After the gorging festivities of the past week have passed, the food babies have been slept off, and the last of the dishes have been washed, all of us who practice some self reflection will have realized something: A workout (or two, or three) is in serious order after we have plowed our bodies with enough calories to store up fat and hibernate through the cold winter months ahead.
For some, the gym is like a second home (No need to read on, for you are well versed), while for others it is a frightening and foreign land filled with large huffing, puffing football players and a collection of other pitfalls and potentially fatal awkward encounters. This blog post is especially for you, so listen up.
Do: Research and set your own goals. Read up a little bit, there are some fantastic resources for gym goers of all ages and levels. These are my two favorites (1 and 2). Set your own goals, whether they are aesthetic or performance based, they will help you keep focus and discipline. The purpose of this is so that you can maintain some modicum of self respect, and just so you don’t feel downright silly.
Don’t: Be a chatty Cathy. Girls and frat bro’s, I’m looking at you. Space and equipment are limited resources. Get in, warm up, work out and get out. Nothing is worse than waiting for someone to use a machine or the squat rack and they spend their ‘rest’ time gossiping for five minutes, or even worse, on their phone. The most insufferable version of this person has headphones with an in line microphone, so you don’t stand a chance of getting their attention- and are left waiting an eternity while you wilt away.
Do: Have a designated workout buddy. Studies have shown that having a partner or a group to workout with can keep you going to the gym for longer and more consistently. Finally, a positive type of peer pressure.
Don’t: Ogle. At the gym you will find a myriad of attractive and well toned males and females. This coupled with the fact that the majority of them will be engaged in physical activity, in revealing clothing (Yoga pants, how are you such a blessing and a curse?) in front of mirrors makes for an ogle-fest. You do not want to be that girl or guy that gets labelled as a creep due to your wandering eye. So look once (Twice if she’s really cute) and resist the urge and focus on your workout. Remember that people are there to improve themselves, so staring and gawking is insensitive.
Do: Re-rack and wipe down your equipment after use. Because its sanitary and polite, and because sweat puddles are gross and icky.
Don’t: Lift heavy without a spotter. This one applies more to the guys out there. Nothing is more embarrassing than dropping the barbell on yourself while attempting to bench press*.
*Note: There is one thing actually. This happens when you are bench pressing heavy without a spotter while listening to music with headphones. Then you reach failure. Now you have a barbell pinning you down to the bench, and blaring music in your ears causing you to lose the ability to gauge how loud your voice is while you ask for help (Or squeal). So you end up repeatedly half shouting then half whispering, “Help! Help? Help.” Until the nearest person so kindly offers some assistance. No, this did not happen to me…
Disclaimer: This did happen to me.
Do: Share. Growing up I was always taught, sharing is caring. So when someone asks you how many more sets you have with those dumbbells, the appropriate response should be, “(Insert how many sets you have left) but you can jump in.” Its courteous and people will be sure to return the favor.
Don’t: Take selfies in the mirror. Whatever your take is on selfies, we are all guilty of having snapped a few in the privacy of our own bathrooms (Why is it that approximately 86.4% of selfies are taken in the bathroom)**. It is highly frowned upon to take selfies in the gym. Firstly, whenever anyone in your immediate vicinity hears the click of a camera shutter their first thought is, “Why is this person taking a picture of me?” Followed by the realization that you have pulled up your shirt and are holding a flex for the camera. They then shake their heads in disappointment and move on. This is an exact sequence of events, as they occur, every single time.
**Note: Approximately 73.4% of statistics are made up.
Lastly and most importantly, do go to the gym and enjoy yourself. Strive to make yourself a little bit better everyday, and one day- lo and behold, you will be a vastly improved version of yourself.