Here's what you need to know...
- Unless you think the hospital is going to call to say they've got a kidney donor for you, keep the cell phone in the locker.
- The power rack is for squats and deadlifts, not stretchy-cord rotator cuff exercises.
- Keep the Swiss balls and BOSU balls stowed where they belong, which is punctured and in the trash bin.
- Women should stop wearing gym clothes that make them look like off-duty strippers. They look great, but it's distracting.
- If all you wear are shirts with cut-off sleeves or Under Armour skin-tight workout shirts, you need to work on your self-esteem.
1 – Power-Rack Abuser
The power rack is darn near the most important piece of equipment in the gym. As such, serious lifters don't like to see it used for frivolous purposes.
That means you, yoga boy or yoga lady, who likes to do downward dog, warrior 1, or upside-down accountant while lying in it. The power rack is not a spiritual sanctuary or your private yoga temple.
Besides, if you're after healing powers, aren't you supposed to sit under a pyramid rather than uh, what would you call the rack, a rectangular hexahedron?
And please, for the love of God, all you pasty old guys wearing your Class of '67 Fightin' Mustangs of Fillmore High tainted-yellow T-shirts and exercise shorts with stretched-out waistbands, don't tie your $4.99 K-Mart stretchy cord with a built-in handle to the power rack so you can "work" your rotator cuff.
It prevents us from using the rack for more serious purposes. It's like playing Angry Birds on the company's only super computer while the guy who's tasked with tracking the 6-mile wide meteor heading towards earth has to nervously wait for you to finish.
Lastly, since it doesn't seem to have globally sunk in yet, don't do curls in the power rack! You can do curls anywhere, but we can't do heavy squats or rack pulls any old place.
2 – Stinker
We know you're into cheap, bargain basement protein powder that comes from China because you'd rather spend your shekels on Halo 6: Rage of the Accountants, but your digestive problems are killing us.
You walk from one end of the gym to the other, cautiously letting out measured amounts of gas as you go, in effect crop-dusting the rest of us with farts. That way, no one knows it's you, right?
Wrong. We know it's you, because you look like a guy who has sneaky farts. It's written all over your cheap-protein eating face.
That, plus you can see the trail of gym members keeling over behind you as if they were locust dropping dead from the chemical offerings of a Grumman G-164 Ag-Cat.
Stay home, fart yourself dry in the car before you come in, or switch to a high-grade protein powder.
3 – Funky-Towel Draper
Okay, so you learned to lift from watching kinetoscopes of Jack Lalanne or scratchy Body by Jake VHS tapes. It's only natural that you think circuit training is the cat's pajamas.
The thing is, it's rush hour at the gym and there are only a limited number of flat benches in the whole damn place.
You can't simply put your towel on one of them and assume it's yours in perpetuity, or at least until you make your next rotation of 10 exercises before coming back to the bench.
Look at it this way, would homesteaders in the Wild West have been safe from claim jumpers simply because they put a towel on their piece of land? I don't think so.
Some cattle or railroad baron would have hired killer pistoleros to ride onto your land when you were in town buying penny candy and a smokin' hot corset for your woman.
They'd then steal your towel, or at least defile it by using it to pick up cattle doo-doo.
Come to think of it, using a towel-saver's towel to pick up cattle doo-doo might be an appropriate response to claiming a bench for an inappropriate amount of time; that is, if you can find some cattle doo-doo.
Similarly, don't lay your stinkin' water bottle on a bench or piece of equipment while you're doing the squat thrusts you learned in junior high. It's not an end table, okay? Put it on the floor. Bending over once in a while to pick it up will be good for your hip flexors and all that.
4 – Bench Occupier
Sure, reading the paper or browsing The Huntington Post in-between sets in the gym is a great time saver. Why, I often do concentration curls while sitting on the toilet, so we're kindred spirits in a sort of weird, twisted way.
In case you can't tell, I'm being sarcastic here.
Hey, if you devoted at least a nanogram of effort into lifting and didn't read the Sunday Times in-between what you call sets, maybe you wouldn't look like the pre-diet Chris Christie.
Besides, that's a workout bench you're sitting on – one that I could be using if you'd stop using it as a barcalounger.
5 – Painted-On Shirt Guy
Sure, your arms are decent; they're your one good body part, but by wearing nothing but sleeveless T-shirts, you're showing a similarity to those semi-anorexic chicks that get huge implants that, in a pinch, could double as Swiss balls.
These poor girls invariably wear clothing so tight that a blind man could simply trace his fingers across the front of their tops and read the Braille message formed by the tubercles on their areolas which read, "My daddy abused me so I have an eating disorder which led to a distorted body image and compelled me to buy obscenely large implants."
In other words, it reeks of insecurity, and that's you, buddy, he of the closet full of sleeveless shirts.
It's almost the same with you guys and your skin-tight Under Armour shirts. Again, you're like girls whose identity is wrapped up and smothered in between a pair of giant augmented breasts.
Just wear some ordinary T-shirts, will you? Be a man that at least appears to have some self worth.
But I guess all of that's not really a matter of etiquette, is it? It's more of a pet peeve, I suppose.
What is a matter of etiquette, though, is middle-aged and old bastards who have no arm development at all and wear cut-off sleeves or white, ribbed, yellow stained, moldy tank tops that you usually see old Italian guys wearing on hot summer Sunday afternoons as they sit on their stoops and reminisce about the Brooklyn Dodgers.
