Gym Etiquette: Choosing Your Machine

I’ve come across a few humor sites like this one that teach the etiquette of choosing a urinal in a men’s room. Pretty funny, and I’d also like to take a moment to note that I would make a very good guy: I only got one question wrong in that quiz, and it was the trick question. Go ahead, give it a try yourself… I’ll wait.

Anyway, this morning I went down to the gym for my cardio, and headed for my “usual” stationary bike. It’s the one at the beginning of the row, chosen partially for an easy entrance/exit and partially because I’ve determined it’s the one that squeaks/whirs the least. (Yeah, my gym has really gone downhill since it broke off from Crunch and went independent. How about fixing the Gazelles that have been broken since May?!)

The gym was pretty much empty when I got there, so I wasn’t even thinking too much about avoiding people. But then an older gentleman arrived and headed for the rowing machine, which happens to be right next to the bike I was on. This was a minor annoyance, because the rowing machine makes kind of a big whooshing noise every time you pull back. And the rowing machine is a bit intense, so I even kind of get why he was grunting and breathing heavy as he rowed, but hey, it’s the gym… what can you do.

Until another older gentleman walked in, there to bike. Never mind the EIGHT other bikes all lined up and ready for him to select – he opted to sandwich me in with the rower by taking the bike right next to mine. And while he was “working out”, he was also wheezing so loudly I was sure he should go talk to his doctor before attempting anything so intense as halfheartedly pedaling while reading the Wall Street Journal.

Do you follow gym etiquette and avoid taking the machine next to someone else (where possible)? Or is your strategy to sandwich yourself right in the middle to prove your prowess by outrunning/outpedaling/outellipticaling their pace?

Comments

  1. people always get on right next to me too… like come on guy!

    i always leave space UNLESS its relatively crowded anyway and I want to watch a particular tv.

  2. I hate when that happens to, especially when the person has just been outside smoking and I have to suck in their nicotine cloud. BLAH.

  3. Ooo gym etiquette! I am not a big fan of taking the machine right next to someone when others are free either! I try not to do this but sometimes end up doing so only because I like to be in a certain row of treadmills at my gym. Usually I leave an empty machine between myself and the other people unless I have no choice when choosing a specfic machine in this row!

    The worst is when someone takes the machine right next to you and is wearing really strong perfume! I don’t understand why in the morning (when I work out) you would put perfume on beforehand?

  4. Ooo gym etiquette! I am not a big fan of taking the machine right next to someone when others are free either! I try not to do this but sometimes end up doing so only because I like to be in a certain row of treadmills at my gym. Usually I leave an empty machine between myself and the other people unless I have no choice when choosing a specfic machine in this row!

    The worst is when someone takes the machine right next to you and is wearing really strong perfume! I don’t understand why in the morning (when I work out) you would put perfume on beforehand?

  5. Great post! (Loved the urinal quiz too.) I definitely leave space. If there are two spots, both next to someone, I guess I take the one with the machine that “looks better,” has a better view of the TV, or performs better in some way. The one problem in that case is when the person next to you definitely SMELLS or is coughing or something. Then it’s probably worse to switch machines, because it’s obvious you’re trying to avoid them. Ha ha!

  6. I always try to leave space when possible. It’s just more comfortable that way.

  7. I’m not going to torture myself by asking the actual age of the older gentlemen, for fear they were not actually AARP eligible. But ugh, old people at the gym! When I was unemployed, I went to my city’s fitness center, which gives a hefty discount to seniors, so that’s who is there during working hours.

    I once spent 45 minutes on a stationary bike forced to listen while some seriously old guy (70s) on the recumbent bike opined to his friend LOUDLY in a mostly one way conversation about all things political and historic. His voice cut right through my headphones. I love that you’re active buddy, but STFU.

    Then another time in the pool, another senior was using lap swim time to ‘make time’ with the senior ladies. The ladies were actually trying to exercise, he was just following them up and down, and kept wandering into my lane. And then gives me a dirty look when I asked him to move. Sure, it’s funny to think about now, but dude, cruise the ladies at the senior center, OK?

  8. Aaaahhhh i hate that. i always leave a space on both sides if possible, and if not possible, i definitely will try to make an informed decision as to who i want to be next to – usually a female since she will smell better and not be noisy (usually). aaaahhhh and i hate yackity-yackers on a machine next to me too. boy i sound so grumpy. i guess i am. :-)

  9. I totally hate that. And I think it’s just part of our personalities – we draw people to us.

    What I can’t stand is the guy in my Yoga class who makes sounds like he’s having sex. I do NOT want that in my head about him.

    Angela/Pretty in Orange

  10. I’m with you–I try to avoid being next to somebody on a machine whenever possible. Fortunately my gym attracts a younger crowd of regular gym-goers who generally understand the etiquette. Whenever somebody does get on the machine next to me when there’s a whole row of free ones, it always seems to be an old person . . . (although I guess if I make it to 70 and can still work out daily, I’ll do whatever I want, too).

  11. This is a very nice post, so informative and interesting. Thanks for sharing such a great post.

    zbsports

  12. Well crap, I’m reading this offline while on the plane. No urinal test for me. BUT, in summary, go every other one, NO TALKING, and no phones.

    What the crap is a Gazelle?

    Oh no, you have to pick the other treadmill. Not only for the urinal example that you mention, but also because I honestly throw off a big of sweat while chugging along.

  13. Adam, here’s a low-tech/cheap version of a Gazelle: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Gazelle-Edge-Trainer/1597237
    Basically, similar to an elliptical, but you’re off the ground and your arms help more.

  14. I just came from my gym, where someone got right onto the treadmill next to me, while most were not being used. She smelled like she had fallen into a bucket of perfume, at 8:30 in the morning.

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