Archive for the tag - etiquette

The Definitive Guide to Unsolicited Advice at the Gym.

don't breatheUnsolicited advice at the gym. You almost always know when it’s going to happen. First, you feel their eyes watching you. Second, you feel them come up next to you. Third, you hear, “Excuse me, but…” followed by a (probably) well-intentioned but totally uninvited suggestion.

Excuse me, but did you know that you are squatting too low?

Excuse me, but you really need to keep your shoulders up when you run.

Excuse me, but you shouldn’t train two body parts per day because your protein gets confused and doesn’t know where to go.

Excuse me, but stop.

The first thing to know about unsolicited advice is to not give it. Why? Because not everyone agrees on the best way to exercise, and the individual may actually be following the advice of their trainer or doctor. Because you may actually embarrass someone who is already uncomfortable or insecure about exercising in front of strangers. Because they’re probably going to think you are a dick, and won’t listen to you.

dwfHaving said that, there is one exception. It’s appropriate to intervene if – and only if – the person is doing something that’s potentially dangerous. In this instance, notify a gym employee of the situation – and let that person step in and do their job.

The second thing to know about unsolicited advice is how to respond when you receive it. The truth is, most of us don’t like receiving fitness advice from strangers. We tend to take such instances personally, but remember that it usually comes from a good place. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Laugh it off. I know of someone who says, “Thanks, but I’m trying to stay amateur. I’m not trying to go pro.” And then get on with your workout.
  • Listen to it. Sometimes they might actually have a point. For example, I had someone point out that I was cheating on my barbell bicep curls by using momentum. In fact, I was. I didn’t like receiving the advice, but I knew he was right. And I adjusted myself accordingly.
  • Smile and say no thanks. If being more direct is your style, just smile and say, “Thanks, but I’m training for something specific,” or “Thank you but I’m good.” Most people will get the hint and move on.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear your approach to unsolicited gym advice. Do you think it’s appropriate to give it? How do you respond when you receive it?

P.S. For some very solicited advice on building mass, download Size Matters: Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle. It’s a simple, step-by-step guide to building muscle and increasing strength.

 

10 Commandments of Gym Etiquette!

fitness-meme-3Continuing with my “10 Commandments” series, today I’m sharing etiquette rules that every gym goer should follow.

  1. Thou shalt not walk in between an exerciser and the mirror. When someone is working out, they’ll often use the mirror to spot themselves and to ensure proper form. If you walk between the exerciser and the mirror, you’re blocking their view – and being rude. Walk around them.
  2. Thou shalt wipe down equipment. If you sweat on it, clean it up. No one wants to lie down in your workout juice.
  3. Thou shalt not sit on the equipment while texting, browsing Grindr or taking selfies. Gym equipment is for exercising. And playing on your phone is not exercising. Even if you only check your phone during your rests, you’re likely resting a lot longer than you think. The reality is, your gym is probably busy and someone else might be waiting to use the machine. Keep your phone in your pocket.
  4. Thou shalt put weights away. Unless you’re exercising with a personal maid, there’s no one to clean up after you – so put your equipment away. And besides, lifting weights to put them away can make you strong, too.
  5. Thou shalt neither hog nor hover. Hogging equipment is when you spend way too much time on a given machine, especially when the gym is busy. If you’re on a machine for more than a few sets, allow other people to cut in during your rests. On the flip side, if someone is using a machine that you want, don’t hover around them like a fly on shit. During their rest in between sets, politely ask if you can cut in.
  6. Weightlifting BackwardsThou shalt ask how to use equipment if unsure. If you have questions, ask a trainer or someone at the front desk. Ignorance is not bliss because you’ll probably end up hurting yourself – or, even worse, as a gif on the internet.
  7. Thou shalt not smell. Going to the gym isn’t an excuse for slacking on hygiene. Don’t invade our nostrils with offensive odors or smells. Wear clean clothes and apply some deodorant.
  8. Thou shalt not do curls in the squat rack. Squat racks are for doing squats, and most gyms only have one or two. They’re a precious commodity. If you’re doing another exercise, like curls, you actually don’t need a rack at all. So don’t take up prime real estate.
  9. Thou shalt not go to the gym while sick. Exercise is important, but working out sick is bad for yourself and the people around you. Give your body the rest it needs – and don’t ruin things for the rest of us.
  10. Thou shalt ________. You tell me! Write the 10th commandment of gym etiquette in the comments below.

Top Gym Pet Peeves!

There’s a lot that I love about the gym. But not everything. As such, I put together this video all about my top gym pet peeves.

Check it out – and, in the comments below, let me know if I missed anything.

With a little common sense and regard for the people around us, proper etiquette can make the gym a better and more enjoyable place for all of us.

I Need Help: Tips for Controlling Excessive Sweat!

Dear Davey,

I am way overweight; I’m 6’1″ and approaching 300 lbs – and it is gradually increasing.

I would really like to go to a gym regularly again, but lost interest in it after I was sick for more than two months. I know that I have to take some radical action to get my weight down and release a lot of the fat I’m holding on to.

