The Gym Commandments: A Hippie’s Survival Guide to Working Out Indoors

Posted: November 12, 2010 in Gym
Tags: ,

It’s the off season so it’s back to the gym.  Oh boy.

I don’t know about anyone else but I am really hesitant to head back indoors again.  We have been spoiled with a beautiful autumn season; the kind where it’s a just a real joy to go for leisurely rides and long slow runs through a countryside absolutely exploding with vibrant color; the kind of season that would have inspired the paintings of A.Y. Jackson, or Tom Thompson.  But, alas, the colder weather is finally here and so it’s time to shift gears and begin anew by strengthening and repairing the battered body.

When I first started going to the gym, however, I didn’t know my ass from a dumbbell.  Over time and largely through trial-and-error, I learned the finer mechanics of my body and with enough of the herbal in me, developed the courage to actually walk through the front doors and starting working out.  It’s quite intimidating, you know, for a pudgy hippie like me to simply walk in and start working out with guys whose arms are the size of tree trunks; after all, these are the type of guys who back in high school tormented me with wedgies, nugies and swirlies and here I was walking straight into the belly of the beast.

I learned though that there is a certain code of conduct at the gym that enables everyone to play nicely with others.  I’m there to lose weight and get strong, not reminisce about the time you dunked my head in the toilet during 3rd period, thanks.  There is a subtle etiquette that exists in most gyms or, at least, should exist in most gyms.  While it’s perfectly acceptable to sweat, grunt and make animal-like faces – it’s still not reason to forget your manners.  After all, if you cram groups of large narcissistic people into confined places with ample pieces of blunt iron you’re bound to have problems if you don’t have a proper predetermined code of conduct.

Of course, your gym probably has Do’s and Don’ts memos and notices posted around already but, honestly, who reads these things?  Usually, it’s just left to the ‘Law of the Jungle’ to govern itself.  And if some thoughtless retard wants to forgo the commonly accepted code of conduct, then no one is there to really enforce it.  But the work out experience would be so much better if we all learned to work together and get along.  For that purpose, I would like to propose the following rules as a blueprint to ensure that we are getting our workouts in with maximum effectiveness and without bothering or hindering anyone’s else’s ability to workout or train.

1) “Hey Maverick, how about doing your fly’s in someone else’s No Fly Zone?”

The mirror is for the person in front of it.  Personally, I love watching a little hot me-on-me action while I workout.  But coming between a lifter and their mirror is like coming between a mother Grizzly and her cubs.  Anyone stupid or inconsiderate enough to stroll in front of my mirror while I’m basking in my own uber-maleness is likely to end up with a barbell wedged in their ear.

2) Farts happen; deal with it.

It’s just the way it is.  Just think of the odd launched air éclair as an occupational hazard.  Considering the extreme pressures that you’re exerting on your body (often in awkward or unnatural positions) the random fart is bound to slip out occasionally, however, this is not free reign to begin dropping bombs willy-nilly for the rest of your workout.  The general rule of thumb goes thusly:  laugh, shrug your shoulders, smile sheepishly and get back to your reps, you sick bastard.  But contrary to some uncouth gasbags you may hear, it is never acceptable to rear back your cheek and squeeze out an encore.   That’s just unacceptable and you should be plugged up with a dumbbell before you euphemize the rest of us.

3) The right to grunt and growl is directly proportional to the weight being lifted.

It’s basic algebra for the weight room as I see it.  There are strict conditions for grunting: a) when lifting weights more than your own body weight, b) a lift close to your breaking point, or c) the last rep of your set.  Otherwise, you are not Maria Sharapova, dipshit, nor are you practicing for any hog calling competitions – so shut the hell up!

4) The person who wants your advice is the person who asks for it.

This rule exists largely because it’s usually those people who shouldn’t be giving work out tips in the first place that feel compelled to share their opinions; at least they seem to flock to me like moths to an ultraviolet light.  I tend to view these people in the same light as fat people who offer dieting advice or single people who volunteer relationship counseling.  Seriously, you put some people in gym shorts and they suddenly turn into Lou Ferigno.  I like to keep myself to myself, Hulk.  Don’t tell me how to do my workout and I won’t crush your head between these 50lb plates.

5) Thou shalt not disturb your neighbor.

Once someone is in motion during their workout do not, under any circumstances, pester them with “how many sets you still got left?” .  They’re not thinking about anything else other than what feels like it’s about to rip out of its socket, you moron.  A person needs to focus and concentrate when they’re working out and they can’t do that with some mulleted tool in a faded Foreigner t-shirt quizzing them about their days’ curricula.  You know when I’m done?  When I put the weights back on the rack – that’s when.  These types of questions should never be answered verbally.  Just cast them an “I’m going to kick your ass” glare then just go back to what you’re doing – only slower.

