The days of packing a potato and a skin of water and walking across state lines to visit loved ones or hunt for food are over. Technology has advanced to the point where we can use our phones to order anything and control practically everything in our house. To stave off obesity now, we need use machines or manufactured weights to mimic things we used to do to survive.
When you act like a total douchenozzle while someone’s working out, it’s akin to peeing in someone’s dwelling. We’re just doing our best to survive. Although, social grace and evolution will keep someone from bludgeoning you to death with a free weight, someone just might be fantasizing about it if you do any of these things, so here are 10 tips to keep your karma during your workout.
1. Don’t Make Noises
Yes, lifting weights is about resistance. Sometimes, a yelp or a grunt might slip out, but this isn’t “The Voice,” so if you’re releasing a cacophony of sound effects, rest assured people around you are praying you will shut the fuck up.
2. Bitch, Get Out of the Way
The gym is a place where body fluids go flying. People feel vulnerable or exposed. Gym clothes are revealing or binding. That being said, leave some distance. No one wants to bump into you, let alone mingle with your body fluids. The luxury of working out at a gym is having private moments with your machine. Leave a little room.
3. Respect Our Eyes Cover Your Thighs
Some people look super-hot at the gym. Some people don’t. Maybe we don’t want to see all of your business when you workout. You know who you are. If you wear tiny short-shorts, underwear or bathing suits instead of gym clothes, some people may be fantasizing about you falling off the treadmill.
4. Don’t Give Unsolicited Advice
Hiring a trainer is expensive, but that doesn’t mean people want random tips from anyone at the gym. You wouldn’t walk up to a total stranger and offer them advice about nuclear physics, child rearing or driving. That instinct to not dole out your opinion is a good one and should extend to your working out. If you’re that hard up for human contact, why not strike up a conversation rather than telling people how to adjust their form? After all, there is no perfect way to workout because studies crop up every 10 years telling you you were wrong all along.
5. Don’t Lurk Around the Machine
So you’ve asked how many more reps or how much time someone has left on a machine. That doesn’t give you an implicit right to that machine. If you stand in someone’s eye line while they’re finishing up, so begins the passive-aggressive chicken dance. If you let someone finish up, odds are they’ll be done in enough time for you to swoop back and hop on. Meanwhile, if you stand in their view the whole time, they risk getting an aneurysm trying to make you blow up with their mind.
6. Don’t Take Too Long
There’s an unofficial rule of not taking more than 30 minutes on a machine. Sure, you pay for the gym, but that doesn’t give you the right to hog the machines. Try to break up your workout, and if you absolutely must do 15 sets on one machine, split it up to be fair to people who spend time following the unofficial rules of polite culture.
7. This Isn’t Your House, Clean Up
Maybe you’re all hopped up on entitlement caused by too many honorable mentions and participation trophies, but there’s no reason to leave weights all over the place. Re-rack them, especially if you’ve taken them to a different room. Also, be kind and wipe up your sweat. If these things don’t normally occur to you, this may be the reason you’re going to die alone.
8. Stay Off Your Phone
A couple of tweets or checking your e-mail are fine but as with most things, if you have a full-on cellphone conversation, you’re being a dick. ‘Nuff said.
9. Reduce Your Funk
You’re going to sweat — it’s inevitable. But at least make a concerted effort to not smell like you’re dying of body-odor induced gangrene. Try a little perfume, cologne or, dare we say, deodorant so that your musk doesn’t become overpowering.
10. Avoid the Locker Room Lurk
Whether it’s body envy or latent or completely active homosexual urges, try not to be too much of a lurker in the locker room. Yes, you may catch something titillating out of the corner of your eye, but don’t make a meal of it. Nobody wins when people lurk in the locker room. It encourages that one old guy to air-dry his balls or stare at himself in the mirror.
Worried you still might be a dick? Here’s how to not be a dick at work. You’re welcome.
Christian Cintron is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.