Going to the gym is like going to church for me, I connect with an inner part of myself and I respect and love the place. It’s a place where I can work out my frustrations and feel a sense of control when something else in my life feels out of balance. I know a lot of people complain when the gym is packed full of people, but I love it; I love seeing people doing something to improve their health (even if they are just there for vanity). I love the cardio machines, I love the classes. I don’t take the classes, and I prefer to run outside or hike, but I love that they are there for the people who need them. I say all this to express that I love and respect the gym and I hope you will too.
Gym culture in Los Angeles is a little different than in other cities where I have trained, and every gym is different with a different culture. That being said, I have seen some of the same problems in different gyms in L.A., so I am going to address old school gym etiquette so we can all get on the same page.
At my current gym I have seen more aggressive arguments than I would like to recall (I think people have differing opinions on what their monthly fee entitles them too.) We all go to the gym a little agro from time to time. As I said before, it’s where I go when life seems crazy. When you get two guys wanting to use the same machine at the same time, both with stressful days just behind them; tempers can flare. So let’s get into it…
Things to Recognize
— We are all in a hurry.
— Yes you are important. So am I.
— We are all paying to be at the gym. Your monthly fee does not mean you bought the gym.
i had never been in a gym where people were resistant or flat out refused to share until I moved to L.A. I have actually seen people get in fights about not wanting to share. So let’s refer back to all points under “things to remember.” The gym is ours. This is how sharing works in the gym: If I am on a machine and you come up and ask to “work in,” I say “yes.” Super easy.
However, if you are working out with a partner and someone is already on a machine, it is poor form to ask if the two of you can work in as it will extend the first person’s rest time between each set beyond neighborly limits. If two people are using and sharing a machine, you wait till they are done or go do something else and swing back later.
It is excellent form for the person “working in” to put the weight back to the original person’s weight when he finishes his set, but not a huge sticking point.
If you are on equipment where you load weights, change them between sets for the other person and work together
If you don’t want to share with whoever is using the machine you want, back up a step and don’t give an angry stare. He has the same right to use the equipment as you do.
In every other city I have worked out in, people put the dumbbells back in their assigned spots. I was used to this, but over the years working out in L.A. I no longer care about that. However, you should always put the dumbbells back somewhere on the dumbbell rack. Also, put the weight bars back on the weight bar rack. You are not that busy or important that you cannot do this.
I’ve gotten used to “Easter egg hunting” for what I need, but it’s a time waster, and making someone do that is rude. If everyone puts the weights back where they belong, we all save time while cleaning up after ourselves.
Another way to look at it: Suppose your mom is gonna walk up and use the machine after you. Can she safely move three 45-pound plates? Probably not. Help her out and get a little additional lifting in as you do.
Get Out of My Mirror
Sometimes you are lifting too, and you have to be between someone else and his view of himself in the mirror while he is lifting. Totally fine. However, if you are resting and he is lifting, it’s a neighborly gesture to get out of his way so he can see his form in the mirror.
Excuse Me, Please, and Thank You
Saying these things is just good manners, and it costs you nothing. It actually earns you respect. For example, it’s uncool to go take a weight from someone who is on a bench press without asking him. You don’t know whether he didn’t just go grab a set of 10-pound plates on his last break that he is
about to use in a minute.
Give the Right of Way to the Dude Carrying the Big Weights
OMG if you are carrying 5’s and I am carrying 90’s back to the rack, GET THE F$%K OUT OF MY WAY! This should be obvious to people, but it is not. So here is the simple logic: 90’s are hard to carry. period.