This may sound a bit odd, but one reason I have not wanted to go to a gym again centers on a problem I have – I sweat A LOT. It doesn’t take much to get sweat flowing from my pores and all over my body. When I am at a gym, I am concerned that I am ruining the experience for other people as I tend to drip sweat on things.

I used to carry a towel to try and reduce how much this happens, but what can I do about this problem? Do you know of a way to reduce the sweating, or is there something I should be doing when at a gym and sweating on things?

A big fan,
George

Dear George,

I hear you, and your email strikes close to home. I, too, am an excessive sweater. I like to think it’s because I hit the gym hard, and exercise at 100% of my capacity. But the reality is, some of us are more prone to sweating than others.

First of all, sweating is a very good thing. It’s normal and very healthy. Not only does it help cool the body, but it cleanses your skin. In fact, sweating is my secret to a clear complexion. Some people might envy your propensity for sweating.

The amount that each of us sweats is determined by genetics, diet, medications and even hormone levels.

Of these, diet is obviously the easiest to control. Complex carbohydrates, fat and salt can all lead to increased sweating. By eating fewer processed foods (which are high in sodium), for example, you should be able to reduce the amount that you sweat. Pay attention to the nutrition labels on the food you eat. Opt for healthier options that are low in sodium. For some people, increased calcium intake and sage tea also seem to help. Also, coffee and spicy foods may lead to increased sweat production.

But fear not: Sweat doesn’t smell. It only takes on an odor when it makes contact with the bacteria on your skin. It goes without saying that good hygiene will eliminate any potentially embarrassing smells.

Some athletic apparel is designed to reduce sweating – or to wick sweat away from the body. Lululemon, for example, has shirts that are specifically designed for heavy sweaters. Of course, I still manage to sweat through them – but it does help.

Though your sweat towel may help, use a separate cloth or paper towel to disinfectant and wipe down each machine after use. Gym goers are accustomed to sweating, and they won’t be put off so long as you adhere to proper gym etiquette and hygiene. If you sweat on it, clean it off.

Moreover, I’d encourage you not to use sweat as an excuse for continuing on with your current lifestyle – even if none of these tips prove useful. All of us can find excuses not to exercise, and eliminating one often illuminates another. Stop listening to why you shouldn’t exercise, and start listening to why you should. It’s time to invest in yourself and radically improve the quality of your life.

I hope this helps.

Love,
Davey

P.S. Please help me win YouTube’s NextUp competition by following this link and clicking thumbs up next to my video! You can vote once per day through April 8 – thank you so much!

Top 11 Things NOT to Do at the Gym.

One of the few sweat puddles I wouldn't mind sitting on.

With a lot of hot and sweaty people in such a small place all clamoring for the same equipment, it’s important to practice good gym etiquette.

To that end, here are 11 things that you should never do at the gym:

  1. Passing in between an exerciser and the mirror. People use the mirror as an aid while lifting to ensure that their posture and balance are maintained. Cutting in between someone that is exercising and the mirror is a big no-no – and downright rude.
  2. Neglecting to wipe down equipment after use. Be kind; don’t leave your sweat behind. There are few things grosser than leaning back on a piece of equipment and landing in a sweat puddle. Use a paper towel and spray to sanitize the equipment after each use.
  3. Resting on the equipment. If the gym is busy and people might be waiting for your equipment, don’t take breaks on it. Even if there’s no line, it doesn’t mean that no one is waiting; someone may be eying your machine while killing time on another.
  4. Don’t monopolize a busy gym by using multiple pieces of equipment. If the gym isn’t crowded, there’s nothing wrong with rotating sets between two different machines. But if you’re exercising during a peak time or if people might be waiting, opt for one machine at a time.
  5. Talking to someone during a set. Yes, socializing is an important aspect of the gym for many – but be considerate of other exercisers. Talking while lifting can be a big distraction. Likewise, if someone is sprinting on the treadmill, they won’t have the breath to talk to you.
  6. Don’t talk loudly on your cell phone. People that talk loudly on a cell phone probably don’t realize that they’re doing it – and you may be one of them. If you need to take a call, excuse yourself from the facilities.
  7. Don’t cut the circuit training line. If your gym has exercise machines, note that there is probably an order to the way people use them. Many gyms number their machines or post a flow chart. Be mindful of other exercisers, and don’t hop on the machine in front of someone.
  8. Don’t wear unwashed gym clothes. I know people think it’s fine to wear gym shirts and shorts more than once. The truth is, if you don’t sweat – you probably can. But for everyone else, please spare us the odor of yesterday’s workout. If you sweat in it, wash it.
  9. Don’t spit, snot or blow your nose in the drinking fountain. Enough said, thank you.
  10. Don’t leave weight plates on the equipment. Gyms don’t have maids. There is no one to pick up after you. And remember, putting the weights away makes you strong, too.
  11. Don’t be the creepy guy (or gal) at your gym. Unless, of course, the creepiness is reciprocated by the other party. If your inquiring eyes or comments are not returned, save the flirtation for eharmony or manhunt.

That’s my list – but do you have any other no-no’s to add? Sound-off in the comments below!