Ah the suggestion box. It’s really a big blow off as in “Oh yes that sounds like a real problem. You can put it down on this piece of paper and drop it in the suggestion box.” The particular suggestion box I’m referring to, of course, is the one at my gym – or any gym for that matter. I worked for a number of years at a big commercial gym and I know all too well how the box works. We would sit around at our big meetings and the manager (I use that word very lightly) would throw a few of the “best” suggestions on the table…and we would all hysterically laugh. We would know exactly who wrote them and why and most of the time they were completely absurd. A few examples:
1. Could you please designate a water fountain just for filling water bottles? When someone is trying to fill their bottle and I’m just trying to get a quick drink, it’s really annoying.
For real-zies? You’re in such a gigantic rush to get back to your workout that you can’t wait the 30 seconds it may take for someone to fill up their water bottle? By the time you walk to the “designated” fountain, you may as well just wait in line. Next!
2. When classes are held in the gym the volume of the music and instructor is way too loud especially on Sunday mornings.
You can guess who that instructor was. Yours truly, teaching kickboxing to 40-50 people. So let’s see, we could either turn the music (and volume of the instructor) down or maybe your one self could stay out the gym on Sundays between 9-10am since this is the only complaint we’re getting? Oh wait, I know…suck it up!!! It’s a gym! If your ears are so very delicate perhaps you should workout at home.
I could go on, but you get the idea. I’m bringing this up because January is almost over and the regulars at the gym are starting to get very antsy about the “resolutioners.” You know, the people who joined the gym January 1st and have zero clue about gym etiquette or just don’t care and walk around like they own the place? Yep, those people.
I’ve been working at or working out at a gym for over 10 years. That’s a lot of Januarys. I see the same things happen year after year and if the regulars would just calm down a bit they will see that all the newbies will be gone by mid-February and, as a bonus, we’ll be joined by some new friends who actually make it past February and will most likely be “lifers” like us.
MY RESOLUTIONER RUN-IN
I’m not usually bothered by the January start-ups. The times I’m at the gym, which is to say – SAHM hours – there are plenty of parking spaces and plenty of treadmills. The classes I teach are filled to the brim and it’s way more awesome to teach to a full class then to 5 people. Trust me. However, one recent afternoon this happened:
I was running on the treadmill next to a woman who was walking. Fine. She was also holding onto the sides of the treadmill while walking with no incline. Ok, fine, whatever. She was also listening to the TV through her headphones. Whatever, just observing because the treadmill is that boring. Luckily, a friend of mine comes and starts running on the treadmill next to me. The walker/holder on/headphone woman is on my left and my friend is on my right. It was about 4pm on a Tuesday and almost no one else was in the fitness area. So, my friend and I are running and chatting – and smiling because the treadmill just got a lot less boring. Walking woman then taps me on the arm and (with her headphones still on!) says “You ladies are shouting!” Um, what the…? Aren’t you wearing headphones? As I was about to reach across her and increase the volume of her TV, my friend responds with “Oh, ok” and we exchange looks like “Is this woman for real?” I mean, what?? And then, when she was finished with her walk, she didn’t even wipe down the treadmill! Gross.
You may be wondering what my point is. I’m also wondering that. Oh wait, I remember – the suggestion box! If I could be so bold as to make some general suggestions about working out in a gym though January, this is what they would be:
SUGGESTIONS FOR THE NEWBIES
1. Everyone is super psyched that you decided to join a gym and get in shape for your New Year’s resolution. However, please try to be informed about the rules of the gym like for signing up for classes, equipment etiquette and in general just being a decent human being.
2. If you’re new to a class and need some help please show up with more then 2 minutes until the start of class so the instructor can actually help you and start class on time.
3. Jeggings are frowned upon as “fitness attire.” What you chose to wear outside of the gym is entirely up to you.
4. Don’t smoke right before coming into the gym. No one at a gym wants to smell it and shouldn’t that be first on the resolution list?
SUGGESTIONS FOR THE REGULARS
1. Chill out. Most of these people will be gone two weeks from now and you’ll still be here. Lucky you!
2. You know the gym is packed so show up a little earlier if you want a parking space, a bike in spin class or your sanity.
3. There is no such thing as “your spot” in group fitness classes. If you really can’t function without being in said spot, please see #2.
4. You were the new person at the gym once. Try to remember what that feels like even though you’re now a supreme fitness god/goddess.
My last piece of advice (promise!) is, if you really feel strongly about some grave gym injustice you’re suffering, do not put it in the suggestion box. Ask to talk to a manager or someone who has the decision making power. Face to face bitching is always better then words on a piece of paper. Trust me.
Now get out there and get your sweat on!
What are your suggestions for newbies or regulars? Do you have a newbie gym story to share? Do tell! If you don’t go to the gym, is there something you wish you could change about the resolution you made this year?