Wednesday, November 27, 2013

An Open Letter To Current and Future Gym-Rats and Gym-Rat-Wantabes

So I know that you are well aware of my gym-rat tendencies.

See, that’s funny because “gym-rat” is a bit more hard-core than I am; ok, a LOT MORE hard-core than I am, but I do enjoy a good workout.

Daily, if possible…but not probable.

Mind you, I am not spending hours at the gym. Maybe AN hour. I try to get at least 30 minutes of cardio, but preferably 45 (preferably meaning so I can justify that additional dessert later…or possibly the one I had just before I came to the gym; don’t judge).

And I realize that many of you also work-out. 

And many of you don’t…which I do not judge. To each his own and all that.

However, today while at the gym I made some observations for all you future, as well as current, gym-rats and gym-rat-wantabes which I feel compelled obligated driven to share with all of you.

The most unfortunate part of this situation is that the necessary information will more than likely never reach the hands of those who need it most.

That being said, let’s be sure to forward this on to as many people as possible; this is not something to be toyed with or treated lightly.

These are standard gym rules which are being blatantly ignored and it needs to stop.

You know I am a black-and-white kind of gal; no shades of grey here…the book or otherwise.

Let me begin by encouraging you in this: If you are new to the gym, please ask for help. And yes, I am saying just ask anybody. If they’re rude, it’s on them, not you. Reminder: Gracing them out for bad behavior is much more beneficial for both of you than getting mad and carrying that grudge around all day; grudges get heavy.

But I have completely digressed here.

The point of this post was to tell you about the gym rules (my gym specifically, but I presume that most could also be applied to other gyms; feel free to chime in and let m eknow if I am way off-base or not) which I see being followed sporadically, if at all, and it needs to be addressed. 

So here is the long-awaited-for list:

1. Wipe off the machine. This is not difficult in any way. Spray bottles filled with antibacterial cleaner and cloths for cleaning are located all throughout the cardio room (which has both cardio machines and weights, I might add). Additionally, when you spray down the machine, please pay attention to your overspray. It is highly-doubtful that the person on the cardio machine next to you wants her arm, leg or face sprayed with that highly-potent antimicrobial spray. Then again…maybe she does. But I do not…it would behoove you to ask first before you spray.

2. Be sure to sign up for the machine. There are signs located throughout the cardio room indicating the need for people to sign up for a cardio machine; for weight machines, it is a free-for-all. But cardio machines (these include and are actually limited to treadmills, ellipticals, stair-masters, and stationary bikes, lest you be unaware of what exactly a “cardio machine” is. Also, if you are unable to sign your name, again, please ask for help. No one will judge you for that; trust me when I say that you will be more closely scrutinized when you fail to sign up for a machine.)

3. Don’t go over your allotted time. Also listed on the signs instructing you to sign up for a machine are the instructions to sign up for no longer than 30 minute increments. Now, if it is 10:02 when you sign up, please feel free to grace yourself 3 minutes and begin at 10:05. But end at 10:35. Here’s a little tip: if you actually do a program on the machines, it will allow you to put in your time (up to 30 minutes), and then there’s no need for you to be a clock-watcher. Just sit back and enjoy your work-out. No need for any more math than necessary.

4. One other point which relates to this item of note is that you MUST write an end time. When you simply write a start time, I assure you that there are people who do know how to do basic math and they can determine when your 30 minutes are up. They can and will write in an end time for you, and then complain to you when you aren’t finished. You may not claim ignorance by failing to write in an end-time. If you do not know how to do basic time functions to tell what time it will be in 30 minutes, feel free to ask someone to help you. Again…you will be judged more severely by failing to write an end time than you will be by asking for assistance.

5. One last thing regarding signing up for machines: you cannot sign up for a random time in the future. Believe me, I am all about random, however, I am not a fan in this case. Let me give you a for-instance: If it is 3:15 when you enter the gym and no one is on a treadmill, nor is anyone signed up for a treadmill, you cannot sign up to use it at 4:00. You have to either a) use the treadmill right then, or b) take your chances that one will be available at 4:00. This is NOT L.A. Fitness (or La Fitness as my 10yo enjoys calling it…he knows good and well that it is L.A. Fitness, but he just derives some sick pleasure out of fun with language; I cannot fathom where he picked that up.), and you do not pay enough of a membership (none of us do…it is a church ministry and they are not in the business of nickel-and-diming us to death) to warrant such selfish behavior. Come on, dude. READ THE SIGNS.