6) Mark your territory.

Leaving a water bottle and a towel bench is as good as pissing on it to mark your territory.  Without a water bottle, a towel or a bench you don’t have a recognizable work out station.  If it fails the three-point check with even one element missing it’s fair game.  Plunder away!

7) Clean up after yourself.

In any other bastion of civilized society, when you drop your bodily fluids – you wipe!  The gym is no different.  People who fail to wipe their sweat from a bench after they’re finished piss me off to no end.  I am driven to play ‘Heart and Soul’ on their spinal column with a pair of dumbbells.  How gross is that?  There is nothing worse than sitting down in a warm pool of someone else’s fluvia thank, you very much.  I’d rather lick the floor tiles at Swiss Chalet.

8 ) Lycra; it’s a privilege not a right!

There should be qualifying guidelines for wearing spandex, Lycra, or any other stretchy form-fitting workout clothing.  Maybe a stand-up board that reads: “You must be this fit to wear lycra.” Nothing can deter you from finishing your workout quicker than a classic Lycra train wreck working out beside you.  The way their pink flesh spills out from underneath the skintight bodysuits makes them look like a walking Playdoh Fun Factory.

9) Never exceed the three-hole limit on your shirt.

If there are more than three holes, it’s not a t-shirt anymore – it’s a rag.  Use it to buff your bike, not to work out in.  I don’t go to the gym to see weird patches of bodily hair peeking out from the multiple holes in other peoples shirts, thanks.  If it’s really such a valuable heirloom that you just can’t bring yourself to dispose of, wear it in the comforts and privacy of your own home along with your secret pair of high heels and lace panties, there, Princess.  Oh yeah, and absolutely no headbands.  The 80’s are over, Kareem.  Get past it.

10) If you’re huge enough to press it, you’re huge enough to put it away.

This is my ultimate pet peeve at the gym.  There’s nothing worse than having my workout evolve into a scavenger hunt because some grobulous knob is too lazy to put their weights back when they finished.  These morons deserve a sharp kick to the jewels.  It absolutely astounds me that the people who will think nothing of pressing a minibus over their head, are also too pussy to return the same weight back to where they found it only 5 ft. away.  Consider it a warm down, numbnuts.

11) Similar to Rule #3: keep it down!

I know it’s not a library or anything, but do people really have to make all those slamming and crashing noises?  It’s a tad bit attention seeking if you ask me.  If you’re too sissy to lower your weights slowly to the ground after your set you’re too sissy to lift weights, you Judy.  What goes through these peoples head?  Usually a sudden loud racket means the same as it does everywhere else:  you’ve fucked up.  Thanks for broadcasting it then, douche bag.

12) Leave your cell at home or in the locker.

Why in the hell would you ever want to bring a world of distraction into your exercise routine?  Kind of defeats the point of being there, doesn’t it?  I hate working out beside someone who is loudly discussing last night’s episode of House, or making kissy noises to their girlfriend.  These schmucks should be banned from the gym altogether and be subject to ‘Judgment Beyond Thunderdome’ by the rest of us.

13) Organize your social calendar elsewhere.

Just because you have the bodily girth of a polar bear doesn’t automatically give you the right to monopolize all the machines.  And while we’re on the topic of monopolizing the machines don’t conduct your social hour between sets with everyone that walks by either.  Some of us are waiting to use those machines today at some point.  Instead, let someone work in with you to speed the routine up for everyone, or at least hold your conversation to a minute or two between your sets.  This is not Happy Hour.

14) Keep your eyes to yourself, pervo!

Staring blatantly at some honey on the treadmill is like staring at the sun – you can look but only in short bursts or you’ll be blind to the beefy boyfriend beside you preparing to bludgeon you to death with his Stairmaster.

15) While changing in the locker room, the space you task is proportional to the width of your locker (not your ego).

I mean, how much space do you need to dry your ass and put on a clean pair of clothes?  You will see people who spread themselves over the changing area like they were setting up for a picnic.  Why do they need that much space?  But there’s an addendum to this commandment as well; if there is adequate room available in the change room it is not recommended you use the locker immediately next to the only guy in there changing – that’s just weird.  Having said this, you will inevitably encounter those creatures of habit who will insist on wedging themselves between two naked people just so they can have “their” preferred locker of choice.


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