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Focus on good manners in the gym

Focus on good manners in the gym
December 3, 2011

A range of industry operators and media have been highlighting issues or 'gym etiquette' over recent weeks with the North Melbourne Recreation, the NineMSN website and industry consultant Thomas Plummer each publishing guidelines to help ensure that all users have a safe and comfortable experience when using the gymnasium.

North Melbourne Recreation Centre suggests that when using the gymnasium its members should follow these simple guidelines: 

1. Bring a towel - Please carry a towel at all times when working out in order to cover mats and wipe down any equipment used. Towels are available for hire or purchase at reception if required.
2. Use the lockers - If you are carrying a bag or other bulky items, please store them in the lockers provided in both change rooms.
3. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear - Please wear clothing appropriate for a workout and wear closed shoes to protect your feet. 
4. Bring a water bottle - It is important that you stay hydrated while exercising so please bring a water bottle with you and drink regularly. They are also available from reception. 
5. Youth members - Members under the age of 17 must hold a current North Melbourne Recreation Centre Youth Membership in order to use the gymnasium.
6. Return your equipment - Please remember to return your weights and equipment to their place when you have finished your workout. This is in the best interest of fellow members and guests. 
7. When all equipment is in use - If the equipment you need is in use, ask to work in with another user or see a personal trainer if you would like to be shown an alternate exercise.
8. Speak to a personal trainer - If you need advice on technique, equipment use, or your program speak to a personal trainer in the gym for assistance and support to ensure you get the most out of your workout. 

NineMSN recently published the following '10 rules of gym etiquette':

1. Don't hog the weights equipment - Gym equipment is communal property. If you're in the middle of a circuit but taking a long break or waiting on another machine to become available, don't sit on a machine while you wait. Instead, get up and let others slip in between sets to save time. Remember, you burn more calories standing than sitting. 
2. Stick to time restrictions - Most gyms have time limits on running and other cardio machines during busy hours. Try not to exceed them. Throwing your towel over the display doesn't fool anyone. If you are training for an event and need longer sessions on the running machines or the bikes, go to the gym during non-peak times.
3. Drop your load - After you finish using a bar, take off your weights. Removing weight plates from a bar a fair amount of strength. Don t assume that the next person to come along can lift the same weight as you. 
4. Return the weights - This is a cardinal rule taught in kindergarten. Put things back where you found them (isn't it amazing how many people fail at this simple life lesson?). Whenever you use dumbbells or plates, be considerate enough to put them back where they belong when you're done. Never leave dumbbells on the floor where someone may trip on them.
5. Carry a towel - Have you ever found equipment covered with the previous person s sweat? Disgusting, isn't it? Carry a towel to separate your body from the machine while you use it. Wipe off any bench or machine that you use. Most reputable gyms provide disinfectant and paper towels for this purpose. 
6. Don t hog the drinking fountain - Don't stand at the drinking fountain quenching your thirst while the parched people in the queue behind you wait patiently. Fill your paper cup, and move on. Better yet, carry a water bottle in the weight room. If you do need to fill up, let the people who just want a drink go first. Don't make everyone wait while you fill a two litre water bottle.
7. Leave your gym bag in the locker - Some people carry their bag from machine to machine, causing a tripping hazard. Use the lockers. That's what they are there for.
8. Don't treat the changing room like your own bathroom - Don't take a marathon shower. Don't hog the hair dryer. Don't walk around the changing room naked. Put your used towels in the laundry basket. Be courteous and respectful of other people. It's really that simple.
9. Keep the noise down - While the gym isn't a library, it is a place for people to unwind after a busy day. Try to respect the peace and quiet of your fellow members. Don't drop weights from a great height. If people are wearing headphones, don't strike up a conversation. Turn off your mobile phone. If you must grunt, do so quietly. Excessive grunting makes you sound like an animal. 
10. Don't hit on the members - Let's face it, gyms can be the best place to perve on hot bodies. At the same time, gawking at someone can make them uncomfortable. If you do need to check out the talent, be subtle and be sure to wipe up your drool. 

Meanwhile, renowned US-based health and fitness expert Thomas Plummer has written some characteristically forthright guidance on his industry Blog. Plummer, who will be a keynote presenter at the FILEX 2012 Fitness Convention, writes "it is often the members that ruin a club", adding "based on too many workouts done in alien clubs, I have come to the conclusion that there are now many more disgusting members working out than in past years."

