Today as I scrolled down through my newsfeed, I saw it: “Top 10 Mistakes You’re Making in the Gym” (the histrionic RIGHT NOW!!! was implied). I felt my eyes glaze over – another day, another “what not to do at the gym” list. I dunno, guys. Maybe I’m jaded but I’ve read a million of these (heck, I think I even wrote one myself) and I just can’t get worked up anymore about people dropping the weights, taking too long on the hip abductor machine, singing out loud or hitting on anything with boobs. I tried, really I did, especially with the last one, but I was overwhelmed… with ennui. (And my lack of boobs.)
First I think we need to give people some serious credit just for being in the gym in the first place. Having been so happy in my gym back in Minnesota I’d forgotten how sucky it is walking into a strange place where it seems like everyone else knows what they are doing and you’re still trying to figure out if the garbage can thingy is actually for garbage or if it’s the towel return. Yeah people do stuff wrong. Sometimes they do it wrong on purpose. Sometimes it’s an unfortunate accident. They may even spray you with their sweat. But all the same, they’re not out hiding chemical weapons or writing the script for Saw XCIII or choreographing Miley Cyrus’ next dance number in which she molests some other innocuous childhood object. Let’s give them some credit.
But I do love me a good list. And heaven knows that gyms are a hotbed of weirdness. So forget heart rate zones and spin etiquette, here is what you should REALLY be worrying about screwing up at the gym:
Whatever You Do At The Gym Don’t Do This:
1. Eating a peanut butter and jelly sammich. Sure, drink your protein shake, eat your recovery bar, heck, pound some French fries if that’s your jam but I draw the line at anything that resembles blood spatter when dropped on the floor. Also, if you say “sammich” you’re banned from the squat rack until you can write “I’m not on The Jersey Shore” with your own sweat. (Corollary: Do not pop popcorn in the public microwave. Unless you plan on sharing.)
2. Not reading the fine print on your membership contract. It’s okay, we’ve all been so blinded by the super-low “introductory rate”, “free personal training” and “UNLIMITED TOWEL SERVICE” that we accidentally signed away our first-born child. It happens. You can always make another one. (Disney taught me that!)
3. Sobbing aloud whilst watching A Baby Story on the gym TV. It’s not a no-no to tear up a bit over a really moving episode of Modern Family and you’re even allowed to sob loudly if you’ve just PR’d your deadlift. But if you change the channel of the gym TV to TLC, heaven help you. No one needs to see Hoarders while running Tabata sprints, they’re already on the verge of puking.
4. Underestimating The Olds. They may look wrinkly, move slowly and appear to have no peripheral vision but if they’re 86 and still working out chances are they can kick your butt at something. Even if it’s just chess. I met an elderly woman the other day who danced me into the ground in Zumba. Never let an adult diaper prevent you from droppin’ it low, is my new motto.
5. Parking in the handicapped spot. Yeah, we saw you. I know you think people who are handicapped don’t work out. You would be wrong.
6. Buying supplements at the “cafe.” You can get them cheaper on-line. Promise. Take all the free samples they’ll give you though! You can wrap them in the free towel that you’re carrying around because you still haven’t ID’d the proper hole to dispose it in.
7. Murdering someone. Okay, we’ve all muttered “I could kill that jerk!” under our breath. Especially when he’s hoarding all 6 of the 20-lb dumbbells. But don’t really do it. Don’t be that guy. Also not a good idea: The other 7 Deadly Sins. Except gluttony – that’s okay as long as you’re “bulking” or “carb loading”.
8. Wearing edible underwear. By now we’ve covered the undies debate to death. Wear panties, don’t wear panties. Wear panties on your head as an emergency hair tie (I swear to you I did not make that one up – it was an actual tip from Cosmo!) Wear panty-less pants and draw on panty lines with a Sharpie. Whatever floats your boat. But your Fruit of the Looms should not be made with real fruit – edible undies and sweat don’t mix. Just saying. (Plus: fruit leather is a terrible post-workout snack, especially if it has e-coli.)
9. Grand theft auto. Either the video game or the felony.
10. Performing minor surgery. Everyone has a theory about what that funny bump on your shoulder is. Doesn’t mean they get to “biopsy it” with nail clippers in the locker room.
11. Exorcisms. No summoning the unholy dead. Unless you can do it while only quoting Sublime lyrics. I don’t practice Santeria. I ain’t got no crystal ball. I had a million dollars but I, I spent it all! If I could find that heina and that sancho that she’s found, Well I’d pop a cap in sancho and I’d slap her doooown. Okay on second thought, don’t do that. Gyms frown on popping caps and slap fights.
12. Doing your own fecal transplants. Anything that involves you, a still-warm toilet and a Q-tip should never happen. Even if you did read it will help you lose weight.
13. Taping your own “reality show” that only stars women from the neck down and is filmed surreptitiously on your camera phone as you pretend to “tie” your Vibrams. Oh see, I did bring it back to boobs! It’s the circle of liiiiife!
Anyone else really sick of the “Mistakes You Must Never Make In the Gym Or Everyone Will Hate You And Steal Your Snacks!” lists?? What would you add to my list of things you really ought to be worrying about in the gym?