Gym Manners

It’s been a while since I was working out regularly. And you know other than in highschool, I’ve only ever worked out in one gym, the 24 hour joint near my house. I’ve tried a few other places, the Y, a work gym, other fitness chains. But my local 24 is very close to me, […]

It’s been a while since I was working out regularly. And you know other than in highschool, I’ve only ever worked out in one gym, the 24 hour joint near my house. I’ve tried a few other places, the Y, a work gym, other fitness chains. But my local 24 is very close to me, never crowded, and has what I really care about, a decent free weight room, with a smith press, a power rack, a real plate/sled style leg press, and enough press benches that you can always find one free. I’ve had a membership there off and on for about twelve years. The place just works for me. But it’s been a year since I was last in a serious training phase.

Today, I was staring around the gym and thinking, what the fuck has happened to people’s gym manners since I was last here?

You know, there aren’t many rules. Wipe your sweat off, don’t leave trash around. Don’t hog a machine if you’re not really using it(Toning? get away from the free weights. Calf exercises? Go use the calf machine, get off the fucking leg press). Don’t ask to ‘work in’ when I’m in the middle of a set (in fact, don’t ever fucking talk to me, I’m in the zone and you don’t exist).

But that’s all trivial.

There is one thing that makes me absolutely bugfuck at the gym, and that’s not putting the plates away. Fuck, you put them on, take them off. Don’t walk away from a machine and leaves plates on it. Ever. Don’t walk away from a barbell and leave plates on it. Ever. Put the fuckin’ 45s with teh 45s and the 10s with teh 10s. Don’t fucking mix them. Have trouble lifting the 45s? Ask for help.

How hard is this?

Today, every machine in the room had plates on it, and every plate rack had 25s or 35s sandwiched between 45s. I stood behind some joker on the iso-lat pulldown, who’s loaded a double fistfull of 25s on the thing. I watched him use the machine wrong (working his torso back and forth instead of driving with the elbows), and then he fucking walks away, right past me. No attempt to re-rack his fucking weights. I kept eye contact with him the entire time I was putting his plates away and putting my 45s on the machine, and not one fucking hint of contrition.

Is this just me? Am I being unreasonable to expect people to do a little fuckin’ housekeeping? Sure, gym staff need to take care of this, but a once-a-day tidy should be enough. They shouldn’t have to babysit.

Ok. Fine. Luggin’ plates is good for my forearms. I’ll just get that for you. No, no, it’s ok. Go take a sauna, it’s what I’m here for.

17 thoughts on “Gym Manners”

  1. Same thing at my gym, but even worse with the dumbbells. And the nipplehead *I* make eye contact with while I’m putting other people’s weights away is the fucking *employee* who walks past it all.

  2. Yeah, aside from winding up out of order, the dumbells usually at least get back to the racks. So that I can tolerate.

    It’s the stacks of mixed up plates that make me nuts. I have to wander around or move plates to find a 10 when I wanna just grab one off the peg marked 10. Instead we have a couple 5s a couple 2.5 and a 35 in front of it all.

  3. Years ago, I had to remove a heavy-ass plate that some asshole had left on a machine. It slipped out of my sweaty hands and fell on my left foot. Fracture – unbelieveable pain – tears pouring uncontrollably down my face. I kind of have strong feelings about this myself as a result.

  4. It’s the sweat on the machines that makes me crazy.

    Uh? BIOHAZARD, people!!!

    Oh. And people who work out reeking of perfume and/or cologne… though that may just be a Texas thing.

    I am THISCLOSE to prostituting myself out just long enough to purchase my own home work-out equipment…

  5. People are so fucking inconsiderate. The attitude is that there is “someone paid to take care of that so I don’t need to.”

    I order for and stock the various kitchens in my company. Though they’re pretty good about cleaning after themselves, the newer employees think I’m their mother, some sort of janitor. Then I let the creamer and sugar run out.

    “Embargo on!” says Master Blaster.

  6. Yeah, Hiromi, I think that’s why they took the 100 plates away from the leg press. Little people can’t lift them. I’ve visualized what that’d feel like on my foot, the way I used to sling plates around when I was in my really heavy lifting phase I knew I’d eventually drop one. Only, from years of cooking barefoot, I have an incredibly quick ‘feet out of the way’ response.

    Y’know C, I actually have some decent weights at home. I never fuckin’ use ’em. I need to *go to the gym* or I don’t make time for it. Though crunches while watching teevee makes teevee time seemless wasted.

