Hey musclehead, be polite
By Paula Rath
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Paula Rath
Hair dye splashed in the locker room basin? Used tissues tossed on the floor? Puddles of sweat around the elliptical machine? Towels piled on the floor? Yogurt smeared in the steam room? Ewwwww. Disgusting, but each of these locker room atrocities has been reported here in Honolulu.
Sadly, lack of gym etiquette comes up frequently on folks' lists of reasons why not to work out. That's why we thought a friendly reminder about gym manners might be helpful to those trying to get fit in the new year.
When arriving at the gym, the first thing to remember is that you are not alone. Consideration of others is key.
"It really comes down to 'What I need to know I learned in kindergarten,' " said Mike Doss, district vice president for the YMCA. It's like Mom and our first teachers told us: "If you make a mess, clean it up. If you use it, put it back where it belongs."
"There are written and unwritten rules of etiquette for the gym," Doss said.
Some issues to consider:
On the other hand, it's rude to jump on a machine, change the adjustments and start working out when the previous occupant is just doing a quick stretch and plans to complete another set right away. When in doubt, check with those around you and ask if someone else is using the machine, and how many sets they have left.
If the gym is really busy, make a plan B, working out on another machine until the one you want becomes available.
In recognition of personal space considerations, Ray Sagum, manager of the Hawai'i Athletic Club, suggests that whenever possible you select a locker that is not right next to another person's locker. Look for the row with the fewest occupants.
He added that it's considerate to limit the space you use while changing clothes. Avoid spreading clothes out all along a bench or placing your workout bag in front of someone else's locker. Confine your clutter.
Crowding in an exercise class can raise ire. Leave enough floor space for others' mats, stability balls or spinning cycles.
Staring is always uncool, but in a gym or locker room setting it's totally unacceptable behavior. Better to avert your eyes.
And nakedness is also viewed differently by different cultures. "Keep yourself covered when getting in and out of the shower," Sagum advised. "I would also advise people not to talk to someone who is totally naked ó it may freak them out."
Gym etiquette is about common courtesy and sensitivity. Whether it's a more social environment or a serious setting for hard-core athletes, stay attuned to other members and the unspoken code and culture of the health club.
Reach Paula Rath at email@example.com.