We're the ones your mother warned your about...No, seriously. We are.








Because I can bench press you, that's why.

1. Hi, I work here for a reason.
If someone that works at the gym asks you to do something, or asks you not to do something, there's probably a really good reason for it. You would not believe the amount of rules that are in place for insurance purposes alone. (Okay, Closet B would believe it.)
Also? They get paid to say that to you, which means that they probably know what they're talking about. (this is not always true, so if they tell you that sure you can bench 250 your first time on the weight floor, I'd exercise caution.)
My favorite example of this was when I was lifting with one female trainer, Jay. Jay was like a Barbie doll - blond hair, boobs, and all muscle, but not in a scary "are you sure that's a girl?" way - the whole deal. She was trying to explain to someone that we didn't allow people to lift in sandals (we'll get to that one soon enough, trust me), and when he said, "Why the hell should I listen to you?" her response was, "Because I can bench press you, that's why."
Funny how that one will work.

2. Leave your cell phone/purse/kitchen sink in your locker.
*hand up* no, I don't want to hear it. I don't care who you are, I don't care what your job is. Unless someone in your family is on an organ waiting list, leave your stuff in the locker. That's what it's there for. To have things put in it & have it locked. There is no reason for you to carry around your bag while you're lifting. None. At. All. Plus, you're just upping the chances that someone else is going to a) trip over it, or b) drop a weight on it, and then where will you be?
And you - the person that can't unplug from their cell phone! If you are a parent that's that concerned about your kids, that's fine. Waiting for your wife to go into labor? Okay. You are allowed to bring your cell phone onto the floor. If you're bringing it with you so that you can talk to your friend while you're on the elliptical machine, we need to sit down & have a chat about the "work" portion of the word "workout".

3. Collect good karma - carry elastics.
This is more of a girl thing than a guy thing, I'll grant that. But really? You want to rack up the goodwill points, go to Kmart, spend a buck on a bag of hair elastics, put them in your gym bag, & leave them there. Not only will it benefit you, but trust me when I say that the girl in the locker room whose day you just saved by having an extra is now indebted to you forever.

4. I realize this is a naked place, but there's only so much I need to know about you, m'kay?
this one's for KitCat.
The locker room is, indeed, a naked place. Now, after art school & four years working in a gym & as an instructor, I will admit I've seen a good amount of people that I probably wouldn't have anticipated, and my own modesty is less than stringent as a result.
However.
There's locker room nakedness, & then there's just, well, too much. I say this knowing that I know people that do this, but really? If the only way that I know you is because we go to the same gym, could you please at least put underwear on before you dry your hair? I don't swing my twins in front of you, so I'd appreciate the same courtesy. My mental visual of you was fine when you still had all your clothes on, thanks.

5. The gym staff is not your mother, and even she makes you pick up after yourself, now doesn't she?
Hi. I know you pay to work out here, & you have a membership of your very own, but the truth of the matter is, you still have to share with others in this particular sandbox. Put yer shit back where ya found it. Why?
Firstly, are you creating more work for the staff. (yes I realize they are paid to take care of the place, but how would you like it if I walked into your office & rearranged your filing system?)
Second? The person after you might not be able to lift the same weight, and I've gone over to help many a puzzled girl that had come to the bench after a guy walked away without replacing his weights. He's off in the showers, and she's looking at the bar thinking, "How the fuck am I supposed to move those?"

6. The scary muscle boys aren't all scary.
No, seriously. Many of them are perfectly nice, & you should not be afraid to ask when they're done with their set or if they can help you move something. They will spot you, they will help you with your form. The majority, anyway. If they're sitting on the floor oiling themselves in the mirror or lifting a bar that three of their friends are standing on - then I wouldn't recommend approaching, 'cause there's the possibility of 'roid rage. Just sayin'.

7. Hey there, guy/girl that's watching him/herself in the mirror & flexing...we can all see you doing that.
No, seriously, we can. It's just like the person that we pass on the highway & we can see them examining their nosehairs in the rear view mirror while there's a traffic jam. We can seeeeee yooooou! The gym is lined with mirrors, so not only can I see you, but everyone else can see you because reflections...reflect. At multiple angles. Hurry up & finish your fucking set, there's a good Narcissus.

8. Please wear the appropriate attire for the gym.
I'm not asking for high fashion. Anyone that's seen me at the gym knows that I look pretty fuckin' ragged. And I live in LA, so you can imagine how well that goes over. I'm not against being comfortable when you work out. The truth of the matter is, not only are the following a bad idea to wear to the gym in terms of your mobility, they can also result in injury :
jeans
basically any footwear that's not sneakers but especially:
- sandals
- flip flops
Don't like it? Come over here, I'll drop a 25 lb weight on your bare foot. We'll see how fast you go out & buy a pair of sneakers then, trust me.

9. If your hair is perfect at the end and your makeup isn't smeared, you aren't working hard enough.
You are going to look like crap by the end, sweetie. That's the whole point. Why the hell are you wearing makeup to the gym anyway? It's bad for your skin to sweat with makeup on, anyway - you're clogging your pores...

10. If what they're doing looks hard - it probably is.
There's nothing wrong with talking to new people at a gym. Nothing at all. Make acquaintances, make friends, make booty calls - these are all viable options. But if the person you want to talk to is doing something that looks difficult, such as lifting a really heavy weight or doing their impression of Gumby while stretching...wait until they're done before you walk up and distract them. I have seen more than one person (guys & girls) get shot down for the simple fact that they eradicated someone else's ability to finish a set. So, trust me wait until they're taking a water break to go over & talk to them. Very key.

Also, as a general bonus...
Head up, Push your shoulders back, tuck that butt under, and breathe!
This command is applicable in pretty much any form of exercise except for some yoga positions that, well, honestly rather frighten me. Feel free to mumble that to yourself several times over the course of your workout & after a while, you'll find that you just naturally do it.

~ Claris
June 14, 2004

Are you bleeding? Are you broken? Are you dead?
Notes of a bi-coastal gym rat

Street Cred -
the Ins, Outs, & What Abouts...

What Keeps Me On The Cardio Machines -
what's spinning in my CD player right now...

~ Claris' Archive
claris@nodignity.com