    Whirly, is that Master Blaster, or Master Ba…

  7. Putting away the plates really irritates me too, and lots of time its the fanatical gym rats that do it. Like they assume that nobody could possibly not want to start with at least 45 lb plates on the leg press. Look, asshat, I get that having steroid-shrunken balls has made you a little angry at the world and less considerate of others, but there are plenty of fucking reasons why some people don’t need to start with 45 lb plates on the leg press, so don’t assume that they’re a permanent fixture. You lifted it? Be a man, not a douchebag, and re-rack.

  8. God, yes, EXACTLY. I’ve shanged up my lifting routines to emphasize using my own body weight (considerable, at 220) and one of my regular exercises (every other day) is several sets of forward lunges using the lunge/dead lift machine. Now, I’m not looking for sizer in my thighs, so I do high reps, low weights, and honestly for a while Iw asn’t even adding plates at all. Now I add like 50-75 pounds, that’s it.

    Well, some asshole who works out in the early AM apparently uses the same machine for heavy dead lifts, and regularly leave 350+ in plates on the fucking things. 5 minutes dragging 50 lb. plates all around the goddamn gym — since there’s never actually enough space on the racks near the damn machine — so I can do my lunges. Drives. Me. Insane.

  9. I thought I was the only one in the world who had the fast “feet out of the way” reflex. Honed from years of teaching chemistry (you really don’t want a beaker of acid on your toes) and from cooking barefoot.

  10. I’ve been trying to work out what these “plates” you all speak of are. Either the university has a total pussy gym, or else we’re somehow in some other technical strata, because the weight load for everything except the freeweights is set with pins that go through wieghts threaded through the cables of the machine.

    This doesn’t mean that I can’t bitch though, because it’s a university gym, and college kids will always go that extra mile to live a little more like pigs. So a couple of the pins are missing, meaning you either bench 320 or you steal the pins from another machine.

    And yeah, the free weights are just left anywhere. Once I had to retrieve a set from underneath someone’s wet fucking towel. That was gross. I think that’s the same guy that’s trying to pick apart the handlebars of the rowing machine, and if I ever run into him in a dark alley I’m going to beat him to death with a tire iron.

  11. Yeah, Buck, you’re talking about cable-stack type machines. There are also plate-loaded machines, where you take a standard free-weight plate (a round iron weight, usual of olympic-standard size, in 45lb/20.2kg, 35lb/15.9kg, etc), and load them on to pegs on the machine. In a good gym that has a seperate room for freeweights, the plate-loaded machines are in the free weight room and share the same plates.

    I dunno that these machines are in any way *better* than cable-stack type machines, but they usually have a much higher weight capacity (Which I’m nowhere near needing now, but in a few months, on leg press at least, I will), but there’s something psychological about loading plates on the machine, it just seems more like lifting weights.

    Plate-loaded machines also tend to be bigger, so the truly huge have less trouble getting in and out of them.

  12. Pin-loaded machines are a lot better when you’re doing things like pyramids and so you’re doing a lot of sets and changing the amount of weight on each set. But a lot of them restrict your range of motion so you’re really isolating the lifting muscles and ignoring the little stabilizer muscles.

    All the Golds in Austin have started getting these new Freemotion machines which are great…stacked pin-load but the weight grips are cables so you really have to work on your form almost as much as with free weights.

  13. Yeah, like cybex machines. I’m a big fan of the cable machines. You can do pretty much any excercise you can do with free weights with cables, and like free weights, the require good form.

    Form is everything when you’re not using isolation machines – the difference between hurting yourself and getting a workout. Takes more time to learn them and more concentration, but totally worth it.

  14. That sounds about right. And it’s also why I prefer using freeweights at my gym, when I can actually find the damn things that is.

  15. This week, I’m using the NY Sports Club gym in Livingston, NJ instead of my usual gym in Seattle. Ugh. The staff tries to keep the place clean, but the people are unbelieveable. Women who stand on the stairmill taking phone calls for half an hour. Guys who spit on things. Weights mislaid all over the place. Still more people hogging benches and leg press machines while talking on the phone instead of working out. (Did they all come to the gym just to make phone calls?) Plus, lots of people seem to be locker-phobes, lugging heavy winter coats around the exercise floor. I just don’t get it.

    Here in NJ, I pretty much zap everything with disenfectant before I touch it. And this is probably the best facility in this prosperous suburb. Thankfully, I’ll be home in a few days where the northwest germophobes clean everything before and after they use it.

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