Just for the health of it Columnist: Fitness is a battle of you versus you

By GAVIN NIRMAIER

Columnist
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This week, I have witnessed many acts of poor gym etiquette at the Wise Center. I do not know any of the offenders personally, nor am I condemning those people for their actions. Simply, I felt that this is a topic that may not be familiar to people, and would like to take this opportunity to attempt to educate the Allegheny community about proper gym etiquette.

At a public gym like the Wise Center, in which space and equipment are limited, it is vital that all members be courteous of the others trying to work through their own routine. It should be kept in mind that everyone has the same right to the equipment and space, and that it is possible to work together to share the space in a polite and courteous manner.

As I said, I saw many acts of poor etiquette this week. In one instance, someone was using four machines at one time in a circuit style manner. When asked by another member to use one of the machines, the first member turned him away, telling him he needed the machine for two more sets. Immediately after turning him away, he walked away to one of the other machines he was occupying and did not use the machine that was asked about until about ten minutes later.

A simple remedy to this instance of poor etiquette exists: simply allow people to work in with you when you are using a machine. An average set takes about 35 seconds to complete; an average rest time after an exercise is 45 seconds to one minute. It’s simple math, really—if someone wants to use the same machine you are using, allow him or her to use it during your rest period. You do not need to rest on the machine; get up and allow the other person to complete their set while you are resting. If your workout includes many sets of circuits, consider coming to the gym during a low-traffic time (early in the morning or later in the evening). This will allow you to get your workout in with minimal interruption from others.

In a more general sense, gym etiquette deals with the organization and upkeep of the different spaces. Many times when I walk into the weight room, or around the core area near the racquetball courts, things are messy. Dumbbells and plates are strewn around the weight room, medicine balls are off of their racks, and during high-traffic periods, sweat is a commonality on benches and mats.

Again, the remedies to these etiquette problems are simple. To keep the spaces of the Wise Center organized, clean, and more enjoyable for other members, use common courtesy. When you finish with plates on a barbell, replace them on the racks. The same goes for dumbbells—put them back on the rack after you are done with your sets. (Don’t be a hoarder either—stick to one set of dumbbells at a time. Sitting at a bench with three sets of dumbbells, one of which you are using, is unacceptable). Finally, when you are finished using a bench, seat, or mat, take an extra ten seconds and wipe it down with a moist wipe: these are provided in canisters all over the Wise Center.

This article is not meant to judge the way people act at the gym, but it is meant to halt the occurrences of some frequent unacceptable behaviors in the Wise Center.

The Wise is a place that is provided to the Allegheny community for free; at many institutions, students are required to pay fees just to use their school’s fitness facilities. Therefore, it is our duty to make the Wise Center a friendly environment for all students, faculty, and members. If we all do our part, working out in the

Wise Center can be a much more enjoyable experience for the entire Allegheny community in the future.