Joining a new gym is like converting to a new religious group.
There is an etiquette observed in these temples of body-sculpting worship. Perhaps you – with your New Year’s gym attendance resolution in mind – have already attempted to penetrate the ranks of the sweaty acolytes, only to feel like a hopeless poseur. As someone who has had a gym membership for six months (and went about three weeks’ worth of time), I am fully versed in gym etiquette and am ready to guide new devotees.
Selecting a gym
If you have been researching your local gyms and still can’t decide on one – especially since re-watching “Game of Thrones” understandably interrupted – I’ve got a simple solution.
Pick the most popular type of gym. Like all good places of worship, high attendance must mean it is the most successful place for you. So what if it focuses heavily on weight lifting and no cardio equipment or classes like you wanted? Ignore your better judgment and join the popular flock of sheep in their gym devotions.
Now that you have your overcrowded gym, packed full of other perspiring people, you need to claim your turf.
For instance, if you have decided today is arms day – whatever that means to you – then you need to be prepared for encroaching equipment poachers. Building supersized arms to the point of crazed disproportion is a favored form of worship at the gym. So the easiest way to be sure you get your time in with everything you wanted to do at the gym is a two-part strategy.
First, gather up all the movable pieces you want to work with and pile them all over near whatever immovable equipment you’ll be working with. Don’t worry that it may inconvenience your fellow gym goers; asserting equipment-dominance is a tried and true form of gym etiquette.
As for the second part of the strategy, if you have more than one piece of equipment that you can’t hoard in one location, scatter your belongings on them. Have a sweaty towel? Perfect. Or maybe a half-drunk protein shake you can plop down? Even better.
Interacting with others
You may have been told that “no one is watching you at the gym; they’re all focused on their own workouts.” This is a terrible lie.
Everyone is watching each other at the gym. While you shape your body, search for weakness in the others working out around you. Is there a person running next to you on the treadmill? Take a peek at what speed and incline the person is running at and then double it for yourself. This will clearly place you on a higher level, and the lesser gym attendees will part like the Red Sea to let you reach your chosen equipment.
With these simple guidelines, you are ready to overload yourself with gear and swagger into your gym.