Monday, July 27, 2009

"Congratulations, You're 'Athletic'."

These are the words spoken to me by a random personal trainer at the gym a few weeks ago when I consented to have my BMI and body fat percentage checked with their cool little machine. (I declined his offer for a consultation for a personal training package, but appreciated the stats anyway.) I kind of laughed as I walked away for a few reasons--mostly because I would never, ever have thought at any point of my life that I would classify as any kind of "Athletic," capital or lower-case A, but also because I was surprised at the stats I learned about my current physique. I guess the running and lifting has been paying off overall. I still think it's quite bizarre that I even set foot in a public place of exercise, much less that I visit 5-6 times a week. But this topic has inspired me to remind the blogiverse of a few basic rules of a public gymnasium. You would think these would be common sense and general knowledge, but certain persons' behavior in the last little while has led me to believe otherwise.

Gym Etiquette
  • Shirts should always be worn on the gym floor. Running, lifting, biking, anything, please keep it on. There are a lot of benefits to wearing a shirt of some kind while exercising indoors, not only to yourself but to those around you. If you want to run shirtless, by all means, hit the pavement, you'll even get some sun on your shoulders.
  • The locker room is not a place to make new friends. This is a place you enter and leave as quickly as possible, spending just enough time in there to do what you need to do and be on your way. You don't need to spend 45-60 minutes hanging out in there giving unsolicited and unqualified advice and conversation (whether it be about exercise, your computer speakers, your favorite pair of shoes, the latest video games, or how vexing all American music is to you) to anyone and everyone who just happens to be dressing nearby.
  • Related to the previous, though some people might make a workout buddy or two at the gym, it is generally not a place to meet/flirt with people, and this practice is especially inappropriate in the locker room (that's right, the LOCKER ROOM... You would think you would be safe from unwanted advances in a locker room full of sweaty, like-gendered people, but these days...). Personally, I try to avoid eye-contact with other people altogether when at the gym, and sometimes don't even talk to people I recognize (it's just a kind of weird place to run into someone you haven't seen since high school). Part of the reason I was always against a gym on principle in the first place was because so many of the patrons there seemed to visit merely to see and to be seen. Having had some experience at the gym these days, I now know that a lot of people are actually there to exercise, but there are those (and you can usually pick them out) who have ulterior motives, and to them I say: Find a new hangout.
Please, by all means, spread the word. Still, all in all, I enjoy my time at the gym, I like keeping track of my running time and having a lot of weights and machines at my disposal. I just make the above suggestions in hopes that it continues to be a reputable, relatively comfortable place to work out and relieve some stress.

< / rant >... for today.

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