Five ways to not be a B* in the gym

Man Lifting Weights

Every so often, I am going to end up delivering what is basically a rant. This is one of those times.

I am not an avid fitness fanatic, I am not a bodybuilder by any stretch of the imagination and I do not spend copious amounts of time in the gym but I do workout. I really enjoy Yoga and, although I am still just a beginner, I can see the amazing health benefits it can have. The core of my work out consists of weights in the gym and this is where my problem begins.

I try to go to the gym when there is nobody there. This isn’t because, like many people, I am ashamed to or feel uncomfortable and self-conscious working out in front of people; no, this is because every day I go to the gym and there are other people around I soon find myself filled with the express urge to remove them from this thing called life. I cannot, even for a second, begin to understand why in the blue hell some people think it is acceptable to occupy machines they are not using, to horde weights they have no need for and just generally get in the damn way.

How many times have you been to the gym and seen people sat on a machine or bench doing absolutely nothing or worst still, having a full conversation with someone else? And before one of you tries to defend the first set of people with some nonsense about it just being a rest between sets, just sit down shut up. I am completely aware that rest times will and must vary from person to person and can be dramatically different depending on what it is a person is training for. For those who are not aware, if you are training at higher intensities – meaning that you are doing heavier weights with lower reps – then you do actually need longer rest periods and you can see rest times of anything between three and five minutes. If you are training for cardio and toning benefits, you will likely do low to mid weights for a higher number of reps and in this case it is more valuable for you to have shorter rest periods, ranging anywhere between twenty seconds and about two minutes. So yes, it should not come as a surprise that you see some people take little to no rest between their sets while others seem to be resting for longer periods of time than the actual time spent working out but here is the thing, if you are going for a longer rest period there is no reason whatsoever for you so sit yourself down on a machine or bench and take up a space that somebody else could actually make use of while you actually have zero use for it.

What it all comes down to is just that people are selfish and self-centered. When I go to the gym, I go there with my workout plan fully prepared. I know what I am going to do and in what order. I generally workout using “supersets” which means, I will do ten reps barbell bench press and immediately follow that up with ten reps dumbbell flat-flys. The combination of these two exercises count as one single set and they are done with no rest in between, so I know that when I am on this bench I am going to be there for a couple minutes but the moment I am done I will get up. On one hand, this allows me to focus on getting some blood and oxygen flowing around my body to start helping myself recover and prepare for the next set but it also means that if somebody else needs to use the bench then they can. Of course, in this particular instance that can be a nescience if, for example, you were benching 30kg but the person who wants to jump-in is fixing to bench 80kg and that weight is well out of your range, but in that case I am sure the other person would choose to just wait. However, if you are doing the same or a very similar weight then there is no reason why you can’t share the space and perhaps even help each other to get an extra rep or two in.

Another thing people do which annoys me and is a clear example of sheer selfishness, but also is actually very dangerous, is the seemingly incredibly hard task of completing one action that must be the absolute most strenuous exercise of them all. The dreaded put-that-shit-back-where-you-got-it-from maneuver. Oh my goodness, this must be the hardest thing to execute because I cannot tell you how frequently I walk into the gym and see dumbbells, barbells and plates scattered about the place as if a small bomb went off or all the pieces are trying desperately to escape the gym and have chosen to run in several different directions in order to make it difficult for them to be caught. I mean seriously, how hard is it to re-rack the dumbbells? How difficult is it to put the plates back on one of the many bays that exist which, might I add, are usually even labeled by weight for extra convenience.

Seriously people, what is wrong with you?

With all of that in mind, here is a little gift for those of you afflicted with this terrible condition of being an absolute selfish, self-centered ass.

Five Ways To Not Be A Bitch In The Gym[aka 5 quick steps to prevent someone like me ending your life while you’re just trying to make some gains.]

1.     Plan Your Workout – when going to the gym, know why you’re there and where you need to be from moment to moment. If a mental list is not possible, actually write down each step of your workout. It makes things a lot easier.

2.     Spatial Awareness – be aware of how much space you are occupying and whether or not it is actually necessary. If it is not, then please do feel free to get out of the way.

3.     Be Considerate – the gym does not belong to you; so consider the fact that there are other people there.

4.     Tidy Up After Yourself – this is almost the same as be considerate but it is important enough to be a point of its own. When you are finished with something PUT IT BACK. It didn’t magically arrive in your hands, you went and got it. So return it to where it should be.

5.     STFU! – we all know what this acronym stands for but it seems that many do not know how to put the damn thing into action. Seriously, all that time you spend talking just makes your workout take longer, which effectively decreases some of its worth and in actual fact means that you hold up other people’s workout. This isn’t a social club. Get in, get it done and get out.

I have been referred to as a “gym Nazi” a few times in jest but I am just sick of people who have complete disregard for others. We are all here to workout, so let us do so in a way that makes things as easy for each other as possible. If you don’t really want to be here, then leave. If you do not need to be here, then get out of the way because there are others in here that are trying to achieve something and you are obstructing their progress.

Have some decency, the world does not revolve around you and a little consideration goes a long, long way.

Please pass this on to someone you know afflicted with one of the conditions I have mentioned here and you have yourself a wonderful workout.