Monday, April 28, 2008

The Gym Commandments

So now that I've become a self-professed gym snob I thought I'd tackle the ultimate taboo topic: the unspoken laws of the gym.

I've come along way since squeaking out mistimed farts way back in the days of yore. But since then I've watched; I've listened; I've learned. I think I've managed to get a pretty firm grasp on this whole social gym etiquette thing. While it's perfectly acceptable to sweat, grunt, and make animal-like faces - it's no reason to forget your manners. After all, you cram groups of sweaty, smelly people together in confined places equipped with pieces of blunt iron and you're bound to have problems sooner or later!

Of course, there are the mandatory ‘Do's and Don'ts’ notices posted everywhere around the gym; but honestly, who fucking reads these things? It's the 'Law of the Jungle', baby. It's mostly an unwritten Code of Conduct amongst us dedicated gym-goers in my opinion. All violators to the accepted norm are subject to scorn and ridicule until they either fucking learn, or meet their demise in a good 'ol fashioned cell block-style beat down.

Consider these your basic gym-goers Commandments.

1) The mirror belongs to the person in it!

Personally, I love watching a little hot me-on-me action while I work out. Cutting between a lifter and their mirror is like coming between a mother Grizzly Bear and her cub. Anyone stupid or inconsiderate enough to stroll in front of my mirror while I'm basking in my own maleness is liable to end up with a dumb bell wedged in their ear.

"Hey Maverick, how about doing your fly’s in someone else's No Fly Zone? I'm here to look at myself thank you, not your sweaty ass."

2) Farts with it.

It's just the way it is. Just think of it as an occupational hazard. Considering the considerable pressures that you're exerting on your body - often in awkward and unusual positions - the odd eruption is going to emit itself eventually. And your ass is as good an orifice as any.

That is not free reign however to drop bombs willy-nilly for the whole duration of your workout. The general fart rule of thumb goes thusly: laugh, shrug your shoulders, smile sheepishly, and get back to work you poor, sick, demented bastard. Just accept our temporary disapproving glances for the time being. Yep, just stand there and take it like a Frenchman. Shortly, some other inconsiderate halfwit will let one rip and then you can join us in scowling at him/her. And then all will be forgiven. And contrary to some of the uncouth gasbags you hear working out, it is not acceptable to rear back a cheek and squeak out a second. That's un-fucking-forgivable. You should be plugged with the business end of a barbell before you euphemize the rest of us.

3) The right to grunt and growl is directly proportional to the weight being lifted.

It's basic algebra for the weight room. There are strict conditions for grunting: a) when lifting weights more than your own body weight, b) a lift close to your breaking point, or c) the last rep of your set. Otherwise, you are not Maria Sharapova, dipshit! You are not practicing for a hog calling contest - so shut the fuck up and train!

4) The person who wants your advice is the one who asks for it.

This rule exists largely because its usually the people who shouldn’t be giving work out tips in the first place that feel compelled to share their opinions. At least they flock to me like moths to a blue light. I view these people in much the same light as I do about fat people offering me dieting advice, or single people who offer relationship counseling. Seriously, you put some people in gym shorts and suddenly their Lou Ferigno. Why would I ever accept leg exercise tips from a guy who looks like Nicole Ritchie running away from a cheese steak while jogging on the treadmill?

“Keep it to yourself, doughboy!”

I keep myself to myself while I’m at the gym. I’m there for me and me alone and if I have to learn things the hard way sometimes – so be it. You don’t tell me how to do my work out and I won’t crush your head between two 50 lb plates. Capeesh?

5) Thou shalt not disturb your neighbor.

Once someone is in motion during their work out do not, under any circumstances, pester them with “how many sets you got left?” When I’m still working myself through my set I’m not thinking about anything else but what’s about to rip out of it’s socket. A person needs to focus and concentrate when they’re working out and they can’t do that with some tool in a sweaty ‘Foreigner’ t-shirt bugging them with stupid-ass questions. You know when I’m done? When I either return my weights to the rack or when I embed them in your skull – that’s when!

These types of questions should never be answered verbally. I usually just cast an ‘I’m going to kick your ass’ glare at them and continue on with what I’m doing…only slower.

6) Mark your territory.

Leaving a water bottle and a towel bench is as good as pissing on it to mark your territory. Without a water bottle, a towel or a bench you don’t have a recognizable work out station. If it fails the three-point check with even one element missing it’s fair game. Plunder away!

7) Clean up after yourself.

In any other bastion of civilized society when you drop your bodily fluids - you wipe! The gym is no different. People who fail to wipe up their sweat from a bench when they’re finished piss me off particularly. I am instantly driven to play ‘Heart and Soul’ on their spinal column with a pair of dumb bells.

