From time to time I work out with someone for the first time. I put my headphones in and it happens. Every. Single. Time. We’ll be moving from one workout to the next and they’ll start chatting me up about some tragic but simultaneously hilarious incident from the previous weekend. I stop them, point to the doors and say this: “You see those doors we walked in? All that drama, all those worries, all that nonsense; we left it at those doors. When we’re finished with the work out, I want you to tell me all about it. Now, let’s get to work.”
2. Curling in the Squat Rack
Think of the gym as a church, and the squat rack is the altar and some of us are trying to get right with the Lord! The squat rack was designed for just that; quad crushing, tree trunk building, I hate them but I have to do them squats! The reason this rule must never be broken is because the squat rack is often limited to one, sometimes two per gym, so taking them up leaves few alternatives for those trying to get the ultimate lower body workout.
There are many more alternatives to absolutely obliterating your arms by moving some heavy weight, and one of them is at the bench press. The logic here is that most gyms have multiple; four, sometimes five or six bench presses and so by moving there the chances of taking up someone’s sole chance of a great chest movement are greatly decreased.
3. Sharing Your Workout Knowledge
Look, offering workout advice is not too dissimilar from parenting advice. Everybody has their own way of doing it, and nobody cares about your way. Are some people doing it wrong? Absolutely. Is that any of your business? No way. Keep your music up, your head down and worry about yourself. If somebody you know, or even a complete stranger approaches you and asks you for assistance, by all means go out of your way to share whatever knowledge you have! Just don’t be the guy who interrupts other people by offering advice that nobody asked for.
4. Claiming Several Machines/Dumbbells
I get it, you’ve got the perfect triple drop set reverse pyramid workout with the bench press, cable machine and decline machine. However, the gym is a small place with a huge demographic and you can’t call dibs on a myriad of machines and blatantly interfere with others from using them. If you’re not working out on it at that second, it’s free game.
5. Rack Your Weights
This is the gym, not your momma’s house. Nobody wants to pick up after you. Did you get those 55’s out? Put them back. Did you get that yoga mat out to do a quick ab circuit out? Put it back. The gym is a place to release the stress, and nothing is more stressful than someone not being able to find the EZ curl bar because you were too spent to put it back.
Secondly, the gym is a much safer place when people don’t leave heavy weights and obtrusive, metallic bars laying around where someone could get hurt. Just common sense, folks.
6. Clean Up After Yourself
I learned a long time ago that when I truly hit the rhythm of my workout, I sweat. A lot. I used to get up off a bench and never looked back, sweat or not. Then I came down with a bad staph infection and ever since then I wipe down every machine before and after I use it, and I wear a hoodie during my training sessions. Sweat is a medal of accomplishment in the gym, wear it with pride and make sure no one else has to wear yours.
7. Leave The Ego at The Door
I truly and honestly have come to believe that some people don’t lift certain weights to improve themselves, but rather do it to inflate their own ego and impress those around them. It has become a commodity to move heavy weights with a soundtrack of shouts, animalistic grunts and the finality of slamming the weights down. We can’t continue to condone this.
The gym is a place for self-improvement, introspection and a hell raising workout that’s going to make you a bit better than when you walked in ninety minutes ago. Drop the ego and get to work.