In honor of me getting 405 lbs. I've decided to re-run one of my favorite articles from the Myspace site. These are the gym rules. I've written a bunch of standards that people who frequent the gym should adhere to. I've added some pictures and some new rules. So enjoy it (in honor of me).
I've been going to gyms long enough to notice and understand certain nuances of gym life. While some are more obvious than others, they are all rules that should be understood in order to have a fulfilling, and more importantly, embarrassment free gym experience. So it is with that knowledge that I impart on you The Official Gym Rules or How Not to Make an Ass Out of Yourself and Earn the Resentment of People Who Know What They're Doing.
Women- 1. Don't sweat
This part of the Gym Rules isn't that difficult because women typically know how to dress anyway, and this discretion extends to the gym as well. The main objective for a woman is to essentially not sweat. Now, I'm not saying that women can't perspire at all, it is a gym, and you are working out, but one should do their best to hide any sweat stains or excess liquid buildup. When sweat does occur, bring a towel.
2. It's not a fashion show
Don't show up in the gym in Abercrombie track suit and a Von Dutch baseball cap, OK? Throw on sweats and a decent t-shirt and work out. You're outfit for the gym should not cost more than $20 (not including shoes). No one is impressed at your fashion sense at the gym. The idea is comfort at the gym, and if I think you look uncomfortable at the gym, then odds are YOU are uncomfortable at the gym.
And don't even get me started with the girls that wear makeup to the gym, it's probably the most moronic thing ever.
3. Don't be a bag lady
With all that being said, this doesn't mean show up to the gym looking like a mess. As I said before, girls know how to dress. You can work with what you have and maintain a certain appeal while still fulfilling the prior rules. Hair should be properly maintained, and the world of women's athletic apparel is booming, providing an abundance of useful, yet fashionable attire to wear at the gym.
Just as a side note, since I am a man, I will have much more in-depth rules for the guys.
1. You're not protecting any house
This is in reference to the Under Armour wearers out there (specifically the tight Under Armour, not the loose t-shirts or whatever). This isn't football, and you're not getting hyped up in the locker room to come out and lift. Under Armour is to remove sweat from your body and keep everything tight. While some may prefer this when they do lift, the only purpose is that the tight fabric may help in the lifting process (i.e. on bench press). However, if this is the case, then just throw a shirt on over the Under Armour.
You're not Charles Bronson, and you can't walk around with a semi-defined upper body and pull off Under Armour. It just doesn't work that way. You're trying way to hard to be like, "Hey check my pecs out." And let me tell you, if you are doing this, then odds are you're just embarrassing yourself.
NOTE: All the rules for men are waived if you are in the upper 98 percentile of male lifters. When you're big enough that every one's reaction to you is "holy shit", and you can't go anywhere without some girl telling you you're "too big" then you can do whatever the hell you want. Lift in a sundress for all I care. I have only seen two guys that meet these standards:
The first was a professional weight lifter whose forearms were bigger than my thighs, and he skull crushed 315 lbs. The second was a gigantic guy given the nickname Tyson (because he looks like Mike Tyson) only the fact that he was 6 foot 1. He could bench over 600 lbs and he did lunges outside in the parking lot with 225 lbs across his back. Oh, and when he failed to get 585 lbs at a bench contest, he went outside my gym and punched a whole through a wall. This wasn't plaster, this was the OUTSIDE of a gym. So if you think you can do that, then you can get away with murder at the gym.
2. You're not Tara Reid
Yes, this is for guys. Meaning that under no circumstances should your nipple ever slip out of your shirt. Cut off sleeves are fine. It frees up certain encumbrances, and it helps keep you cool if it is hot. Regardless of your arm size or whatever, everyone can wear cut offs.
However! When one is cutting said sleeves from said shirt, one must never extend the cut below 1 inch. At this point the arm hole expands and stretches revealing any number of things from rib cage to the always disgusting nipple. There's no need to see another man's nipple, nor should you want to show it off. Keep the cut offs respectable.