How fucking gross is that? There is nothing worse than sitting down in a warm pool of someone else’s fluvia thank you very much! I’d rather lick the floor tiles at Swiss Chalet.

8 i) Lycra: it’s a privilege not a right!

There should be qualifying guidelines for wearing spandex, Lycra, or any other stretchy, huggy work out clothing. Maybe a stand up ‘You Must Be This Fit’ sign like the kinds you see at carnival rides.

Nothing puts you off your work out quicker than your classic Lycra train wreck. The way their pink flesh spills out from the gaps in their Lycra bodysuit makes them look like some kind of walking Playdoh Fun Factory. Now, in all fairness, to say that I’m fashionable would be an insult to bowling shoes everywhere, but honestly – look in the fucking mirror people!

8 ii) Never exceed the three-hole limit on your t-shirt.

If theres more than three holes, it’s not a t-shirt anymore – it’s a rag. Use it to buff your car no to work out in. I don’t go to the gym to witness patches of weird bodily hair peeking out from the multiple holes in your muscle shirt, thanks. Throw it out!

If it’s really such a valuable family heirloom that you can’t bring yourself dispose of, wear it in the comforts and privacy of your won home along with your secret pair of high heels and lace panties, there, princess. Oh yeah, and absolutely no headbands! The 80’s are over, Kareem. Deal with it.

9) If you’re huge enough to press it, you’re huge enough to put it away.

This is my ultimate pet peeve at the gym. There’s nothing worse than having my work out evolve into a scavenger hunt because some grobulous knob is too fucking lazy to put their weights back when they’re finished. These morons deserve to be kicked in the jewels.

“Hey, dipshits! Know why you go to the gym in the first place? EXERCISE!

It absolutely amazes me that people who think nothing of pressing the equivalent of a minibus is also too fucking pussy to return his weights to the rack only 5 ft. away. Consider it like an added bonus work out, numb nuts.

10) Similar to Rule #3, keep it down!

I know it’s not a library or anything but do people really have to make all these slamming and crashing noises? It’s a tad bit attention seeking if you ask me. If you’re also too pussy to lower your weights slowly to the ground after your set you’re too pussy to lift weights.

"Go home to your Richard Simmons videos, you Judy!"

What goes through these guy’s heads? Usually a sudden loud racket means the same as it does everywhere else: you’ve fucked up. Thanks for advertising it.

11) Leave your cell at home or in the locker.

Why in the hell would you ever want to bring a world of distraction into your exercise routine? Kind of defeats the whole point of being there doesn’t it? There is noting worse than working out beside someone discussing flavors of toothpaste, or making kissy noises to his girlfriend over his cell phone. These morons should be banned altogether or be subject to ‘Judgment by Thunderdome’ from the rest of us.

12) The water fountain is not for tossing your gum.

Likewise, there is nothing worse than dying of thirst while waiting for some moolyak to fill their huge keg-sized water bottle, particularly if there’s a mountain of pink gum wads there waiting for you.

13) Just because you have the bodily girth of a polar bear doesn’t automatically give you the right to monopolize all the machines.

And while we’re on the topic of monopolizing the machines don’t conduct your social hour between your sets with everyone that walks by either. Some of us are waiting to use those machines today at some point, Hulk.

Instead, let someone work in with you to speed the routine up for everyone, or at least hold your conversation to a minute or two between your sets. This is not Happy Hour you know. It totally sucks having your muscles melt away to paste while some idiot cheerfully discusses his plans for a Wednesday night with someone he hasn’t seen or spoken to in 12 years.

“Hey, I’m happy you managed to get reacquainted with someone whom obviously completes you so fully, but some of us want to work out here! Can you conduct your debriefing and social calendar somewhere else?”

14) Keep your eyes to yourself, pervo!

Staring blatantly at some honey on the treadmill is like staring at the sun – you can look but only in short bursts or you’ll be blind to the beefy boyfriend beside you preparing to bludgeon you to death with his dumb bell.

15) Lastly, while changing in the locker room, the space you take is proportional to the width of your locker (not your ego) – particularly when it’s busy.

I mean how much friggin’ space do you need to dry your ass and put on a clean pair of clothes? You will see people who spread themselves over the entire changing area as if they were getting prepared for a picnic. Why do they need so much space?

But there’s an important addendum to this final commandment as well. If there is adequate room available in the change room it is not recommended you use the locker immediately next to the only guy in there changing…unless you’re a total fag that is.

This behavior is just so strange. Are they so obsessive compulsive that they just have to use one particular locker even if it means wedging themselves in between two other wet, naked dudes when there are, like, another hundred or so empty available lockers around…with space to spare!

Whatever the case, such an unnecessary and unwelcome infringement on one’s territorial boundaries deserves a vicious towel snapping in return.


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