Don’t Sweat It

It’s been awhile since I’ve done an official “Shameless” post, so I thought I would jump back in with this one: Day 8—Sweat.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ve belonged to the same gym for more than 14 years, worked there through college and have frequented numerous other facilities. I’ve seen a lot, and with a few exceptions, the same people magically appear in any gym on planet Earth. Some of them work out hard, some don’t work out at all, and some do exercises so bizarre that it’s clearly not safe to be within a 50-foot radius of them.


So because reading about a workout would be boring, I figured I would share a few new rules I would implement if I ever owned a gym.

Dress Code

Any gym is a fashion freak show. There will teenage boys in too-big tank-tops and old men in sweatpants, people in jeans trying to ride stationary bikes and “bodybuilders” who consciously decide to wear Hammer pants and fanny packs paired stylishly with weight belts and wrestling shoes.

Women will primp and proceed to work out just hard enough to appear dedicated, but not hard enough to actually break a sweat and appear “glistening.”

While annoying, these things do not affect me, as I will continue to look relatively normal in my T-shirt and no makeup in comparison. However, certain things will not be allowed:

  • No shirt, no shoes, no sweat, meaning do not wear flip-flops or take off your shoes or shirt. No one wants to see feet, and the germ factor is enough for me to have a panic attack. In addition, men are not allowed to take off their “lifting tank” to admire the results of the eight reps of awesomeness they just did and will record in their little notebook after each set.


  • Whether you are male or female, short shorts are not allowed on the inner/outer thigh machine for obvious reasons.
  • In general, dudes in the weight room wearing shorts so short and tight that they would be considered in bad taste at a Gay Mardi Gras parade will not be tolerated.


  • If you marinate in perfume or cologne, you will be asked to leave.
  • There will be no intentional farting in the gym. Those who do it often explain to those less publically flatulent that it’s inevitable when working out so hard and eating large amounts of protein. This is bullshit and it stinks. Literally. Go in the bathroom and return upon release.


  • Outbursts and primal grunting from the “big boys” are often encouraged with statements like, “You got this!” “Lift that shit!” and “It’s all you!” from spotters. While I cannot ban this motivational technique, I will ask you to tone it down, if only because I feel embarrassed for you.
  • If someone is in the middle of an exercise, do not ask them a question, especially if it’s completely unrelated or irrelevant.
  • Keep the cell phones in the locker room, as no one need to find out all about how “Treadmill Dude” totally hooked up with that chick from the bar or how “Treadmill Dudette” refuses to call that asshole until he changes his Facebook relationship status from “It’s Complicated.”

Equipment Use

  • The weights have homes. They like their homes. All the little dumbbells go together and all the big ones go together. Two 30 lb dumbbells belong together and every time one gets placed in the spot of the 15 lb dumbbell, God kills a kitten.


  • You are not the king/queen of the Cardio Room remote control, especially if you are using a piece of cardio equipment like a sofa and not actually exercising. You obviously do not understand “exercising,” and therefore do not deserve the remote control.
  • Wet machines should only be the result of sanitizing spray.
  • Do not do martial arts in the middle of the gym floor (kicking/punching the air) with your crazy ninja breathing and take up tons of space. Be courteous.

No Stalking

There will be no stalkers, either in or outside of the gym.

  • Do not hover around and wait for a piece of equipment or cardio machine despite the fact that there are a plethora of other options you could be using.
  • Do not stalk someone for a closer parking spot. You are at a gym, a place most normal people go to exercise, so waiting around for a closer parking spot instead of walking an additional 20 feet makes you look like a douche.

But then again, maybe that’s just the fanny pack.

This is by no means an all-inclusive list, but it’s a start. What rule would you add?

30 Posts of Shamelessness Challenge

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Days 6 and 7

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28 responses to “Don’t Sweat It

  1. Im on my way to the gym now. Great post. But you are just stratching the surface.

    – Venice Beach is where the screamers should be. Anything out of your mouth other than a sigh is mild grunt means youre trying to hard.

    – if I can see as much boob or hooha on you than I can see on my wife during our special time, then you aren’t dressed enough. Put some clothes on…esp if you’re over 40.

    – if I have to wait longer than 10 seconds at the water fountain cuz you’re filled up your 100 oz thermos, I get to punch you in the face w a 45 lb plate.

    • No, they’re usually filling up a gallon milk jug with water mixed with some sort of eerie yellow liquid guaranteed to turn them in the The Hulk :)

  2. And this is why I would never own a gym.
    You said em all….so I’m not sure I have anything brilliant to add. I guess its more of a rule for the gym owners.
    If a machine is broken, fix it. They have these rows of machines that have been “out of order” since I joined and they just take up space. It might as well be a comfy sofa.

    And no balls openly exosed on the exercise bikes.

  3. I think there could be a whole other post on locker room etiquette.

  4. I laughed out loud at this stuff. You could write a book on the characters in a gym!

  5. - Do not be the weird guy with the really really big retro headphones hooked into a miniscule iPod dancing a salsa routine in between sets at each machine. It’s creepy.
    – Don’t slap each others muscles after one of you lifts something really heavy. It is simply embarrassing for all of us.
    – If you don’t know what you’re doing in yoga class when told do get into some advanced twisty position, ask for help. Yoga instructors are born to help. It’s their Thing. If you do it totally wrong, you can break yourself and the screaming/crying that happens once you break is very interruptive to my achieving Zen.
    – Do not bend over naked in the dressing room. Ever.
    – If I am doing the super-fast you-can’t-see-me-naked-as-I-face-my-locker change into a towel for the showers or out of my towel into my clothes post-shower, DO NOT INTERRUPT ME. Do not reach between my legs to access your locker, do not say “Excuse me” from 2″ away as you sweatily try to pass me by. You can clearly see I am trying to be fast. Wait 60 seconds and all will be much more comfortable.
    – Do not yank out large chunks of your long wavy hair and stick it to the side of the shower stall. It looks like some mystical pubic hair monster has risen from the drain to come kill unsuspecting short-haired women. Like me.
    – Don’t have long, topless conversations. You can talk with your friends while putting a bra and shirt on. Really, I promise.
    – Thongs don’t count as clothes. Stop walking around in them as if you are covered up.
    – Don’t sit on the benches in the locker room without putting a towel under you if you are naked. Keep your DNA to yourself.
    – Keep your DNA to yourself, period. No matter where you are in the facility.

