Somebody told me today was National No Complaints Day, which of course inspired in me the deep need to complain about my workplace.
Working at a gym, you see the odd (and often unseemly) side of otherwise normal people. People who typically have decent hygiene sweating all over machines without wiping it up. People who have the wherewithal to use indoor voices in their daily lives somehow turn into the loudest grunters at the squat rack. It’s like people leave their normal selves at the gym door and turn into some alternative being once they’re faced with iron and treadmills.
But beyond my general complaints about smell/sounds/oddities, there are certain things in the gym that make me shudder and cringe – and sometimes fill with rage. They are so profoundly offensive that I have time and again considered asking my boss if we can “police” them to the extent that we withhold memberships from repeat offenders (she said no, BTW).
Dropping weights. If you are strong enough to lift them, you should be strong enough to place them gently back on the floor or rack. Otherwise you’re not a tough guy, you’re a lazy douche.
Leaving weight plates racked on machines. Similar to the above – I’m glad you’re awesome enough to squat 280 pounds on the Smith machine. That should also translate into being awesome enough to unrack your weights so that the little old lady who wants to squat the empty bar can get under it without being crushed. Yeah, thanks.
Using the elliptical. This machine is so pointless it enrages me to see people try to use it for exercise. If you have a knee replacement, struggle to balance on your own two feet without falling over, or don’t care about actually gaining any cardiovascular fitness from your exercise, by all means – elliptical away. But for the able-bodied and calorie-counting among us, find some actual way to work out (my recommendation? Rowing machine.)
Trying to “save” machines with a towel or water bottle. You know what happens when someone leaves a machine “marked” with a sweaty towel? I slip on a latex glove, toss that towel in the bin, and go about working on the machine I need to use – now. If you want to set up a fancy circuit, use free weights – and corral yourself a little space. Otherwise, the machine is up for grabs if your butt isn’t sitting in it.
Checking your phone during a class. If you want to waste your precious workout time checking your phone while sitting on a bench, go ahead – not my problem. But when you’re in my Spin class, taking up a bike that someone on the waiting list would’ve loved to use, and enjoying a program that I designed specifically for your workout enjoyment, you better damn well listen up.
And finally, talking to someone who is clearly trying to work out. The gym is not social hour. The gym is not a place to pick up ladies (or gents), nor is it a place to conduct formal business. If the person in question has earbuds in, is lifting a dumbbell, is running at high speeds, or is otherwise engaged in actual exercise, it’s probably not time to launch into the discussion about your weird toe growth or your kid’s school class or some other inane topic of distraction. Zip your lip so I don’t slip my grip, ok?
What drives you crazy in the gym?