Archive for February, 2009

Gym Etiquette- Weight Hogs Saturday, February 21st, 2009

There is another group of people who have the tendency to rile me up- circuit trainers. Circuit training certainly has its place in the gym and is a very beneficial exercise regimen if employed properly; the problem is people who insist on performing a seemingly never ending circuit. When using a circuit style of training, it is more beneficial for the workout if weight is left in a certain place or left on bars. This becomes a huge annoyance when weight is left on the bench press, for example, for the duration of a circuit. This can last anywhere from between ten minutes to over an hour. With the limited facilities in the Student Rec Center, no one wants to wait around for much more than ten minutes to use the bench press.

There are some solutions to this problem that generally work. One of them is to let someone use the equipment when you are on a different part of your circuit. This may seem like common sense, but all too often I see someone get angry because someone else is using their weights or equipment when they come back to that part of the circuit. There is no reason why you cannot let someone use your equipment while you are elsewhere, so do not throw a fit if you see someone using you weights… please. This method is also applicable when a person is doing a ton of sets on one piece of equipment or using one set of weights. I understand that there are benefits to hitting one specific body part and particular exercise hard, but while you are resting, let someone else jump in and use the machine; be courteous.

Another solution is to simply not take so terribly long doing a circuit. Instead, break up your circuit into smaller circuits, this way less time is spent with your weight sitting idle and taking up space for others. This is actually a more helpful workout in many aspects whether you are training for endurance or strength. Less rest time in between reps of the same exercise is going to propel your results.

There is another problem with circuits that is less obvious and many times there is no solution. When a lot of people see weight on a machine or near a bench, they know someone is using it, so they avoid it and move on. People, even though they want to use certain equipment, are unwilling to ask someone if they can use it; also, many times the person who is performing the circuit is off in some other part of the gym so even if someone is willing to ask if they can use the weight, there is no one around that weight to ask. Like I said before, there is often no solution to this problem; keeping the circuits to minimal length is perhaps the best way to prevent hording weights. Some discernment also helps, if you realize someone is looking at your weight or seems like they are waiting, ask them if they want to use it while you are not. The overriding principle is to be considerate of others in the gym while still getting the type of workout you desire.

Gym Etiquette- Modesty Friday, February 13th, 2009

Escaping from the rigors of academia is an absolute necessity to retain sanity at the Colorado School of Mines. My favorite way of doing this is by pumping iron at the gym; I know many of you feel the same way. The gym should be a place of solitude, a place where you can release anger and stress beneficially by transferring that energy into improving physical fitness. One of the many distractions encountered at the gym is the disregard for modesty. The gym is a place to improve your body, not show it off, if you want to do that, go to the beach.

For men, problems include shirts that are ripped nearly all the way down the sides, loose and short shorts, and extremely tight shirts. Each of these items reveals a lot of body that most people do not want to have to look at when they are working out. I realize that while working out you can build up a sweat and that less clothing means more cooling. Suck it up! If you can lift weights, you can certainly put up with a little sweat; sweat releases toxins stored in your body, so wearing more clothes actually helps you out as long as you remain hydrated. If you are going to be doing exercises where you lift your legs, make sure you have compression shorts on or are wearing some form of pants. The reasons should be obvious.

Many girls also have the problem of not wearing very much clothing in the gym. My question is, why? What part of your workout is inhibited by wearing more clothing? Girls seem to have an obsession with wearing very short, tight shorts or tops. This can be very distracting to the male population, especially at Mines where there are very few girls in the gym and numerous guys. The gym is a place to get away from distractions, not be faced with more.

Another common problem is flexing in front of the mirrors. This is mostly performed by the guys in the gym but I have also witnessed girls flexing as well. The mirrors are there to watch your form while lifting to help ensure safety and to maximize the benefit of a certain exercise; bad lifting technique is a sure way to not see results in the gym and even face possible injury. No one cares how big your muscles are but you, and there is certainly no one that wants to be distracted by seeing you flexing while they are trying to work out. So save the flexing for home and pay attention to your workout, the only thing that matters within the confines of the weight room.

Modesty has been and probably always will be a problem at gyms. This is not a reason to neglect your individual responsibility to partake in modesty; it is something that you can find solace in. Not distracting others from their workout is required of everyone in the gym to maximize the quality of the atmosphere. If you are someone who thinks you are huge and must show off your muscles around a bunch of smaller guys to make yourself feel good, or think you are an attractive female and enjoy having guys watch your every move- replace your pride with the clothes in your gym bag, and think of others before entering the place that gives some people their only source of relief from this school.

Gym Etiquette- Groups Thursday, February 5th, 2009

It is already a month into the New Year and the influx of people using the Rec Center at the start of the year due to New Year’s resolutions, or some other reason, has not diminished. With all of the new faces there are bound to be problems; many of the unspoken gym rules are sure to be broken, some people will get frustrated and some will be embarrassed. It is an annual phenomenon. Following is the start of a series focusing on some of those unspoken rules that beginners might not know and also some general tips for people of all experiences levels that will aid in a positive, safe, and courteous time at the gym.

One of the most annoying things when working out is to have a large group of people standing around and talking to one another. The gym is a place to work out. Period. Groups of people take up a lot of space in an already cramped gym and people who are focusing on their workout do not want to have to continuously maneuver around a group or always question whether or not a group of people is using a certain piece of equipment. Groups also tend to be rather loud which is also a distraction from a workout; people do not want to listen to you discuss your problems and especially do not want to constantly hear loud laughing. Working out should be enjoyable, but it is not a place to be telling jokes and messing around. When you are working hard, fighting through immense pain, trying to maintain a high level of intensity and concentration, the last thing you want to hear is someone laughing. It simply shows ignorance on the part of those partaking in the offense. Saying hello to a friend for a minute is acceptable and even encouraged; it is good to get to know others working out in the gym because they are a great potential source of information and encouragement that you can utilize as you progress toward your fitness goals. Talking is not the problem either, as long as it is quiet and only with your workout partner. Again, having friends in the gym is one of the great parts of being there and is a fantastic chance forge a deeper friendship; struggling together forms a bond that is difficult to match.

If you are working out as a group one of the best things you can do to remain courteous to others is to spread out. Everybody in the group does not have to congregate around the bench press or the dumbbell rack, form pairs and do different exercises; when done with one exercise, simply switch. Being serious is another key component to being in the gym. It is easy to joke around with a group of friends but this should be avoided. Forming pairs is a great way to avoid being excessively noisy. The main point I am trying to make is that if you go to the gym to converse, you are going to the wrong place. Go to the gym with a serious attitude, planning on getting something done with limited conversation because it is awfully hard to get a good workout when you are talking all of the time.