This reminds me of the Bill Engvall skits: “Here’s your sign”…no worries, I won’t post one, but feel free to Google it if you are so inspired.

6. When you are finished using a cardio machine, please turn off the television. I guarantee that your mother or father (or some other figure of authority) talked to you when you were young about turning off lights, the television (or any other thing which uses electricity) when you were finished with it. This is not new material or territory I am covering right here in the now. All that to say: when you finish using a cardio machine, turn off the television. There is no reason on God’s green earth for it to remain on, especially if no one is signed up after you. All it serves to accompish is waste electricity...don't you know the gym isn't made of money?!? And more than likely your parents weren't either.

7. The weight machines are for using. Do not sit on a machine and text…if you’re not using it, move so someone else can. If you simply are in need of a seat, there are many located through the rest of the gym; you may have to dislodge a Senior Saint from the chair, as the place is often ripe with individuals who enjoy walking a lap or two around the track and then hanging out and chit-chatting for an hour or so, but don’t be afraid to ask for their seats. They may not even hear you. (Did I just say that? I’m sorry…you know that I didn’t mean you, Grandma.)

8. There are lockers available for your stuff. There is really no need for traipsing through the cardio room or the rest of the gym, always with a bag in tow. Put your things away for safe-keeping. Carrying it with you won’t prove to make it any safer from theft (besides these are all Christians…they wouldn’t steal!) I don’t think a little lock to use in the locker room costs very much and would more than likely would not put you over-budget for the month. (OK True confessions: I will freely admit that I am guilty of this…but that is ALL, I tell you. ALL.)

9. If you feel compelled to turn on the tv mounted on the wall for your enjoyment during weight-lifting, you do not need to turn it up to a decibel at which people with headphones can also hear it. This seems pretty self-explanatory, doesn’t it? Do I truly need to expound on it? I wouldn’t mind so much if you had the same (or decent taste) in television programming, because I often find that I have to watch whatever is on the big TV or I’m too distracted. Yes, these are the kinds of issues I struggle with. Feel sorry for me.

10. Stay to the right on the track. If you are slower than people jogging or dare I say, running, I guarantee you ar emoving at a slower rate of speed. It's just like driving in America...slower traffic stays to the right. Now, I know that walking on the track is much more enjoyable with friends, but you cannot walk 3 people across, because it blocks all lanes. That's really all I have to say about that.

These last few issues relate to the PBA and their time at the gym.

11. If you see children at the gym and it is the middle of the day, do not presume that they (or their parents) are doing anything wrong or that they are skipping school. They are more than likely homeschooled, which is a legal and legitimate form of education in the great state of Indiana. And they have as much a right to be there as you, even though it clearly perturbs you that they can run laps (literally) around you on the track. They are young and agile and have the same amount of energy as you probably had a few years ago. Don’t blame their mama for wanting a few minutes of time to workout, and a few minutes for them to get rid of some of that energy. Again, take pity on me. I love my boys but sometimes they

12. For my last bone of contention, I need to comment on the group of men who take up all the basketball courts during open gym. Really? How old are you? Why don’t you have a job? And didn’t your mother or some other authority figure in your life teach you to share? Why can’t you give a 10yo and 12yo one goal on which to shoot? I am truly not asking you to invite them into your game, because that would be ridiculous…clearly. But one goal is all I’m asking. They were taught to share and would complain nary a bit to do so.

So…now that you have all been given your list, I implore you to give your assistance and spread the word to those who need to hear it. Thank you for your support…do it for the children...


  1. You missed off the most important one

    "If you have transgressed and committed any of the crimes on the list in front of Mrs Always Random, point her in the direction of the punchbag and run for cover!"

  2. Oh, wiping off the machines is my BIGGEST pet peeve at the gym! It's always men. ALWAYS. I DO NOT WANT TO SIT IN SOMEONE'S SWEATY SCHMEGMA LEFT BEHIND ON A WEIGHT MACHINE! Blech!