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?
Being that I am not a gym person, but lo and behold my best friend is a nutritionist, who worked in a gym for years, she tells me all sorts of stories similar to what you shared here and must admit some never get old. But loved some of your suggestions, especially for the newbies. Can’t even imagine how frustrating it must be to deal with some of the craziness that goes on in a gym during this month with all the New Year’s Resolutions being made and broken, too.
It’s the same all over I’m sure! You just have to ride the wave until it eventually goes back to “normal” by the end of February 🙂
I don’t understand the people on the elliptical in non-gym clothing. At all. Always on the elliptical moving at a snails pace. Here is another one – you got to the gym, that is the hardest part, now DO SOMETHING! Break a sweat. Don’t Milli Vanilli on the elliptical. I would also appreciate the ladies in the corner of spin remembering they are there to WORKOUT not coffee talk…the ENTIRE class. While we are on spin – turn up the resistance. Your ass bouncing all over the seat is doing nothing for you. Oh Jeez Allie, I can go on for an ETERNITY.
Oh I’m laughing because you KNOW! The woman with the jeggings? On the elliptical and texting. The jeggings also had holes in them. Seriously. And talking in class? One of my biggest complaints for sure!! I always say “If you’re talking, you’re not working hard enough!” Clearly we should write a book.
I just want to echo, if you are new please show up more than 5 minutes before class, especially Spinning-it takes 15 to get you set up
Spoken (written) like a true spin instructor!
Are there really jeggings in the gym? Too funny! Oh yes, chill out is key… people can make a big deal out of any little thing!!
Oh how I wish I had not seen them Laura but yes, I did. It will all be over soon !
I love how everyone fights over the parking spaces closest to the building so they can go in and workout. I get it…it is cold out but will those few extra steps kill you?!?
Seriously! People get VERY angry. I’d like to see them get into the gym with a huge bag and two insane 4 year-olds. It’s a workout in itself.
Gym etiquette is definitely a thing… Like all things, learning something new works better with plenty of spare time and patience!
So true! Those skills work well in any situation. Unfortunately when you’re pressed for time and something gets in the way of your “usual” routine, people freak.
I got the full up and down look at my body with an incredulous sneer when I mentioned training for a race during our conversation in the locker room. Now, I’m pretty sure by her choice of attire that she is one of said newbies at our gym. Never visibly judge someone like that, in in the locker room, while im half naked? Really? I’m just happy the frigid temps have kept a lot of the crazies away this year.
Like a good friend of mine always says “Fitness comes in all shapes and sizes!” There are plenty of skinny-fat people out there. Pay no attention Megan! If they only knew!! 🙂
Dealing with the newbies at the gym is remarkably similar to dealing with disgruntled travelers. Best to just nod your head, smile politely, and then ignore them. Dropping a comment in the suggestion box is just like ranting and raving to the overworked, underpaid employee at the check-in counter. A waste of time!
Exactly!!! I’ll have to remember that when I’m traveling to Europe with the kids this Spring – OY!!!
My pet peeve is when people are sitting on equipment between sets. Just sitting there, waiting out their time. Not stretching, or getting out of the way for anyone else. I have a very specific time that I go to the gym (between 1 and 3 – so it’s not busy) and every single time I’ve been I’ve had to wait for at least one person to get off a piece of equipment so I could use it. I asked one woman to work in and she said “No, can’t you wait a minute?” Really. I was considering using the suggestion box but I think I’ll talk to the manager now! That’s basic gym etiquette.
It never ceases to amaze me how absolutely RUDE people are! Basic gym etiquette is definitely to work in between sets. And, for that matter, why are you sitting?? Get up and work out! It’s a gym people! Definitely talk to someone who makes decisions. Good luck 🙂
Love it! I feel like the newbies need this list fo’ shizzle. And so do the regulars! A friend of my sister believes that people should come with suggestion boxes taped to their backs! ;)-Ashley
HA HA HA – suggestion boxes on people’s backs!! I love it.
Great advice! I only go to the gym for spin class and I noticed that everyone has their “spot”. Smoking before going to the gym is pointless. Why bother?
I mean really!! I could not believe when this guy got on the treadmill next to me and reeked of smoke. What the?? Maybe he lives with someone who smokes but OMG!
Seriously–people smoke before entering a gym? That’s crazy! My personal pet peeve are people with tons of cologne or perfume on. Ick–nothing I want to be breathing in while working out. Or any time, for that matter! And naked locker room strutters can go, too. No thanks!
YES the cologne and perfume people – awful! I think they’re oblivious. Naked women walking around the locker room is never a good thing. It’s always the ones who should have like 17 towels wrapped around them. Yikes!
