Working at the RPAC as a group fitness instructor and monitor, I’ve encountered a vast array of people. If you’re a fan of people watching, the gym might be the best place to do it. That being said, there are some unspoken rules and etiquette that I witness some ladies breaking, and I think it’s high time we address those of you repeat offenders out there. If one or more of these descriptions sounds like you or a loved one, please take note!
1. Poor-form Girl
True, we’re not all body builders and gym rats. Some of us are just beginning our journey toward healthy living. And that’s great! However, poor form when exercising not only makes you look like a newbie, but it’s incredibly dangerous, too. If you have even the slightest doubt in your form, I suggest finding one of the many mirrored open exercise rooms in the gym and practice your form, maybe bringing in a friend who knows more about fitness to guide you through the workout properly. Here’s an awesome article from shape.com that outlines basic exercise form: http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/fix-your-exercise-form-better-resu…
2. Nosy Nancy
This is one that I feel we’ve all done at least once. The gym is a breeding ground for competition. Sometimes you can’t help but peek at the display on the treadmill of the girl next to you. When scoping out another person’s speed or distance or calories, you may not intend to offend or harm, but in reality, this is a huge no-no of gym etiquette. Looking at how fast the person next to you is going can set you both up for unrealistic expectations. Your workout should be for YOU, and unless you’re doing buddy training with a friend, you shouldn’t concern yourself with how another person is doing. If you’re doing your best, it shouldn’t matter if they’re going 5 or 0.5 miles faster than you. On the flip side, if someone is going slower than you, looking at their display may communicate judgment of their effort, and that is just not fair. Going into the gym, keep in mind that everyone is there to do their best, and we need to respect that.
3. The Girl in THAT Outfit
Getting sweaty during a workout is inevitable. It’s important to wear clothing that will make it easy to keep cool. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind the appropriateness of your attire. Shorts that expose your personal assets and cut-off shirts so revealing that I can see in one sleeve and out the other are simply unnecessary. We’re lucky enough that the OSU rec facilities allow us to wear sleeveless shirts, when many other universities have strict ‘no sleeveless shirt’ rules. (That means no Lululemon tanks–the horror!) For some reason, I’ve lately seen girls working out in just their sports bras. I just don’t understand it; we’re inside an air-conditioned gym with shelter from the sun—just wear your shirt! Whether or not you intend to, your skimpy outfit may be communicating a message about your ego that’s less than flattering. Keep it covered up until bikini season when you can really show off how hard you’ve been working at the gym!
4. The Timid One
The gym can be an intimidating place. We’ve all been there for the first time and feeling lost or out of place might scare you away from fitness all together. We certainly don’t want that. If you’re new to working out, that’s okay! My number one tip for you is this: ask for help when you need it. Cardio machines like the treadmill and elliptical are super easy once you know the basics of speed and incline. Weight training machines are a little trickier to figure out, but a strong body is not built on cardio alone. It’s so crucial that you get in at least 4 days of basic weight training a week, something that most females skip out on. Take some time to look up instructional videos online or schedule a session with one of the RPAC’s personal trainers to familiarize yourself with the equipment. Once you figure out the basic form on each machine, you can focus on building a killer full-body workout. But all it takes is to ask for help. Another great tool to utilize is the gym’s group fitness program. The RPAC has an incredible selection of classes, anything from full-body sculpting to high-intensity cycling. The instructors are there to help you, and are always open to answer any fitness-related questions you may have.
Hopefully, if any of these sound familiar, you take a good, hard look at your time at the gym and work on being the best gym rat you can be. My all-encompassing tip for you all is this: do your very best to become your very best. Being knowledgeable, considerate, and open-minded will make this possible. So with that, I wish you, “Happy exercising!” and I hope to see you at the RPAC!