Being courteous.  Polite.  Mindful of others.  These things seem like common sense in any type of workplace environment.  So what happens to people when they step through the doors of a gym?  It seems that all these things get thrown out the window.  Most gyms have their own rules about these things.  But shouldn’t we as fully functional adults have the common decency to behave conscientiously without the rules?  What may seem obvious to some may not be so obvious to others.  Trust me –  I’ve seen them all.   It’s time for a change.

Wear Sneakers: Not sandals, not boots, not loafers, and certainly not the shoes you wore to work this morning.  If you’re going to work out, do yourself a favor and invest in a good pair of sneakers.  Chuck Taylors are my favorite.

Appropriate Clothing: You don’t have to cover yourself from head to toe but please stop wearing these ridiculous tank tops, t-tops, and spandex shorts.  Other people would like to work out on the same equipment as you.  It would be nice to have peace of mind knowing that I will not be coming in contact with something that your flesh just became intimately involved with.  On the other end, if working out in a corporate facility, don’t workout in the clothes you came to work in this morning.  It seems a bit silly to me that someone would go through the trouble to hit the gym during their lunch break, but not have the common sense to bring a pair of shorts and a t-shirt.  (Please also remember to wash them on occasion.)

Ditch the Aftershave: It’s a gym, not a night club.  Keep the sex panther at home.  The need for fresh air in a gym environment is critical.  The last thing you want to do is pollute the air of hard working individuals.  The ladies will forgive you; I promise.

But Wear Deodorant: It’s the hardest conversation a gym owner will ever have.  One of their patrons has extremely kicking BO, and none of their passive aggressive attempts at letting them know has worked.  You smell.  Everybody smells, especially when they workout.  Do yourself and others a favor, and just put a little deodorant on.  You can wash it off right after if you don’t like it.

Wipe Down Machines: That big sweaty imprint you just left on the incline bench?  Get rid of it.  I don’t care how you do it, just make sure it’s not there when it’s my turn to use the bench.  I’m pretty sure, by law, most gyms have to provide some sort of antibacterial spray for just such causes.  Find out where it’s kept, and use it.

Put Weights and Equipment Away: Put it right back where you found it.  It blows my mind how many people go to the gym, the ultimate “I’m not lazy” thing to do, yet they leave a trail of clutter everywhere they go.  Remember when you were little and your mom taught you how to put your toys away?  Use those skills.

Don’t Drop Weights: Simple. If you have to drop them, they’re too heavy.  Please, everyone in the gym does not need to know how much weight you just lifted.  Alerting people of your strength by crashing weights to the floor is not an appropriate way to gain attention.  It might work in the jungle of Congo but not in the gym.

Respect People’s Privacy: It might not seem like a private atmosphere but a lot of people would just rather tune out when they’re at the gym.  Learn the signs.  If someone is reluctant to respond to your conversation with normal social cues of interest, please just leave them be.  It’s not that they don’t like you.  Some people just need to be left alone when they are working out.  By the way, headphones usually equal “don’t talk to me”.

Ask Before Using: Be aware of what pieces of equipment people are using.  If I want to go get a drink of water at the fountain it would be nice if I didn’t have to mark my territory before I left.  In the same respect, don’t camp out on any one piece of equipment like a lion over a fresh kill.  If you’re not using it, leave it.

Be a Pal: Don’t be afraid to help people out once in a while.  Especially if they ask for it.  Give a stranger a spot.  Hold doors where applicable.  Help re-rack weights.  It won’t cause you any harm to go out of your way once in a while for someone who may only be an acquaintance.

It’s time that decent, civilized, well-mannered people take over the gym.  The Stone Age is over, people.  The gym can be ours now.  The meathead is endangered and it’s time that he be retired for good.

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