My son belongs to a gym and has to go during peak hours as he’s at school during the day. This time of year he always comes home grumbling about trying to find a parking space and not being able to use equipment because they’re taken by people who spend 25 minutes trying to figure out how to use them. He’s always cheered up when we work out the countdown until all those people stop going and he can park and work out again.
Yep, it’s the same all over. Most gyms offer some sort of free consultations and people really need to use them!! Good luck to your son. It’s almost over…
Oh my gosh! The spot thing KILLS ME! I hate it when people are possessive about a random spot of wood in a large studio. I have definitely been to a new class before where I have taken someone else’s “spot” it is so juvenile. This actually happened to me in high school at my local gym and a grown man and woman (who were probably like my age now) started whispering and making rude comments because I interfered with their “spots.” Really!? I was 17! Really inappropriate.
The only thing I will say about spots is that once you are in class and have claimed yours it is incredibly rude for a latecomer to enter class and park themselves right in front of you or too close to you. That is the worst. At that point I think it’s ok to say “Dude, you are in my spot. Move over or you may get kicked or punched during class.” To be fair I think this annoyance stems from dancing my whole life where we were required to organize ourselves into neat staggered lines so we didn’t kick each other. Although I fail to see why intelligent adults can’t realize that.
Preach on my friend! I’ve seen this happen time and again. The absolute worst is when people come in late and just stand in “their” spot even though it’s been taken by two other people. It’s so incredibly rude. People need to remember basic courtesy but they must lose it in their sweat or something. Crazy!
I can totally relate to this Allie! The latest drama at my gym involves the regulars who take spin class at 8 am on Saturdays. People were claiming bikes Friday evening and everyone was getting all bitchy. The new policy is that you can call starting at 3 pm on Thursdays to reserve a bike – this way you don’t have to physically come in and race to a bike. I think it’s going well – I don’t go to that class. I just find the whole thing entertaining.
OMG that is ridiculous but I can’t say I haven’t seen it happen. People get WAY attached to bikes and I’m like “Get a freakin life!” My instructor bike gets changed out all the time and it’s no big deal. I guess we’re all just creatures of habit but really, there’s a line of crazy that’s being crossed.
hahahaha this post is hilarious. I definitely get gym rage at people who don’t know gym etiquette!!! The treadmill story is so funny!
I’m glad I can make you laugh…and that you can relate. That woman was insane!! Luckily my friend was there b/c I would not have handled it the same way.
I’m actually waiting to join the gym until I won’t be grouped in with the resolution folks. I know that is totally ridiculous but I don’t want to be judged. I’m already nervous enough to go to the gym (I’m so strangggeeee!).
It’s not strange AT ALL. In fact, I make a point to smile or acknowledge obvious newbies b/c I don’t want them to feel like they shouldn’t be there. Everyone belongs at the gym, as far as I’m concerned, as long as you use your manners – come on in!! Good luck with joining. 🙂
Hahaha – laughing so hard! I have been known to go on my elliptical at home in my pjs. Is that considered ok gym attire? Don’t worry I would never do it in public and I do put a bra on! Just call me (kinda) lazy. And I have also walked on a treadmill reading a book. I know, I know, if I am going slow enough to read a book, it probably doesn’t count as a workout! You are probably completely appalled at me now. I don’t complain about anyone though when I do go to the gym…hopefully no one complains about me either.
PJs would have been a huge improvement to what this woman was wearing AND she was texting. What? If you’re walking and reading, that’s fine and way better then reading on your couch with a bag of Doritos! As long as you’re not being rude to me, I really don’t care. You could never appall me Michelle!! Keep walking and reading with your pjs on my friend.
Allie- I am going to be teaching yoga at a gym for the first time ever (versus studio teaching) starting next week so I was happy to get the heads up on some of the things I get to look forward to while I’m there! The “spot” in class – LOL! And getting there early if you need help. And the music! Too funny! I’m guessing I’ll get some resolution yoga goers who will be gone soon – given it’s still January.
It’s really a great experience and I have loved (and still do!) teaching in a gym. Of course, owning your own place is infinity better since you get to make the rules 🙂
Good luck with your new job! I hope you write about it.
I LOL’d at the advice to newbies and regulars. The regulars seriously need to chill out. It’s as if they are so fabulous and freaking fit when a lot of them haven’t went up on a weight or pushed themselves in a class since they joined, jumps off soapbox. This was hilarious. We don’t have that box. I kinda think it’s because my jerk off gym owner could care less. Oops, did I type that!
OMG why are all club owners jerks? Maybe it’s that we’re just lucky enough to find these people? So sad. And yes, I could go on about some of the regulars too. I’m constantly trying them to up their resistance on the bike or go up in weights! I guess it’s the same no matter where you go 🙂
Yet another reason we would be friends in person – I would have done the same thing – reached across and turned up her volume!! People are funny!!!