Plummer's rules for "the tribe of pathetic, nasty gym losers that give a struggling local owner a bad name" are:

• You, the poseur! I don't care who you used to be. I don't care that you used to be big, were tough, scored a few touchdowns in high school or were the meanest guy in your fraternity. Dude, you are now in your 30s and you are a disgusting mess. Finally, by all that is holy in the fitness business, lose the string tank top. No one, and I mean not even the woman who has just walked out of prison after 30 years, really thinks that tuff of gray, scruffy chest hair works for you. You are fat, your kids are fat, your woman is fatter and those meaty arms you are so proud of are 13 inches of muscle surrounded by 4 inches of jiggling hamburger fat. Get a shirt, put down the bench press, walk away from the leg press and try a little full bodywork.
• You, stinky man! There is no excuse to stink when you work out. Here is an idea stinky boy; try a clean tee shirt or shower before you work out, try some deodorant and stay away from too much garlic. You stink, we know it, and we hate you.
• You stinky girl! Perfume is nice if I am drunk and it is 2am in the morning. Perfume is offensive if I am working out and you are standing next to me at 6pm in the evening. As before, you stink, it is not sexy, it isn't your personal style and you are killing us out here.
• You, old man in the running shorts! Reality check here for you old guy. Yes, you have had those shorts for 16 years and we know you take great pride in wearing the same outfit every day year after year, but you are scrawny, have a bony chicken ass and any short cut that high on the side lets far too many people see junk that was out of service when Carter was president. 
• You, body builder dude! Screaming is stupid. If you can't put it down, then don't pick it up and leaving plates on the leg press doesn't mean you're huge, it means you have the penis of a sterile chipmunk. Grunting, dropping weights, leaving bars stacked, carrying jugs of green nasty crap and wearing 1990s clothes is not cool but only validates why there are only seven bodybuilders left in America.
• You, horny boy! Women come to the club to have private time, get a workout in, relax without pressure and to enjoy just a few minutes of me time a day. They aren't there as your personal stable of potential dates that are sweating for your pleasure. Don't stare, don't flirt, don't wait for them in the parking lot and don't ask them out ever. 
• You, cell phone idiot! I don't care if you are the president of the biggest financial company on Wall Street. Talking big and loudly on a cell in the club is poor taste and only confirms that your daddy gave you the job because you are a moron. Have to take the call? Then walk away to the lounge but I do not want to sit two feet away from you and here your call. If you can't live without the phone then workout at home where you can irritate your future ex wife and leave the rest of us alone.
• You, spit fool! Whatever possessed you to think that hocking up a goober the size of a house cat and then spitting it into the drinking fountain is socially acceptable? Do you really do this at home? Do you do this at work? Are you just f@#$%*ing stupid?
• You, BMW boy! Hey nice you can finally afford that new 7 series car but parking it across two parking spaces so it won't get dinged is like putting a sign on it inviting anyone with anything sharp to gouge every inch of paint you have. Two spaces? Park it way out in the lot and enjoy the walk.
• You, fat girl! It is your fault you are fat. Stop blaming your ex, your boss, your genes, your job, your kids, the trainers and your life. If you are wearing it then you ate it and you won't lose it until you move it. Weight is not accidental, it is usually an insidious process that takes years and only one person in the world can change the course, and that is the owner of the big jiggle herself.
• You, lying members! You signed a membership agreement with the club and now you are too lazy to workout so you lie to the staff because you don't want to pay anymore. Try a little personal responsibility here and pay for what you signed for. Clubs are not gold mines, all those cars don't mean a lot of money and you are a liar that would be indignant if that happened in your business.
• You, seat saver! Hurray, you got to class early but do not try and save bikes in the front for all your friends. One member, one bike and let the next person in take their own chances. You drive members away by being rude and you aren't paying nearly enough for the owner not to throw your ass out.

Plummer concludes "and the rest of you rude members out there, pick up your garbage, don't pee on the seat lids you disgusting human piece of trash, don't flush your personal thingies down the stool, don't leave gum in the urinals, wipe the sweat off the benches, don't shower and then get your soaking wet ass on a scale, don't stand there naked lecturing me about the economy, don't hog three pieces of equipment because you just read about tri-sets in a magazine and don't by any chance try and offer advice because you have been working out wrongly for 15 years.

"Owners have hard enough time without trying to make adults out of immature idiots who have no respect for anyone around them. Be courteous, be nice and help make the club a decent and enjoyable place to go.

"And most importantly, to you 'fart boy', you might be the rudest of them all. There is a special room in hell for you populated by hundreds of flagellant factory workers amped up on cheap beer, hot wings and shots of bourbon just waiting to blow you into eternity."

For more from Thomas Plummer go to www.thomasplummer.net/

Lower image courtesy of World Gym. Images used for illustrative purposes only.

11th November 2011 - PLUMMER WARNS OF THE DANGERS OF LOW-COST FITNESS MEMBERSHIPS 

22nd June 2011 - GYMS ADD VALUE WITH WEIGHT LOSS

4th April 2011 - HOLISTIC HEALTH ON DISPLAY AT AUSTRALIAN FITNESS EXPO 

15th April 2009 - COUNTDOWN TO FILEX AND FITNESS EXPO 


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Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

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