Fitness & Health

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Gym etiquette for the uninformed

Kristyn Filip | Fulcrum Staff

Ah, September. The air is cooling, the leaves are changing, and assholes are storming the University of Ottawa’s gyms in record numbers. After an idyllic four months of relative peace and quiet at both the Minto Sports Complex and Montpetit facilities, the gyms are once again packed to the bursting point with students. While I certainly don’t mind waiting my turn to use the workout equipment—an influx of gym-goers at the beginning of the school year is only to be expected—it’s sharing the space with students who are of the “born in a barn” variety that really grinds my gears. In a very likely futile attempt to eradicate the rudeness from the U of O gyms, I present the following: a few rules I think even the most well-mannered of gym-goers could be reminded of.

You must obey the sign-up sheet

Whenever you enter the gym, consider the sign-up sheet your new religious text and follow its rules carefully. For anyone who has yet to go to a gym and is reading this article preemptively—and hats off to you, if this is the case—the sign-up sheet is located at the front desk of both gyms. Every exercise bike, Stairmaster, elliptical, and treadmill is listed on the sheet—or whiteboard, to be correct—and in order to use any of the aforementioned machinery, one must check the availability of said machine and then sign up for a 15 or 30 minute time slot where possible. Frustratingly, some gym-goers seem to think the rules of the sign-up sheet do not apply to them. These people will hop on machines prior to consulting the sheet, or they will disregard the time they signed up for, saying to the next person in line, “I’ll be right off! I only have five more minutes left.” Don’t be one of those people. Those five minutes don’t belong to you.

Leave your cellphone in your locker 

Or at home, or in your pocket, or virtually anywhere on Earth, but please—please—don’t bring your cellphone into the workout area with you. As made evident by laws that ban cellphone usage while driving—the town of Fort Lee, N.J. went so far as to ban texting and walking—cellphones can be extremely distracting. If you’re too busy chatting or typing to pay attention to the clock on the wall, you could very easily occupy a machine well past your allotted time slot, only to eat into the next person’s precious 15 minutes. To make matters worse, the gym can be a noisy place, and if you’re inside one and talking on the phone, you likely need to scream to be heard. Not only can everyone in the area hear your entire conversation, but they’re all likely willing you to shut up. Oh, and using a cellphone while working out is a great way to seriously injure yourself, so unless you’re into torn muscles and unsightly bruises, don’t do it.

The gym is a flirting-free zone

If you’re flirting at the gym, chances are you’re hovering alongside the machines, lingering on the mats, or chatting at the water fountain for a prolonged period of time. Essentially, you’re getting in everybody’s way. If you want to flirt with someone, go to a bar. Granted, gyms and bars do have a lot in common—they’re both full of hot and sweaty people, for instance—but trying to pick up at the gym is a surefire way to piss off everyone in the vicinity, including the person you’re trying to attract. No one feels sexy while working out—and if you do, you’re not doing it right—so do us all a favour and practice the art of seduction somewhere else.

Wipe down your equipment

No ifs, ands, or sweaty butts about it.