3. Damnit, woman! Where's my dinner?
Don't wear wife beaters to the gym. Always a bad idea. Not only are they thin and white, but they show off far too much on nearly every guy. The thinness and the whiteness are exposed when sweat happens and the beater attaches to your body (not good). Also, for a beater to work at a gym, you need everything to be huge, from your arms, to your back, to your shoulders. Very few people have this.
So help me God if you're one of those skinny thug kids that show up with the baggy wife beater and HUGE sweatpants, that's the worst. You make yourself look like a fetus.
Just opt for beaters more respectable cousin, the tank top. Tank tops have color and are much stronger fabric wise. They tend to cover up more, and there is no reason that everyone can't enjoy a tank top.
4. No shoes, PROBLEM
Don't be Joe Cool and lift with sandals or even worse no shoes. You need sneakers at the gym. No one wants to see sweaty feet at the gym. Nor do they want to deal with someone so grungy that they feel they can expose their feet at a gym of all places. Where else have those feet been? No one wants to deal with that.
Long shunned by lifters as a sign of weakness, gloves have gotten a bad rap. Gloves are fine because they can help grip for people who need that. Also, they are a protective from turning your hands into calloused freak show exhibits. Trust me, it's not pretty if you've been lifting for a while. I am a proud glove user and have baby soft hands to attest to it.
With that being said, if you do choose to wear gloves, then get ACTUAL lifting gloves. They range from like $10-$30 bucks so it's not a big deal. Don't show up with gardening gloves, or batting gloves, or winter gloves. It just looks foolish.
6. So...much...sweat! Where to put it?
Don't wear wristbands, headbands, or whatever to the gym. You're not running anywhere, and you're clearly just doing it to look cool.
7. The pants party
This is generally more towards older people, but get some shorts. Don't walk around in biker shorts or WAYYY high running shorts. Look respectable and not like you're trying to win the Tour de France or that you're an NBA player from the 70's. The shorts problem has similar consequences to the nipple problem mentioned earlier, only the outcome would be far, far worse.
1. Put some effort into it
You're working out, it's OK to strain or push yourself. Don't sit there and act like you're reading a book and drinking lemonade on a Spring afternoon. A proper gym workout shouldn't be easy, nor should you be able to sit there in perfect elegance and lift weights. You're not too cool to work out or lift something, so don't act like it.
2. Praise the Lord!
Don't congregate at the gym. Making a group of people take up a large amount of space and talk about nothing is utterly unnecessary.
Same for guys. Blabbing for an excess amount of time is unnecessary. While the gym is a much more social environment than some people believe, talking should not do two things:
a) It should not cut into your workout. You can talk, but continue lifting.
b) It shouldn't cause a problem for people around you. I don't want to know what happened to you last night, so keep it to yourself and those you intend to speak with. However, don't be an eavesdropper. Unless the conversation is affecting you in some way, stay out of it.
2. Mirror, Mirror
Don't check yourself out in the mirror. You can walk by, get a quick glance, whatever. Just don't stand there admiring yourself. There's no need for it, and no one likes a narcissist unless his name is Lex Luger.
3. Thirsty much?
Why do people feel the need to walk around with a gallon of water? A gallon?? There's no way you need that much water to drink during a workout. Clearly you're just trying to make yourself seem hard or something.
I saw an Ultimate Fighter who drinks at least a gallon and a half of water a day. That's one day, 24 hours, not during a 1-2 hour workout. His workout consisted of a non-stop hour long lift, moving from machine to machine, increasing weight each time around, and he doesn't need a gallon of water.
4. Heavy weight
Now, some people use big weights at the gym, some don't, but there is one unifying no-no that connects these people. People who drop their weights in the most unnecessary fashion available. Not only do they try to announce how much weight they've done, but also how hard it was to accomplish.
Granted, sometimes you don't have a choice but to drop weights and make a loud noise, however, this is allowed to occur when the weights involved are in an excess of 90 lbs. and they must be dropped from a precarious position.
