When I first pitched myself and my writerly skillz to the Literally, Darling editorial team, I made a point of talking about my love of weightlifting and how I wanted to get more of my virtual ladyfriends to unlock their inner beast mode.
Well, fast-forward six months and I had actually managed to slither into a deep abyss of (unexplainable and wholly inexcusable) laziness—until, that is, I simply woke up one morning and realised that I actually really, really missed lifting shiny, heavy things. I missed immersing myself in a workout and disconnecting from the world for a bit; I missed pushing my body to its limits and challenging myself to nail that extra weight, extra rep, extra push. So I joined the gym again and gave myself a great big mental-pat-on-the-back. As I write this, I am very sore and very happy: just the way I like it.
But stepping away from the gym for so long gave me a fresh perspective on things. Just one workout session made my temples throb with irritation. Oh yes: gym etiquette—or lack thereof—is intensely annoying. Like … imagine you’re having a soothing massage treatment with a dripping tap in the background the whole time, or trying to sleep in a gorgeous hotel bed with someone snoring in the next room. You get my drift, right? You just want to nope the fuck out of what would otherwise be a pretty awesome time. After the first long-awaited fling with the gym equipment, all my greatest pet hates came flooding back and started grating up against me like Jamie Oliver to a block of parmesan.
And … breathe.
So, with all that said: here are five easy ways to clean up your act when you’re getting down and dirty in the weight room. Lead ’em by example, darlings!
1. Stop staring.
Don’t check other people’s workouts. Don’t be that kid who leans over and is obviously keeping tabs on how fast your neighbour is going on the treadmill/how much weight they’re lifting on the machine next to you. Unless you politely ask if you can watch someone because their technique is on point and you’d like to learn from them, remember what your mama always told you: It’s rude to stare.
2. Please wipe down the equipment.
I don’t really wanna be grasping the same handles you were just mopping your brow over. No offence, but that’s just gross. You flush the toilet when you leave the stall, don’t you? So give your equipment a quick wipe down with the tissue/antibacterial wipes your gym provides.
3. Remember: the gym is a communal space.
Don’t hog the equipment if you aren’t using it. Though the leg press may seem like a great place to rest up and chat to your mom on the phone, GTF off that thing. The same goes for the water fountain: when you’re done filling up your water bottle, leave it alone. And weights—you don’t need to use five sets of dumbbells at once, so don’t pile them around you like you own them.
4. Respect people’s personal space.
If there are five treadmills either side of me, I don’t expect you to sidle right up next to me and start pounding away. Is that because I’m British and we’re weird about that kind of stuff? Maybe. I’d just rather you shunted along a bit, buddy.
5. The gym is not a catwalk.
I have to call out a certain women’s fitness blog I once wrote for into question here, who begged for gym selfies of me in expensive, bright-coloured workout gear—despite the fact that I wrote about how I loved working out because feeling good is more important than looking good. However you do your gym thing—be it in head-to-toe VS or a wrinkled T-shirt—that’s cool, but don’t put too much emphasis on it. And to all the grunting, apish meatheads who swagger around in tank tops and Snapbacks: I do not see why expensive headgear is necessary in a place you go to to get literally as sweaty as possible.
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