With metal-themed yoga studios and the ever annoying “healthgoth” popping up like pimples on prom night, the intersection of being in great physical shape and enjoying loud music has never been closer. But since not everyone has been beefing up since their days in Pampers, many people still don’t know how to act appropriately when in a public exercise space. I’m not talking about riding your bike on the sidewalk or texting in the running lane of Central Park’s jogging path; I mean going to the gym and acting like a slovenly, ungrateful Neanderthal intent on acting out a lifestyle similar to his or her Paleo-diet. It’s this kind of behavior that I’ll focus on in this edition of The Many Faces of Manny:
Excessive Grunting: “HHHHNNNNNNNNNNNN. UMPH. COME ON. ONE MORE MAN. AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH. UUUUUURRRRGGGGGHHHHHH. YEA!” Everyone who has spent any amount of time in a gymnasium has definitely heard those sounds before. You can see the guy in your mind. He’s over there in the corner. Working the Smith machine. Maybe stacking on 95 lbs and doing his version of a military press. Rep one isn’t so loud. But reps two through fifteen are brutal, each one enunciated by a grunting effort to get the bar up and the sound of pure adulation as the bar is brought back to its starting point.
Unwanted Touching and Advances: Now I’m not a female. I’m the opposite. I’m the guy at the gym staring at all the women who are just trying to work out for thirty straight minutes without being harassed by a creepy guy that wants to high-five her, thumbs-up her or touch parts of her body without consent to do so. I will rely on a few words from my friend Valerie regarding her experiences:
This is a thing that happens a lot out in the “real world” as well as in gyms. I’ll be minding my own business, walking around the gym, when some way-too-jacked dude will come along and grab one of my heavily tattooed arms to get a look at them. It’ll usually be followed up with some stupid comment like, “yeah, I’ve got tattoos too. Wanna see my tribal piece?” or “Do you have any tattoos I can’t see?” followed by some sort of suggestive winking. I’ll usually get pretty mad about it and pull my arm back violently and the offending bro won’t even understand what he’s done wrong. Don’t ever touch someone without their consent. It’s rude and can make the person very uncomfortable. It’s happened often enough that it’s deterred me from going to the gym.
Hogging Equipment: Bro, if you’re going to rock a 10 x 3 workout using 90% of your max weight while resting 5-7 minutes in between sets there is no reason that you need to sit on the bench for those minutes between sets. Nothing is more maddening than being at the gym on lunch hour while some Hulkamaniac is texting his “girlfriends” while hogging the declined bench press machine for 90 minutes.
Alternately, there are those who have to workout in cycles. They require a bench press machine, the butterfly machine and the cable pull (both cables) for their workout. Rather than take turns on each machine, resting in between and letting someone else get a set in, these buffoons insist on hogging all three workout stations at once. If you ask to cut in they usually respond with, “just two more sets, bro.” Which, with all the resting in between could be upwards of sixteen full minutes. To signify that they own the machine for the time being they will usually rest in between that cable pulls, leave a towel on the bench and leave their water bottle on the butterfly machine or, if they do not have a water bottle machine, loudly demand that people wait until they are done.
Regardless of the method, both of these types are insufferable douchebags that should be put out to pasture.
Not Re-Racking: If you’ve ever had the pleasure of getting to the gymnasium at 8:00 AM or earlier, you might notice that the gym is pristine—vacuumed, fresh-smelling and, most importantly for us beefcakes, the weights are racked in perfect order. Curl bars are on one side in ascending order by weight and straight bars are on the other. The Gaspari, Tricep Bars and the Hex Bars are all standing in perfect order. The plates are painstakingly organized and distributed so that no one will be inconvenienced during their workout. By 11:00, though, that’s all gone to shit. Barbells are all over the floor, all the 45 lb plates are hanging on one rack and the gym has become general chaos. Dudes bumping into each other trying to get fractional plates for their 5 x 5, attendants attempting to keep some semblance of order. It’s not really that difficult. We all graduated kindergarten, presumably. The idea is that if you take something out you put it back. And if you’re some gorilla-jacked, swollen clown guy, don’t leave six plates on the bench bar for the string bean to have to remove. Your selfishness has forced him to expend far too much energy moving plates—energy he could have spent benching.
Excessive Nudity: I’m not talking about during the workout (which would also be unacceptable). I’m talking about those individuals who get to the locker room and treat it as their own bedroom. The few that wander around naked, looking in the mirror, sitting bare-ass to bench and constantly lotioning their entire bodies (inside and out) with the cheap, alcohol laced “moisturizer” provided by most gym establishments. These people are absolutely disgusting—and while we’re at it, they all suffer from a massive lack of pubic hygiene. It’s not that hard to run a scissor or beard trimmer through your pubic hair once in a while. Especially if you’re going to be naked for twenty plus minutes in public on a regular basis. No one wants to see that germ-infested, scraggly shrubbery guarding your genitals. If you have to be nude at least put some effort into it!
…And Now a Word from My Sponsor (Mrs. Manny): “Although he is not a grunter, Manny is certainly noisy at the gym. While doing cardio he often laughs uncontrollably at top volume, claps, cheers or air-drums. Granted, his outbursts are the result of watching a funny movie, sports news or listening to music—but still, he appears to be a nut job. While running on the treadmill or gliding on the elliptical, fellow gym-goers are immune to Manny’s disruptions as long as they keep their headphones in. If they are lost in the music, as they fantasize about what will happen when they lose all this weight—’so and so will sleep with me,’ ‘I can wear that little black dress again’—they will not hear the outrageous chuckles, cackles, or loud clapping or cheering if god forbid he’s watching hockey highlights on ESPN. Once gym-rats pull out the head-phones and head for the yoga mat, the thigh machine or the nearest medicine ball, Manny is there to destroy all gym experiences. His strange behavior makes you think, ‘they let psych patients join this gym!’ That said, he certainly looks very handsome in his cutoff metal shirts and Darth Vader vans.”
If you work out on a regular basis—or even if you don’t—please don’t be these guys. NEVER be these guys.
Keep an eye out for “Gym Etiquette, Vol. II” (coming out at some point in the future) where we will cover such things as: gym selfies, excessive towel usage, flexing in the mirror, personal trainers and the severe no-no of keeping fruits in your gym locker.
Until next time,