Top 5 gym pet peeves

Did you like my list of top 5 things I love about the gym? Were you like, “yeah, I feel the love,” or did you think, “hey, what about sweaty man, who drips and slobs toxic bodily fluids all over the bench press? I hate that!” Well if you’re itching to air your gym etiquette grievances, this post is for you.

Let’s start with #1, then–sweaty man (or woman), who smears his slime all over the workout equipment, and then doesn’t clean it off.

Photo: espn.com

You head to the leg press machine, sit down, and slide off the seat, the victim of a sweat bomb. Or, (and this one is the worst), you jump on the seemingly clean elliptical machine and grab ahold of the handles, only to be slimed by a sweat slick. Yuck!

I get it; it’s a gym and the whole idea is for people to sweat. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I’m far from squeamish, and I expect the gym to be a germ factory. That’s why I don’t touch stuff and then put my fingers in my mouth. But I do expect a little bit of personal responsibility. You know if you are dripping sweat all over, and you know other people aren’t likely to want to touch it. So clean. up. after. yourself.

Ahhhh, personal responsibility and awareness, such a foreign concept for many people. That brings me to my #2 pet peeve: people who sing out loud–really, really out loud.

Photo: favim.com

You are not Britney. Lip sync it. Oh, wait . . . Seriously though, I know many of you like to listen to music while you work out. As you read in this post, I certainly do too. I know that if it’s really dirty good music, and you are really getting into your workout, you might be moved to sing along. Don’t. Do your fellow gym-goers a favor and just lip sync. You might get a few looks, rocking out on the treadmill, moving your mouth to the words, but people will think you are even crazier if you let the sound actually come out. Save it for your car ride, ok?

While I whole-heartedly support music at the gym (numerous studies show it improves your workout), my support does not extend to the television. So my #3 pet peeve is people watching t.v. while they workout. It’s not so much that you are annoying me with your t.v. show (whew, aren’t you relieved about that!), but that I think being plugged into the t.v. (or book, or magazine, or phone, or whatever other media device you can think of), helps you check out from your workout. Of course I know that’s probably the point–keeping up with the Kardashians helps the treadmill time fly by, and if that’s what it takes to get you to log your cardio, then I’ll take it. But I firmly believe (and there’s a bunch of researchers who will back me up), that focusing on your fitness will measurably improve your results. Let me put it to you this way: if you can read a book while you are walking on the treadmill, you are not working hard enough.

Does that mean you should never watch t.v. or read a book while you workout? No. I know there are times when you just need to get through it; or  you are a studying for a test and you need to multi-task; or maybe you need a recovery day, and a mellow workout with a little reality t.v. is the perfect thing. But if you are a chronic media junky, and you are not seeing the results you want, try unplugging for a little bit. You might be surprised how much more effective your gym-time becomes.

#4, turn off your phone. It’s clear I probably need to explain this one, but I don’t think I should have to. So I won’t.

This last peeve is a little different, but if you give it some thought, you might find that it annoys the crap out of you too. #5 is yoga stress. Wait, what? You thought yoga was supposed to be a stress-reliever? Yeah, me too. But the more yoga classes I attend, the more I see that there is a definite stress factor to de-stressing.

Photo: blog.championsway.com

I think this problem could easily be solved by smarter gym architecture. Why is it that gyms never have a large enough yoga studio? It’s here to stay, gym designers; make the room bigger. If attendees knew there was going to be enough space for them, I don’t think they would be so feisty while waiting for class to begin. Do you know what I’m talking about? Folks staking out their spot an hour ahead of time; or, if classes are back-to-back, people waiting outside the studio, edging closer and closer to the door, ready to shove their way into the room the minute savasana ends. I know that kind of stuff stresses me out more than the average person, but that vibe cannot be relaxing anyone.

Whew, what a crab-fest that was! I think I need a workout to calm down. What about you, faithful readers? Do you love your gym, or loathe it? Did I miss a big pet peeve? Or am I waaaaay to critical?
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