These weight droppers will release the weight from about waist high, and sometimes they even fling these weights across the room. I work with some heavy weights and the only exercise where I remotely come close to dropping the weights in a loud fashion is on flat bench with dumbbells.
Here's a helpful hint: If the weights bounce or rotate more than once after you put them down, then you're a weight flinger.
5. Was it good for you?
On a similar note, these same type of guys may also let you know that they're doing a large amount of weight by screaming or groaning excessively. These sounds are distracting, and in a gym full of people really weird.
Sometimes, as always, you need to let out a scream, grunt, moan, whatever, but this is a rare occurrence. If you're moaning on more than 2-3 reps, then you're in excess. A grunt comes about when the weight involved is so much that you must verbalize in order to lift said weight. Well, if the weight is so massive that you need to scream, then there's no reason you should be repping that weight more than once or twice.
1. Traffic jam
Do not, for any reason, take a dumbbell off the weight rack and proceed to lift directly in front of the rack. The dumbbell rack is essentially the freeway of a gym. It is a road in which a clear path should always be.
This is pretty much the most violated gym rule, and I hate when people do it. Take your weight and move away from the rack! It's a little extra effort that won't make you look like a dumb ass. There's no reason to be in front of the rack and lifting. There needs to be at least a 2 foot avenue in which people can move freely. This can be used to get or put back weights or move somewhere.
Basically it's like practicing parallel parking in the middle of a freeway.
2. Violating personal space
With each area of the gym, there is an amount of personal space that goes along with it. It is important to always be aware of these areas at all times. Watch where you're going and be sure not to stand around in someones way.
The person you are imposing yourself on could ask you to move, but it's not their responsibility to tell you you're a moron. You should be aware of this. So now you are.
3. It's a germ
Personally, I'm against this whole wipe down your machine deal that some gyms have. I can see why it's there and all, but it's not like I'm getting surgery or dental work done by the treadmills. It's a gym. Spraying down the machines with that cheap soapy spray is annoying for two reasons:
1. It's all about the motions. If you see a person wipe down a machine, you think it's clean, but in actuality, it's not. Honestly, people gently glide the paper towel over these machines, and you think it's made that much of a difference? You'd need to really get in there and scrub hard to legitimately clean that machine.
2. It's not my job. People work at a gym for that reason. I'm there to work out, not be a janitor. Get your employees to clean the machines every now and then.
4. You gonna put those weights back?
Reracking the weights is a big question. For the most part, you have to do it. It doesn't fall into the job category because you remove the weights, so you should put it back. Plus it's not fair to others if you leave weights on and they have to take it off.
My rule goes that you only have to take off as much weight as you started with. Meaning if you go to a bench and there's 135 lbs. on there, then when you're done, you're allowed to leave 135 lbs. That way you negate whatever weight you did. It's sort of an in between.
5. The ocean called...
This goes to the people that bring water bottles to the gym and intend to fill up the entire thing at the water fountain. I understand you may need some water, but to sit there and occupy the water fountain so that you can fill your bottle is unacceptable so long as people are waiting behind you. If people are behind you then fill up a moderate amount and move on. No one wants to wait there for 2 minutes while you hog all the water.
6. It's a good steam
At my new gym there is a sauna which I use once a week to relax. Now, I don't know if this is a generational thing or not, but some guys are way too naked in the sauna. I'm fine if you have a towel on or whatever, but to be completely naked in a small space with other guys is a little odd to me. How can you be comfortable just sitting there, and why would you want to be naked of all things? This even extends to the locker room where guys will just stroll around naked. I mean, it's a locker room, of course there are gonna be naked guys, but some just take way too long to get ready. All of these guys tend to be older, like late 50's early 60's. So either it's a generational thing or old people just don't care about this kind of stuff. Maybe I'm the man on the short end of this opinion, but I feel lots of nakedness in the sauna is no good.
And those are The Official Gym Rules. They are open to be changed and altered at any time, but they provide a solid starting point for gym goers not in the know.