These guys are usually sporting so much hair on their biceps, triceps, and semi-exposed back that it serves as a matted repository for sweat and virulent bacteria and every time they get off a bench, it leaves a moist, acidic, acrid, drippy residue and, frankly, given a choice, I think I'd rather sit on hot tar.
Plus, it's such a God-awful look. I could watch an autopsy and still not lose my appetite, but the sight of you guys in your Dr. Zaius cosplay outfits makes me want to give up eating forever.
6 – Over-Hydrater
Let me get this straight, you're monopolizing the drinking fountain for ten minutes at a time, filling up a neoprene water bottle that's the size of a beer keg because you're too lazy to make side trips to the drinking fountain when you get thirsty?
Never mind that we're all drier than Clint Eastwood's prostate and starting to feel woozy. If we were in Egypt and the rest of us were waiting to water our camels, we'd draw straws to see who would have the honor of beheading you.
7 – Selfie Taker
I'm only going to devote a few words to this one because it's so damn obvious.
Unless you're about to video someone attempting a world record squat, deadlift, or bench, or you're waiting to hear from the hospital that they've found you a kidney donor, keep the stupid thing in your locker.
8 – Dumbbell Rack Hog
Listen, you can't grab a pair of dumbbells off the rack and start doing your 10-pound spastic dumbbell curls right there. You need to go back to your bench, or at the very least, back up six feet.
You're blocking me and about a dozen other frustrated lifters from grabbing the heavier weights immediately above, below, or next to the weights you just picked up.
Let me put it in terms you might understand. Let's say we're in the buffet line at Rachel Ray's Gastroenteritis Buffet. You stop and ladle out a generous scoop of creamed corn, but instead of going back to your chair to eat it with your pimply date, you eat it right there, thereby blocking me from getting my share of the creamed corn.
What the hell? You telling me I gotta' wait for you to finish eating your creamed corn before I can have some? What kind of cruel, perverse, screw-your-neighbor, Mad Max world did you grow up in?
Get it? Back away, Meat, back away.
9 – Scent-Sational
Please refrain from wearing perfume or cologne in the gym. Maybe they breathe Axe Body Spray fumes on your home planet – the planet Gigolo – but here on Terra Firma, we breathe oxygen.
So when the rest of us are sucking wind from doing a heavy set of squats or deadlifts, we'd like to be able to refrain from having a cologne-induced attack of asthma or emphysema.
Even body odor is almost preferable to your perfume because, unlike Shalomar, the scent doesn't linger for hours, unless of course, you're talking about Sergei, the Ukrainian guy who works in the boiler room that stuffs wads of Bounty absorbent towels underneath his arms to soak up some of the sweat.
10 – Stripper
I almost hate myself for saying this, but the tiny boy shorts and sports bras that look like they were modeled after Agent Provocateur lingerie must go. I really, really want to concentrate on my workout, but how can I get a pump in my pecs when like, other places are pumped?
To paraphrase Dave Chapelle, a lot of you ladies might not be gym whores, but you wear the uniforms of one.
Man, we know you worked hard for that awesome body, and there's not much we'd rather do then stare at it and imagine it in all kinds of Flying Wallenda poses, but it's killing us; killing our workouts and killing our toes because we keep stubbing them against the Cybex Pec Deck as we try to surreptitiously sneak a peak at your goodies.
I can appreciate any such style of dress in just about any other environment, except maybe the operating room of a horny male brain surgeon who'll likely accidentally slice open my aorta because he's gawking at some cleavage, but please, keep the gym a little less sexually charged for all our sakes.
11 – Sneezy
It's bad enough as it is. If you're ever likely to catch a virus or a bacterium that eats the flesh off your nose until your left with a gaping hole that you have to cork to keep the mucus from flowing out, it's at the gym.
Most of them have closed doors and rotten ventilation, second only to the cabin of a low-budget Kazakhstani airline that caters to livestock and peasants. Then you've got hundreds of people with bad hygiene touching the equipment and huffing and puffing diseases into the air.
But then there are the Typhoid Marys and Larrys. Every gym has at least one. They think they're heroes for working out while they're sick, but with every hacking pistol squat or phlegmy bodyweight lunge, they're spreading pathogens.
You're doing a set of heavy squats when you see, or rather hear, one of these wheezing disease carriers coming your way and you actually try to hold your breath, which causes you to see birdies and, if you're lucky, terminate the set without crashing through the gym wall into the beauty parlor on the other side.
If only they were zombies, because then you could justify poking a hole in their brain.
You actually find yourself hoping these mutts have cancer instead of tuberculosis because you can't catch cancer.
Working out in a public gym while sick requires a degree of selfishness that ranks right up there with some genetic anomaly who has three kidneys, yet refuses to give one to his dying daughter.
12 – BOSU Baller
The landscapes of modern gyms are peppered with these stupid things. They're the gym version of old west tumbleweeds, aimlessly being blown to and fro by silent winds, only they're much more hazardous than dead plant matter.
Who among us hasn't tripped over one of these things while carrying 100-pound dumbbells, or had one intrusively sidle up to us in the middle of a 1RM squat or deadlift?
These neon-hued blobs make you feel like you're an extra in another sequel to Tron, where instead of being chased by hordes of globular, digital death that vaporize you when they come into contact with you, only mess with your balance, your patience, and your set.
Keep these things corralled in their rack, or jammed somewhere where they won't bother anyone, perhaps between the gym manager's butt cheeks.