve selected is too heavy. That, or they’re being really lazy.
Either way, if you can muster the strength to take a pair of dumbbells off the rack, then you should be able to muster the strength to put them back once you’re done. No one wants to be tripping over your mess, or having to pick up after you.
This isn’t your bedroom and you’re not 14—unless you are, in which case, pick up after yourself kid!
3. Take a picture. It’ll last longer
Gyms are often considered the bastion of self-absorbed meatheads—and not without good reason. Not ignoring the fact that the majority working-out in gyms are there for their own personal health and appearance, there’s a minority of people who use the gym as a place to pick up, or ogle girls—a sweatier, smellier version of a nightclub with terrible music. Not cool.
There are lots of reasons why women avoid the weight-room. Sometimes it’s because they prefer cardio or yoga to pumping iron, but oftentimes it’s because there are some guys in the weight-room, who instead of concentrating on their own workout, seem fixated by the presence of the rare female.
Guys, this isn’t prison or some USO Show. Realize that women are more common than you think, and would probably prefer to workout without being stared at. Focus on your own form and appearance.
4. I prefer to be covered in my own sweat thanks
There’s no surer sign that you’re putting in the effort/generally working your ass off in the gym, than being drenched from head to toe in sweat—unless you’re working out in a sauna, in which case, you’re just hot.
As much as back sweat, and every other type of sweat, is an inevitable and welcome by-product of working hard, you don’t really want to give someone else an intimate sense of your hard work. Sure, you’re going to make that bench sweaty when your crushing the iron, but there’s no excuse for leaving it in that state.
Most gyms will have multiple spray bottles all over the place, so wipe down that bench or piece of equipment once you’re done with it. Otherwise you may as well be forcing someone to wear your sweaty gym shirt.
5. The last time I checked that was a piece of gym equipment
No one likes the meathead who stomps around the gym intimidating everyone into giving up machines with a simple grunt. At the same time, however, the individual who sits on equipment without actually using it—staring soulfully into the distance (To do a set or not to do a set, that is the question)—is equally as infuriating.
The last time I checked, the library is free and you can sit there and read a book for as long as your heart desires—except on Sundays, when their hours are quite limited. The point is, gyms are often really busy places, and the line-ups to use machines, or to get on a bench, can test the limits of everyone’s patience. No one would begrudge another person a few minutes rest to recover from a strenuous set, but if you just want to sit down for half an hour, stay at home.