Great ideas for real life suggestions!!!
I love that so many people start the year off motivated – sad they can’t feel the same in March or June or October!!!
And, that quote about watching what we eat New Years to Christmas – very true!!!
People are crazy! I’m glad you said you would have done the same thing.
I try to keep people motivated and coming back. I view it as a personal challenge. Sometimes I succeed but, more often then not, they disappear.
I love that quote! Someone actually said it to me and I was surprised to find it out on the web 🙂
lol at the jeggings!! girl but wait. There is actually a water bottle only filling machine in one of my gyms—the bottle stands upright and everything!! I can’t believe that lady told you that you were shouting. oh boy. The smoking thing is so true too! I was doing my lifting yesterday and OMG this dude wreaked of WEED! He is super fit and always in the gym but the smell was so distracting — not something I want to smell while trying to lift heavy weights. UGH.
Ha haha!! We actually have that water bottle filling thing too now but it’s RIGHT above the actual drinking part of the fountain. What genius designed that?
They guy reeking of weed is cracking me up! How can people lift weights (or workout at all) when they’re high? What? Cray Cray.
This was terrific! One piece of advice I’d give newbies is don’t take it personally if no one is friendly. I don’t want to small talk; I want to get my workout done and get home. I’m not trying to be rude if I don’t chat about nothing at the water fountain. I’m just, you know…doing stuff.
Yes it’s true. Most people there do not have time to chit chat. Good advice!
Thanks for the laugh!
You’re most welcome! Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂
What a great list for newbies and regulars alike! The one thing I can’t stand at a gym applies to everyone – GET OFF THE DAMN PHONE WHILE YOU’RE WORKING OUT!!!! #rantover
Does this upset you Melissa? Be honest. HA HA HA!!! One gym I worked at years ago (the one with the box!) had a no cell phone policy. Can you imagine how that would go over these days? At the Y there are areas where cell phone use isn’t permitted but most people pay zero attention to it. I don’t get why you would be on the phone unless it’s an emergency and, in that case, you better head to your car!
This is HILARIOUS! Those darn people..filling their water bottles with water.
Those darn people…being loud and having fun AT A GYM.
I only had one resolution this year – to see moose. I think it will happen.
And I have to tell you the best workout IN THE WORLD – doing the theme park circuit for four days straight. I have logged in about 20 uphill, stroller-pushing miles!
I cannot wait until you see a moose because then I get to see amazing pictures of that moose!
YES the magical world of walking until you drop at Disney!!! I already told you I didn’t actually go to the gym or for a run the entire 8 days we spent there last year b/c I was too exhausted form walking what seemed like thousands of miles. You go Tamara!!! You can do it! 🙂
Because I was once a woman who was 100 pounds overweight, it took me a long time to build up the courage to go to the gym. I was afraid of being judged and didn’t even go until I had lost weight on my own by working out in the basement (how crazy is that thinking?). When I finally got brave enough to go, I was still intimidated by everyone who looked like they belonged and I felt I did not. One morning, in the locker room, one of the women from the “retired set” said to me, “Don’t ever forget…we’re all here for the same reason.” Those words of kindness stuck with me. With that in mind, now that I’m a regular gym rat, I try to smile and say Good Morning to any newbies I run across. I know first hand how a kind word or a friendly smile, can help to turn a nervous well meaning newbie into a devoted member.
Such a great perspective and so well written Chris!! I always like hearing stories when people remember something GOOD that was said because it’s so often those negative comments that stay with us. Here’s to all the resolutions who will soon be gym regulars!!
Even more offensive gym clothing to me is the camisole/no bra crime. Seriously?! What the… why?!
When I used to coach high school girls, it was a lot like dealing with the Resolutioners. Before the lunch break during two-a-days, I would have to have The Talk about what was/was not appropriate (volleyball) gym attire.
A woman in my class last night was actually holding her boobs while we were jumping. I guess she figured out the hard way that she had the wrong sports bra!! Poor thing. I will never have that problem – so sad.
My sympathies on you having to coach high school girls!!! I can only imagine all the reminders they needed 🙂
I have to admit. I’m the person who has to have my spot in class. I get totally thrown off and don’t know what to do when someone else is in my spot. And I’m almost always rushing in at that last minute. And therefore I no longer attend classes. Issue resolved.
I’ve always been more of a home workout person than anything else.
In the walkers defense, what is the possibility that she actually broke a sweat? LOL
At least you have the decency to NOT take “your spot” after someone else is in it – ha ha!!
I have NO problem with the woman who was walking – it was more the hanging onto the sides of the treadmill. I hope she didn’t break a sweat since she didn’t wipe it down afterward… ewwwww