Today I left the gym six workouts early (one and a half workouts in!) because I was so frustrated by something that happened. And it’s more than frustrating that I left because I was completely put off and not because I was finished. Especially since originally I didn’t fancy being there at all before having a complete change of heart and being super motivated. I don’t think anyone should be put off by preconceptions about the gym. I don’t feel intimidated as a girl and I encourage others not feel intimidated for other reasons- I’ve heard guys say they want to join a gym but worry they’ll be judged by others for not being “muscly” when 1) I believe people are at the gym only for themselves, 2) Any body type is the perfect match for the gym. I do believe, on the whole, gym-goers aim not to be twits. However…
Today, I was on the biceps curl machine. I was quickly going from machine to machine (not giving myself enough rest time because I wanted to get back home to do coursework). In between each set I would go on my phone (I know I don’t use mine so much it slows down the process of me completing my sets at the gym and in turn slowing others down- today I was using it for no more than 5-10 seconds between each set). I noticed a guy lurking by the machine and understanding it could look like I was taking the mick, I did my next set. Quickly, I was (I shouldn’t be justifying this) about to reply to a short message and get back to it, when the guy moved closer, forcing me to look at him.
Rude Guy (RG): Can I jump in between sets
Me: *Very confused, the penny not dropping.* Afterward I’ve finished, yeah
RG: No, now
Me: *Agitated by this point.* Well, no. I’m not going to be long; I’m whizzing through
RG: But you’re not doing anything right now
Me: *Exasperated* For five seconds I’m not doing anything. Are you serious?
RG: Yes, I’m serious *Continues to stand there while nothing is said and I try to carry on before feeling as though my happy experience was being violated.*
Me: This is so uncomfortable (Following this, I got up and left the machine, did a full four sets on another machine and left because I felt so embarrassed, infuriated and the closest I’ve felt to intimated at the gym before.)
How not to be a twit at the gym
ONE. If people don’t want to be interrupted, accept it. As above shows, if someone wants to be left alone, that’s a-okay. I only go to the gym for myself and don’t want to be interrupted unless it’s necessary or I can help someone with something. I understand jumping in in between sets is a “thing”, but I didn’t want that and that is okay. I was quickly doing my gym session and this guy completely messed it up. Because he was stood there lurking, I had to stop my workout half way through and that is completely unacceptable. I didn’t feel intimidated (even though he chose to laugh while I calmly argued my point and he made it clear he thinks he owns that gym) but it was intimidating. And no one should feel that way; especially not exercising- doing something for themselves and themselves only. It’s not my responsibility to speed up someone else’s session and it WASN’T EVEN BUSY AT THE GYM AND HE MADE THE EXPERIENCE PROLONGED (okay, I’m still mad).
TWO. Be patient! Many a time I’ve been interrupted for a guy (in my experience, it has simply been guys that have done this) to ask if they can use the piece of equipment I’m using after me. Of course they can. I’m even willing to hand them something straight afterwards if they asked. But is asking really necessary? Keep an eye out (don’t lurk!) but sometimes it can really put me off. I’ll want to hurry up and finish so I don’t feel like I’m being waited on. As a part b to this point, don’t stare at someone because you’re wanting to assess when you can use the equipment. Obviously. Why does that need saying?!
THREE. Be aware. Constantly, I watch and experience people refuse to accept spatial awareness. People walk past the machine I’m on, far too closely, in turn forcing me to stop so I don’t injure them in any way. It’s a whole process that could be so easily avoided, consequently not affecting my or their experience.
In general, I have such a positive experience at the gym. It just feels like everyone is in a rush- and that’s fine but to involve others in your persistent need to make sure you’re next and not anyone else is not cool. Going to the gym is such “me time” for me and I mostly go straight after university and am in need of wind down time. Many others will go before or after work, to relieve stress or simply because they want to. So why risk ruining someone else’s time for themselves?
~ Kat ~