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Nine Annoying Habits of Gym Jerks

Gym Jerk

I was training a client in one of our local gyms the other day, when suddenly two guys started arguing. They stood, chest to chest acting like Dumb and Dumber while screaming at each other. The reason for the fight?

Both were claiming that a particular treadmill was "theirs" and they both wanted to use it. Never mind the fact that there were three other treadmills, all lined up just waiting to be used. They both had somehow gotten the impression that their monthly membership entitled them to exclusive use of that specific piece of equipment.

The gym owner walked over and gave them both the bad news. Neither one of them had "dibs" on any of the equipment and effective immediately, they were both banned from the treadmill they both coveted.

The territorial dispute was over and after a bit of grumbling, they moved onto unoccupied machines and continued their workouts. It got me thinking about all those other things people do that are annoying in a gym. Here are eight more things you can do to avoid doing being one of those "gym jerks."

Don't be a space invader. Put mats down away from where people are using free weights. You don't want dumbbells dropped on your head if they have to let them go. You should also show the same courtesy to someone using a mat. Don't move in right next to them and start lifting. Make sure you're at least one and a half arm lengths away.

Move off the equipment between sets, unless your routine calls for rests under 30 seconds. It's not always obvious when someone is waiting to use a machine. Stepping aside for your rest period allows other people to share.

Get a lock and a locker and put your stuff away. Don't carry around your briefcase, coat, gym bag, umbrella or other bulky items. They're a tripping hazard on the gym floor. I watched one guy carry his laptop computer from machine to machine because he didn't think it was safe in a locker. Halfway through his workout, as he was carrying it to the next station, it slipped out of his sweaty hands and crashed to the floor. If you're worried about your stuff being stolen out of the locker room, don't bring it in the first place or look for a safer gym.

Leave your cell phone in the locker. If you're waiting for an important call, turn the ringer off. Should the call come in, step outside to take it so you don't distract the people around you. It's also a bad idea to walk around while you're typing a text. There are too many things you should be watching out for.

Don't be Mr. Stinky. If you're exercising hard, you're going to be sweating. But you shouldn't start a workout smelling like you've just run a marathon. If you're a little ripe when you get to the gym, there's nothing wrong with taking a quick shower before your session so you don't offend those around you. Use anti-prespirant for protection, it's stronger and more effective than simple deodorant.

Avoid using perfume or cologne until after you finish. When people exercise, their sense of smell is often heightened. That fragrance you think is so alluring, may be gagging the person beside you.

While we're talking about smells, make sure you wear clean clothes each time and that you use odor eaters in your shoes. Sweat drenched clothes sitting in a gym bag don't improve with age.

One more thing. Don't treat the gym as your personal pickup parlor. Most of the people there are going to workout and leave. They don't want to fend off advances from the sweaty guy when they're in the middle of their routine. If you think there's chemistry, leave a card with your name and number. Just remember, if things end badly, you'll see them every time you go to workout.

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9/27/2009