For those who have never succumbed to the pressure to join a gym and get all fit and lithe (ha! as if!) there are parts of it that are not obvious and that you don’t learn until you’ve dived in and paid your money. There is an Etiquette. (There is also a pecking order but that can usually be ignored due to stroppiness or ignorance).
This etiquette is difficult to negotiate sometimes (should you apologise for accidentally making eye contact when that gym bunny was pulling her sex face on the treadmill?) but usually it boils down to Live and Let Live (and don’t, whatever you do, stare at the groins).
Live and Let Live covers everything from mistakenly smiling at the weird bloke who works out in a woolly hat when really you were just happy because your favourite song came on, to getting really grumpy when someone starts sitting…not working out, just sitting…on the piece of equipment you were about to wander over to.
Live and Let Live boils down to the fact that (pretty much) everyone is there to get a bit fitter or lose a bit of weight, so pulling faces, sweating a lot and making weird grunting noises is acceptable. Grinning at people struggling on the cross trainer, speaking to people as they strain against their own body weight on the lateral pull machine and gorping at the men who choose to work out in jeans and work boots is not.
My quandary is whether I should have said something to the woman who was working out in front of me as I struggled the width of the Atlantic on the rowing machine. She had annoyed me by depositing various weights and kettlebells directly in front of my machine, then proceeded to use each piece for 2 minutes, along with the rowing machine next to me, but…Live and Let Live…and in addition to all that swapping and changing she was also indulging in a little yoga.
Should I have told her that her leggings became, for all intents and purposes, see-through when they were stretched across her arse?
It is too late for me to do anything about this now but I am still debating it in my mind. Would I have wanted to know? Probably not. Would it have been a breach of gym etiquette? Probably yes. Did I see far too much of someone else’s rear end as I was rowing for England? Oh my word, Yes.
Those are the risks you take by joining a gym…be warned.