Anyone who visits (and actually exercises at) a gym at least twice a week will inevitably develop a routine. For me, the routine is as follows: check in, locker room for stretching, water and the loo (because as soon as you jump on the elliptical, the urge to go sneaks up on you), then 20-45min cardio on 2-3 machines, 20 minutes of weights working various body parts, then more stretching in the locker room and a water bottle fillup before I head home.
On top of developing a routine, one also develops some pet peeves as a result of the behavior of some of the clientele. Some of my complaints are justifiable for health reasons, and others simply vex me. But my gym would undoubtedly be a much happier place if I didn't face one or more of the following faux pas every time I walked in the door.
- Working out in non-athletic gear. Cargo shorts? Polo shirts? Slip-on Pumas? Button-downs?? Denim cutoffs?? Ghetto hoops??? Swimming trunks??????? Yes, I have honestly seen all of those, and I'm not sure how these people are even allowed on the floor like that. If you could spring for the gym membership, drop by Old Navy or Marshall's and get some cotton shorts, t-shirts and sweatpants, immediately. You are not impressing anyone with your Lacoste polo, and those earrings are about to get snagged by an errant finger or free weight. Plus, are you even comfortable?
- Not wiping down equipment after you use it. H1N1 or not, touching equipment glistening with someone else's sweat is just plain revolting. I know you're a big tough guy training for a triathlon with Lance and Phelpsie, and you can't let your heart rate drop one beat for even a second, but do us all a favor - jog your pretty little self over to the paper towels and spray, and clean up the mess you made. Your athletic prowess isn't contagious, but your carelessness is airborne.
- Talking on the phone while working out. First off, if you can have a controlled conversation for more than 30 seconds, you're not working hard enough. Second, I'm not going to risk hearing loss to drown out your conversation about the dog's diabetes. Third... READ THE EFFING SIGN!
- Weight machine ADD. 20 reps before moving on? Fine. A few sets of 10 with a breather in between? Great. But 5 here, 5 on the next, back to the first, 5 on yet another... Not only is this unsanitary (you can bet these guys aren't wiping down), but it bogarts machines, and it's really obnoxious when your homeboys follow you around egging you on like Nick Cannon wannabes.
- Utter lack of apparent work. If you're a senior citizen, recovering from a knee injury or are very overweight, I'm totally understanding of a slow pace and modified work. To each his own! But if the gym is packed, with people waiting for treadmills, and you're going 1.8mph on a 0 incline for 2 hours because you want to read this month's Cosmo, and you're in decent health, you're just being selfish. Some people actually want to burn off last night's wine!
- Water cooler behavior. This is not the break room, nor your Monday night Gossip Girl club. If you want to chat, please find a better place than the paper towels/spray shelf, the exit of the locker room, the water fountain or the only walkspace between the ellipticals and treadmills. The gym is crowded enough.
And my #1 gym faux pas....
CHILDREN AT THE GYM.
There is no Romper Room. There is no baby yoga. There isn't even a giant empty mat which would welcome children doing jumping jacks or playing on it. So why are you here?
Well, your parents brought you because they didn't want to pay for the babysitter, or they think their little 10-year old needs to shed a few pounds. But you are too short and small for these machines, and you are very likely to get hurt. You are not supposed to assume the "spread eagle" while standing on the elliptical pedals. The last thing I need after 45 minutes on the cross ramp and grueling arm toning exercises is to worry about tripping over your little boy on my way to the locker room. Leave the kids at home, or find a child-friendly Y that will accommodate all of you. Now GTFO.
I think it's time to find a new gym!
PS: Thanks to everyone who's been reading and commenting on my romantic escapades. When I have more juice I'll give you the update, but in the meantime I appreciate all the luv ;-)