The following is a guest article by Dena Stern
Gyms are a 14 billion dollar a year industry. In 2009 there were 45.3 million members in 29,750 gyms – about equal to the entire population of Spain.
For millions of people, the gym is a utilitarian place where people attempt to nullify the negative effects of their sedentary lifestyles. After all exercise is great, it does wonderful things like prevent muscle atrophy, bone density loss, and metabolic attrition.
However amidst the best intentions of the average gym goer, there are some behaviors which negatively impact the experience of others who use this space as well.
These are 3 of the most disruptive and obnoxious behaviors I witness at the gym on a regular basis. If there was ever a reason to start exercising at home, this might be it!
1) Poor Sweatiquette
Sweating at the gym is a natural occurrence – in fact if you’re not sweating you’re probably not doing exercising right (see #3 below). You should know that there are also strangers at the gym who don’t necessarily want to touch, lie on, or otherwise interact with your sweaty leavings.
The Solution: Most gyms understand and cater to this unhygienic dilemma by providing some kind of wipe down option (either pre-moistened towelettes or a spray bottle and towels)… so use them! Think of the extra calories you’ll burn wiping that sweaty back print off the bench!
2) Gym Slobs
Watching someone do bicep curls with a 70 pound dumbbell is a little bit obnoxious (this I understand is jealousy) but what really drives me nuts is when they then leave that giant weight just sitting in the middle of the floor. Leaving your weights out for someone else to put away is rude enough, however, it becomes obnoxious when you do it with weights that are so heavy that nobody can even lift and move them out of their way.
The Solution: Like your parents, teachers, and babysitters taught you – put your toys away when you’re done playing with them!
3) Gymgolos & Gym Diggers
I think it’s natural to want to meet people who have similar interests to you (you like exercise? me too!) but it’s just obnoxious to come to the gym to flirt and not even pretend to exercise.
These people are easy to spot because they have freshly applied make up, they aren’t even the teeniest bit sweaty, and they perform exercises in a way that involves contorting their bodies into provocative or revealing positions.
They do these “exercises” during the busiest time of the day in the most populated part of the gym. By doing this, they take up valuable and limited mat space that could be used by people who are actually exercising. They also encourage predatory behavior which can be disruptive for people who are actually at the gym to exercise.
The Solution: Try really exercising! Exercise is great for you. It helps you live longer, be more productive at work, feel better, look better, etc…. Plus, as an added bonus you may actually meet somebody. Everybody knows it’s a big turnoff when you are obviously desperate to meet somebody.
Remember, this is not your living room or the bar! This is a communal space where you are sharing with other adults, and you should all be able to act accordingly. Put away your stuff, wipe up your bodily fluids, and respect the fact that other people are trying to get things done in the space.
These are all simple steps which will make the experience more pleasant for you and the other 45 million people at the gym!