On another topic, I want to touch on maintaining an overall attitude of respect towards other gym members. The gym can present itself as a social hub. A lot of people work out with friends or in groups. Combine that with the atmosphere of most gyms where there are more wide-screen TV’s than treadmills, a juice bar, catchy music, couches, massage chairs, tanning beds, salons, and kiosks, and you have nothing less than a mini mall. It is easy to see why so many people can spend two or three hours in a gym yet still get nothing done.
If you are going to use your time at the gym to catch up with friends and swap stories and gossip, you might want to consider those around you first. Camping on a piece of equipment while you socialize is very rude and disrespectful. Not everybody has the courage to interrupt a social gathering to ask for a piece of equipment. I don’t – and that is why I bring this up. Just last week I watched a couple talk for 37 minutes while one of them sat on a machine. In that 37 minutes, the one sitting on the machine performed two sets.
You also don’t want to involve everybody else in your conversations. Talking too loudly and airing your details can be very distracting to those around you. Bringing a phone onto the gym floor is another controversial topic – and again, I am guilty of this. I carry my phone for several reasons: 1. It plays my music, 2. I work irregular hours, 3. So I can be reached in case of a family emergency, 4. So I can Tweet and take pictures of myself while I talk trash to Jason Kaiman. You will never see me camped on a piece of equipment while I take a phone call. I always get off and walk away – if I lose the equipment, so be it. It is my choice to take the call.
If you see somebody with earphones in, chances are they do not want to be disturbed. I try to avoid approaching anybody with earphones – and if I must (if I need a spot), I typically stand several feet away and give a little head nod and gesture. I have had people come up to me and remove earphone from my ears to talk to me. I have also had people approach me and just start talking, as if I can hear them. Gym time can be a very sacred time for many. You want to tread lightly when it comes to invading someone’s personal bubble.
Finally, don’t stare, point, laugh or otherwise embarrass another gym member. I would venture to say that the majority of people in gyms today are extremely self-conscious and some are even terrified to be there. The gym can be very overwhelming and intimidating. I’m sure we have all seen some crazy things in the gym – and then Tweeted and posted about them on Facebook. Guilty. But again, be respectful of others and your surroundings. There is tactful way to correct or help somebody in the gym. Openly poking fun, embarrassing, or simply creating an uncomfortable situation can cause irreparable damage.
It most likely took a lot of courage for the average gym goer to commit to a gym membership. You don’t want to be the reason they quit and never return. In my early days I quit a gym because I was intimidated by the power lifters. They would stand by equipment and talk for what was probably hours on end. They were always loud and obnoxious as they joked around, used profanity, and openly poked fun at other members of the gym. I never caught them making fun of me, but there was one guy in particular that would give me the evil eye. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I heard them making fun of a female performing cardio. They made fun of her weight, her choice in exercise, and then continued to make sexual remarks amongst themselves.
I have always said that a test should be implemented for all those seeking to obtain a gym membership. This is flawed, as it will never be able to truly determine the integrity and strength of character of any person. To me, having a gym membership is great honor and a privilege. I take my membership very seriously, and perhaps that is the reason why I have been a member at three different gyms in the past year. I treat my workouts as a second job. The benefit of this second job is that I get to choose my work environment.
The gym is not a place where you check your manners and common courtesy at the door. The gym may be old and it may be dirty. It may smell bad and the equipment may be in poor shape. It is still a gym and every person in there is there for a reason. Treat the gym as you would your home, your neighbor’s home, your office, or the grocery store. Treat other members as you would your best friend, your spouse, your neighbors, and your boss. You may be covered in sweat and dressed as though you stole your clothes from a bum in the subway, but you are still in a public place representing yourself as a fine upstanding citizen of your local community! As my wife always tells me, the best thing you can do is be the person you want others to be.
This article was researched and written by Follow @JAstorina
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