I am not a muscular man. Never have been, never plan to be. But I do attend the gym, and while I sit there mastering my thighs, I observe those around me, finding endless amusement in their eccentricities. So today, I am going to rundown the do’s and don’t of gym etiquette. So listen up, because unless you workout via Hula Chair, you probably fall into at least one of these categories. Maybe two. Let’s warm up:
1. Stop yelling at yourself
There is a guy at my gym who I hear constantly berating himself for not pushing big weight. Don’t be so hard on yourself. If you want to be degraded, I’ll give you my mother’s number. It’s one of her favorite pastimes.
2. You’re flexing—we can see you
There’s always that one guy who Ferrignos the mirror after a good set, thinking no one can see him. We do. And it’s amazing. So the next time you see a guy participating in a solo flex session, walk up next to him and join in. I recommend the front double bicep.
3. Wipe your bench
Six years ago, a man caught the Ebola virus from sweat left on a bench at a gym. I’m just kidding. But I would keep that lie going just so you clean up after yourself. No one likes to sit in stank, unless you live in Newark.
4. Rack ’em!
It says it in every corner of every gym: “Rack weights when done.” So do it! There’s nothing worse than a 150-lb man (me) having to lift his bodyweight in dumb bells back on the shelf. Did I say lift? I meant yank, pull, and pray no one is watching.
5. Locker-room nudists, cover the goods—or rather, the bads
Why is it that the people who choose to walk around naked are always the ones who should never walk around naked? Yet, without fail, every locker room is infested with saggers who insist on standing right next to you while you’re tying your shoe. Seriously: If I wanted junk in my face, I would join the department of sanitation.
6. Your form sucks
Yet you slide another plate onto the bar, because the cutie on the elliptical may actually be watching you and not the rerun of Seinfeld playing above your spot. Lower your weight. There’s no shame in benching 200 as opposed to 250, especially if it means you look less like a tipped cow.
7. You hate yoga, but you also hate Match.com
If you’re a man in a yoga class and you don’t wear hemp, you’re there to meet girls. It’s a fact. But it’s an old trick. So change it up a little and do what I used to do: Take Zumba.
8. Steam rooms are for steaming, not speaking
I love a good steam. It is truly a place for relaxation. But there’s nothing worse than sharing a shvitz with three guys who are yapping about fantasy football. If you’re going to talk, at least discuss something important, like why Kathy Ireland now sells couches.
9. SoulCycle is spinning, just with a candle
If you don’t have a SoulCycle location near you, you will eventually. And chances are your girlfriend will soon be dragging you by your Lululemons to join her. Don’t be afraid—it’s spin class. Just a little louder, a lot pricier, and completely overrated. Unless you enjoy spending an hour being yelled at to Skrillex.
10. Pass on your gas
The gym is an amazing place to fart, because the chance of anonymity is quite high. Everyone is pushing simultaneously, so it’s virtually impossible to pinpoint the perp. But if you feel one approaching your balance ball, do what I do and blame the old guy rowing. Sorry, old guy rowing.
So the next time you strap on your sleeveless and hit the gym, be wary of these annoying little idiosyncracies. And if you ever need a spot, give me a call. I’ll put down my Body Blade and be right over.