This is the day.
This is the day that you are finally going to go to the gym. Sure, you renewed your membership mid-December to get a head start on your fitness goals, but no one does anything productive before New Year’s, right? Right. The day after is for being hungover, the week after is reserved for adjusting back into the real world and now — well, now you’re out of excuses, so you’re going.
Every class will be packed because this thought is not unique to you. Every locker will be taken, every shower in use, every bike under bottom.
But if you’re really serious about committing to getting in shape — or screw the shape: if you’re really serious about going to the gym so that your membership is finally more than an expensive key chain, you’ve gotta know the etiquette.
Ignore the Gym Regulars
Contention between gym regulars and resolutionists is as old as beef between house cats and newborn babies: the regs find you annoying, you find them intimidating. Just as the house cat has to warm up to the idea that a bald kitten-thing is taking all of its humans’ attention, the regulars have to warm up to you — and they will. They’ll start to see you around enough that they’ll stop hissing each time you pass by. In the meantime, it’s your job to ignore them. Stay out of their way, be courteous with shared equipment and remember that just because they’re stretching peacefully in a sunny spot does not mean you’re welcome to pet their bellies. These things take time, you know. Just like abs.
This is Not a Gatorade Ad
Just a friendly reminder that drinking doesn’t mean dousing your head in juice!
Stay in Your Lane
Mind your business and keep your eyes forward, whether you’re in the locker room, a group class or in a row of machines that display your progress. I know how tempting it is to see how many calories that sweaty dude is burning on his dramatic incline. I know how badly you want to investigate whether or not the woman next to you is wearing a prosthetic nose. But no one likes a peripheral creep. Save that for the subway.
Don’t Hog the Elliptical
For some reason, every gym on the entire planet has only one elliptical. And as we all know, everyone loves the elliptical. (Swinging your arms and legs is fun no matter where you are or what episode of Maury Povich is on TV.) This means that should you be lucky enough to get on the adult swing set of gymnastic joy, you have exactly half an hour to do your thang. After that, switch up your activity. It’s polite, courteous, and to be honest: I’m not sure that machine does anything besides make you look like you’re doing an emergency-walk to the bathroom.
Be Mindful of Your Sweat
Seems intuitive and yet many find it complicated: if you drip, clean it up.
Don’t be a Gym Deejay
Besides the damage you are likely doing to your own ears, no one wants to hear your Inspirational Playlist 2016, especially because you’ve put Katy Perry’s “Eye of the Tiger” on there eleven different times. Turn the volume down so that your neighbor can enjoy their “Get Me Bodied 2016” playlist featuring Lou Bega’s “Mambo Number 5” in peace.
In and out. The whole world needs to rinse off. You probably don’t want to stand barefoot in that communal shower for too long, anyway.
Use Your Indoor Voice as Best You Can
Just cool it with the HAGRHGHZ and the UHGGHNNHHHH and all other sound effects you may find yourself shouting at the top of your lungs each time you raise a weight above your head. If “walrus sex” doesn’t immediately come to mind, the fact that you haven’t worked out in a while might: sounds like you’re overexerting yourself, but check with a professional.