How To Not Be A Jerk At the Gym 101 (The Easiest Class You'll Ever Take)

As you know, I'm an 8th grade LA teacher. Language Arts= Reading and writing. It's a tough gig, but I love it! I genuinely enjoy teaching. I always tell my kids one of the reasons I love teaching is because I love talking....my job lets me talk 8 hours a day and they have to listen to me :) I'm thinking about creating a new class called Gym Etiquette 101. I truly think it should be a prerequisite when you sign up for a gym. 

To me common courtesy is kind of a given, especially when you're in a big place with tons of people that might be wanting to use the same stuff as you. It's interesting how many people forget to use that common courtesy when it comes to interacting with other gym goers. There are a few things that I think are important for everyone to do at the gym to make it the most positive, productive place it can be.

I had a couple issues at the gym yesterday and that's what sparked this post, so I'll start with those.

1) Be polite and willing to help out

I'm short. I mean like, short short. 4'9 1/2 to be exact. I usually need help with some machines because I can't reach certain parts. Case in point: yesterday I wanted to do tricep pushdowns on the cable machine. Whoever had been ahead of me had put the rope all the way at the top, where I clearly couldn't reach. So I did what anyone would do: I asked the guy next to me if he could drop it a couple notches. Then, with all the rudeness of a 13 year old student, he rolled his eyes at me and sighed in exasperation, as if I was asking him to take an hour out of his day to rerack every single dumbbell in the free weights section. I mean, it literally took about 3 seconds to do. He finished and walked away so I kind of yelled "thank you" at his back. I mean, really??

People at the gym need help. It's not that big of a deal. I mean, anyone could need help anywhere, but when you're surrounded by huge weights and tall machines, it's not uncommon for someone to ask you to help out for a second. Hello, spotting!!!! If someone asks you for assistance, be willing to give them a hand. It's just polite. And chances are at some point you are going to need help yourself with SOMETHING or have a question or whatever. It's just nice to smile and lend someone a hand :)

See how helpful these guys are? No eye rolling, no annoyance, just nice and willing to help a person out! 

Correct spotting technique.

2) Probably the most annoying gym etiquette no-no EVER....please don't text/Facebook/youtube/twitter/etc while standing in front of a machine, on a machine, directly in front of the free weights, especially when someone is weighting to use that piece of equipment behind you.

This is the worst. It's soooo rude! If you have time to stand around on your phone at the gym, you're most likely not working hard enough anyway. So stop hogging the machines. Especially at the U of A gym, where I work out, at about 4 pm it gets SUPER packed. There are always people waiting to use every single machine because it's so full, so wasting time on it doing something you should wait to do until you get home is not really a great idea. Frankly, it's a good way to piss people off.

This was my other issue yesterday. I was waiting to use the box for box jumps upstairs and some girl had placed her weights on it and was standing texting on her phone. I waited behind her for almost 5 minutes and finally asked her if she was really going to use the box because I needed it. She said she was busy with it. Busy doing what??!! Probably telling her friends about the annoying girl standing directly behind her glaring....but seriously, leave the phone at home. I know a lot of people listen to music on their phone, so leave the phone "stuff" at home. You can wait to Fbook and text until you leave the gym, I promise. Or at least make a trip to the bathroom to do that stuff so you're not holding anyone else up who actually wants to use the machine.

DO NOT BE THIS GUY! And I'm not just talking about the hat.

3) Put your weights back!!

There is nothing more frustrating than getting to the squat rack and seeing someone has left the bar completely loaded with weights. If you can squat that much, you can sure as heck put the plates back. Because I probably cannot squat that much. And I don't enjoy picking up after people. Common courtesy! Our mothers all taught us as little kids to pick up after ourselves. Those rules still apply in adulthood.

Yeah please don't make me put all of those away.

4) There are 15 treadmills. I'm the only one running. You come up and run on the treadmill directly next to me. 

This one is mostly just mildly annoying, but people who think this is OK usually also think it's OK to do the same thing in public restrooms, and IT'S NOT.

5) When you're done using a machine or especially a mat, if you're sweating profusely, wipe down your equipment. Don't leave that sweaty mess there for someone else to accidentally stumble upon and sit in. Germs!

....but then clean it up

Did I leave anything out? What are some other no-no's at the gym?

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