    • Oh good lord. I just had a conversation with the gym owner (a friend) about the hair in the shower thing. I only live half a mile from the gym and have NEVER showered there, but she has to clean the place and was talking about the hair situation. What is it with people? If there is hair in the shower or even the sink, wipe the damn thing up!

  6. Can I add one to the dress code? Old men are not allowed to wear loose jogging shorts and perform any exercise involving lifting of the leg or inner/outer thigh machine…I have been scarred for life!

  7. “Two 30 lb dumbbells belong together and every time one gets placed in the spot of the 15 lb dumbbell, God kills a kitten.” <-Omg, I totally lost it on this one!

    Seriously, WHAT is it with the people wearing blue jeans and flip flops while trying to operate an elliptical? I will never understand!

    My one rule: If you are doing multiple sets on a piece of weight equipment, do NOT just sit there like a total moron for 5 minutes between your sets…get your ass off the equipment so I can do my 15 reps and move on!

  8. Don’t be a Chatty Cathy/Christopher. If you say hello to someone and they smile, say hi back, then put their earbuds in, they obviously don’t want to talk to you. Don’t ask if they just got out of work, how their workouts going, if they live nearby, if they watched Big Bang Theory last night, if they like using the ellipitcal….just leave them alone!

    • Exactly. My gym is a neighborhood institution where most people have known each other for decades, yet there are still a handful of people that talk about the SAME damn things every time and insist on making the SAME small talk every time. That would be why they’re at the gym for two hours and I’m out in 45 minutes (if I go, that is.)

  9. Yes to all of this.
    My biggest annoyance is the personal space violators. I’ve said it before, and so has Patrick Swayze: “this is my dance space, this is your dance space.” aka back the f*ck up.

  10. See, this is why I go to my local YMCA. It’s where older, married people with kids go to work out.
    Funny stuff :)

    • My gym is actually a great place and an established “local” facility–nothing big and generic like a Gold’s Gym or anything–but you still get the same things anywhere you go.

  11. Keep your yoga mat off my yoga mat, that’s all I’m saying.

  12. Back when I belonged to a gym I did, ONCE, accidentally toot while doing sit ups. I just kept furiously sitting up and hoped no one noticed. Hopefully, right now, someone isn’t telling the story about the girl they heard toot while doing sit ups.

  13. No sex sounds when you’re lifting weights! Excessive grunting will result in the application of a muzzle.

  14. Also take a bath or hit the shower BEFORE you go to the gym if your armpits are the reason why everybody around you faints. Do you know the type, Abby? Really annoying.

  15. This is so funny Abby! Ugh there is a nice woman I see every morning at the Y who showers in awful perfume. It makes my eyes water.

    Super annoying when people try to talk to me when I’m in the middle of a personal yoga practice. Like last week. I’m in eagle pose transitioning to warrior III and then revolved chair. And some guy, literally, comes in and stands next to me and starts talking to me as I’m breathing loudly and flowing standing on ONE FOOT and totally ignoring him.

    I do have to say, actually, I AM the queen of the cardio room remote. But I’m a good queen. I ask permissions before I change to the Price is Right.

    And…I totally get you on the grunting. There is one guy who really screams, but we all love him anyways. When my husband deadlifts like 700+ lbs, he doesn’t make much of a peep…but if he did, at 700+ lbs, I think that is an ok excuse to grunt a bit.

    And damn right I’m stalking for a parking spot. I’ll circle for 10 minutes to get one spot closer.

    • Clare, I am shocked you’re a parking lot stalker. Walk the extra few feet and count it as cardio ;)

      • The last thing I need is more cardio. I have no idea how I do any cardio at all when I can barely make it up the sidewalk to the gym.

        Side story…today, a lady on the stepper was on her cell phone (she ALWAYS is) violating the “No Cell Phone” policy. (I could care less, personally.) Anyways, this guy marches over to the “No Cell Phones” sign, picks it up, slams it down in front of her and starts pointing and stomping. It was hilarious. Like really dude? You need something that badly to be upset about? He never put the sign back. So I had to drag that heavy ass sign across the room again.

    Here’s a post I did from a couple of years ago. Totally along the same lines. It should give you a laugh.

  17. The funniest gym post I’ve ever read! And I’d totally agree, if I wasn’t far far too lazy to actually go to a gym.

  18. I would like to print this and wallpaper my gym with it. . .

    A rule I would add would be personal music players should not be so loud that while you are wearing headphones, I can hear every note of the song. From 3 machines over. Though, this is a rule I’d like to apply to a lot of places. Basically, to the world.

    Also, if you have a cold/flu. . . STAY THE FRAK AT HOME. Work out at home. Go for a run. Whatever. But don’t come spread yer germs all over the public gym. Not cool.

  19. Ohh you would have a shit fit if you saw what I saw in my gym the other week. I was in the bathroom, sitting down, and saw bare feet pad up in front of my stall door, then go to the stall next to me, and the person belonging to those feet plopped right on down. Barefoot. In a public. Gym. RESTROOM!!!!!! I almost died. She obviously felt quite at home. :\

    ps: I found your site from Cordelia’s, love it so far!

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