Summer is just around the corner and you know what that means – It’s time to get swimsuit ready. This means, tons of you will be dragging your squat-deprived arses to the gym in a bid to get lean, mean and sexy.
Now, flick through any women’s magazine and you’ll get the standard ‘how to get fit at the gym’ guides; the general message being all you’ll need is a pair of trainers, some form of stretchy lycra and a towel to wipe away your ‘crying fat’ (aka sweat).
Well, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this could not be further from the truth – (don’t shoot the messenger…)
Take it from a regular gym bunny. You’re going to need a whole lot more than that to survive the jungle of heavy metal machines and those that sound like grunting wild animals.
You’re going to need street smarts, knowledge and your wits about you to go to the gym without being totally despised. Get in, do your workout and get out – muscles taxed and friends intact – that’s the dream.
Here’s my guide to making it reality…Under no circumstances should you ever:
Do Curls in the Squat Rack
This old chestnut has been gym etiquette since the dawn of time; when there’s a perfectly good 30kg barbell ready and ‘weight-ing’ (pun intended) and someone chooses instead to add some measly 5kg plates to the bar in the squat rack, it really makes people mad.
Do your curls in the free weights area, do them in the stretching area, hell – do them on the treadmill if your cardio-honed heart desires, but the squat rack is strictly for squatting and it’s best not to mess with someone on leg day (lunges are emotional enough…)
Save Bikes in the Spin Room
This one causes stress levels and blood pressure to rise so high that participants may as well skip their cardio for the rest of the week; seriously – it’s coronary inducing stuff.
The people that come in super early and save the entire front row of spin bikes for their friends/friend’s friends/neighbours/lady that serves them olives at Waitrose (to name but a few) are just the worst.
As if it wasn’t bad enough that you had to fumble around with your iPhone app in the early hours of the morning to book your place in class, now you have to get to the gym sadistically early to avoid getting stuck with the bike under the air-con.
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Hog the Machines
So you thought the gym was going to be a place of Zen, i.e. somewhere to relax, unwind and improve overall health and wellbeing.
Well, you thought wrong – get ready to fight tooth and nail for your favourite piece of gym equipment.
We all love a good super set, but this doesn’t mean you can throw your towel over the leg press at one end of the gym floor, your hoodie over the pep deck at the other, and float between them. It’s selfish, self-indulgent and, quite frankly, a terrible example of a super set (who pairs legs with chest anyway?)
Oh, and don’t be the guy tweeting after each set of assisted pull-ups. You want to share your progress with the #fitfam? Fine. Just get out of the way first.
Grunt like you're Giving Birth (or worse…)
Yep, that’s a hell of a lot of weight, you're pretty hard-core. But we don't need to hear you from half-way across the gym.
Grunting and groaning which can be heard over the motivational rap pumping through my headphones is only acceptable if you are chest-pressing the entire gym.
I'd say something to your face if you weren't three times my size, but you are, so I'll just moan to everyone who’ll listen behind your back. (And that’s how you end up making gym enemies).
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Brag About your Workout routine/Personal Training Programme
No one cares. Actually scratch that. It's WORSE than no one cares, it's pretty damn annoying. Your 'zillion kg weighted super-sets' aren't big, aren't clever, and – let’s be honest – aren't strictly accurate are they? (I've seen you and your predominantly green/yellow bar in body pump class)
Flex your Guns, Pose and/or Gaze at your Own Reflection
Don't be that guy (or girl). Yes, that's you in the mirror. Yes, you look great. Congrats! But the gym is not the time nor place to check yourself out.
Oh, what’s that? You’re trying to make a mind-muscle connection? No one’s buying it.
Don’t get me wrong, I like a good gym selfie as much as the next person – that's what Instagram’s for, right? So go home, get yourself a full length mirror and a camera phone and have at it – (note the emphasis on the go home part of that sentence).
Oh, and following on from the above: Ladies, put your hair up. And please take off those ridiculous, and more importantly hazardous hoop earrings.
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Repulse Everyone with your Ungodly Stench
Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration right? Cool. Just make sure that success is 100 percent sweet smelling. Deodorant is simple, cheap and oh so effective.
Do Cardio sans Towel
There’s nothing more infuriating than having to clean someone else’s puddles of sweat from a machine before you go to use it – especially if said person is hygienically challenged (see point number 7).
I don’t want to sit in a heap of George Clooney’s sweat, so why on earth would I tolerate yours? Simply throw a towel around your neck and use when appropriate; most gyms provide them for crying out loud.
So there you have it – avoid these 8 things and you’ll be on your way to making friends who will probably end up saving you a bike in spin class (because if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em, right?)
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