I don’t hate jocks anymore. In fact, I don’t really like to use the word “jock,” because “jock” is a class of people that you reference when your life is more RPG than reality. You use the word “jock” because it makes you feel better about yourself and the intelligence system that you’ve placed on everyone. They’ve got big muscles, so they must be stupid, because that’s how Final Fantasy works. My biceps look like hot dogs that are uncooked and moldy at the same time, so I am superior in both wit and smarts! The people who continue to complain about jocks into adulthood are the same people who stay miserable forever, trapped in both a lopsided hierarchy that they’ve imposed on themselves, and also in airplane seats.
I’ve been going to the gym, six times a week, for about two months now, and I feel fantastic. I’m gaining more muscle definition and mass, and unlike what sixth grade Daniel thought, I didn’t magically lose my sense of humor because I figured out how to bench press. But this isn’t just about all the wonders of finding out that a gym membership isn’t my Kryptonite, because, at the same rate that you’ll find idiots outside the gym, you’ll find them within the gym. And since you’re supposed to follow the advice of people with more experience than you, I’ve picked up ten pieces of gym etiquette that you need to follow in order to make things run as smoothly as possible.
1. Be Passive Aggressive
If you see people standing in the way of a machine that you’d like to use, don’t approach them and politely ask for space. They wouldn’t give it to you, because they’re the people too stupid to not be watching your every movement anyway! Instead, huff behind them, blowing hot air out of your mouth and look for people to share your misery with. Make eye contact, and use expressions that say “Get a load of this shit! Can these people not see that I angrily have my hands on my hips?!? I better pace some more.”
Body building is all about asserting yourself to push past pain and develop the body that you desire. It takes a lot of energy and dedication to do, which is why many people who want to get a nicer physique never muster up the courage to try it. But you absolutely have to lack the confidence that it would take to talk to strangers. Make sure that you establish this weird dichotomy within your emotional core. Be the man with bigger shoulders than everyone else, who turns into jello and post gym rants when faced with the slightest chance of confrontation.
2. Drop Anything You Pick Up
Drop everything. You leak necessary muscle fluids when you take the time to put dumbbells back onto the rack, so when you get done with a set, let gravity be lazy for you and throw the weights to the floor. Hard. Make sure that the sound carries through the wind like the onomatopoeia in a 60’s Batman fight. It’s way more dramatic that way. It lets everyone know that you both mean business, and that you’d like everyone to see just how much fucking business you mean.
The same goes for cables. Let them snap back. Make sure that all the inanimate objects in the room know that you’re not locked in here with them. They’re LOCKED IN HERE WITH YOU.
Any amount of weight, too! You’d think that dropping weights meant that you were exhausted, but nope! Let go of those 2.5 pounders like they’re covered in carbs, and make sure that the machine clatter itself into a death rattle. You’re really tough when you help to break shit. You’re like The Rock. Now imagine a hot girl’s voice saying that you’re like The Rock. All of that working out is paying off now.
3. Bother Women
Speaking of hot girls, if you see some at the gym in the middle of a set, talk to them! About anything! The weather! The Godzilla trailer! Their tank tops! Fucking anything you can think of at the moment. Don’t wait for them to finish what they were attempting. If you see a girl sweating on a treadmill, nearly out of breath, it’s the perfect time to run your “I think I remember you from some place! Haha!” game. She’ll press “Cool Down” and be ready for the thoroughly engaging conversation that you must have in mind when you have the gall to impede people from completing their own important, personal goals.
I can’t stress how important it is for you to not wait for them to get done. Letting them finish their bicep curls uninterrupted is like stopping in the middle of foreplay to go to Home Depot really quick. Girls like it when you take control of them taking control. From watching people do it at the gym, you’d think that orgasms are only triggered when you jump in the way of someone’s dead lift. It’s all about timing and charm, guys. And there’s no better time to be charmed than when you’re squatting twice your body weight.
She has no other choice but to talk to you. Didn’t she see you do skull crushers, promptly followed by you standing up too fast and looking around to see if anyone was watching you do skull crushers? If she’s not interested in your proposals during an exercise, then she’s obviously broken. Prude.
4. Create A Mess
It’s very hard to drop cable attachments when they’re attached to, well, a cable, but when you go to get another attachment, leave the first one lying around on the floor. You’re a busy guy. You have to make it home in time for Netflix. All those assholes who walked in after you love dealing playing scavenger hunts, where every item is “almost broken piece of metal” and the only locations are “near the feet of someone else already working out.” Unless your gym is so poor that all it can afford is a single bench, and bathroom mirror, and a dog that you can challenge in tug of war, there’s probably a place where you can set the ropes and bars. Ignore that place entirely. It’s always more fun to be kicking things in order to make room for your tricep pushdowns anyway.
5. Forget Your Stuff
In addition to leaving weights and attachments in everyone’s stumbling range, don’t forget to forget your water bottles and sweatshirts. It’ll keep people taking the appropriate time to rest between exercise when they find other people’s personal items and wonder if the equipment is still being used. Baffle everyone! Leave your bag right behind a bench and watch how many people ask anyone passing by “Hey, is this yours?” Make a game out of it. It’ll be fun for almost nobody.
6. Be A Lone Wolf
Don’t ask people for help, not even the people employed by the gym. They might have some semblance of an idea of how something works, but you can’t trust them to let you look awesome by yourself. Look at all the old people getting assistance from trainers. You’re not an old person, are you? No, you’re very spry and equally as inept when it comes to figuring out what the mess of pulleys and levers in front of you does. Try everything that looks like you could conceivably fit body parts and limbs into. Any combination of foot and arm movements will be suitable until you feel pain somewhere, and then you’ll know that you’re doing it right. The only way to gain knowledge in any subject is to fail until the world starts playing along.
Remember, if you get hurt working out, it’s never because you did were being stupid. You were working out. The human body just isn’t advanced enough for the pressure that you wanted to put it under. It’s the failing of an entire species, not you in particular. Your mangling will only be temporary.
7. Prove Your Intelligence
Everyone at the gym knows more about working out than anyone else at the gym, so dispense advice freely and regularly. Do you see someone doing a few too many/too few repetitions in an exercise plan that you know nothing about? Tell them to increase or lower the number, whatever you feel is most fitting at the time.
There are conspiracy theories about everything, even working out. In the age of the internet, you can find a thousand reasons why pull ups are great for your back, and two-thousand more for why they decrease your sperm count. For every argument in the favor of protein shakes, there will be at least one other person who tells you that the best diet they’ve ever tried for build muscle was a breakfast, lunch, and dinner of just cantaloupe and milk. They’ll swear by it.
Make your opinions heard and respected. Who knows? By the time you get done with your four-hour exercise/telling other people how to exercise session, you’ll have an entire legion of gym members who can’t get through a single crunch without wondering if they’re producing the right amount of testosterone. (Crunches create estrogen pockets in your hamstrings, I’ve heard!)
Stare. Whenever possible. Those TVs planted around the walls of the gym weren’t put there for entertainment value. They’re there to remind you constantly to thank our beautiful leader Sony for its help in not having to put up with paintings anymore. So you should stare at people, specifically the butt part of girls. Again, I don’t know much about dating, but if a girl catches you staring at her in the gym, SHE’LL pay for dinner. So just take about thirty minutes in every workout to stare at all the people around you that you could be banging, or definitely beating up, if you two got in a fight.
9. Stand Too Close To Others
If you see someone lifting free weights, look at their motion, and get just inside that proximity to do your own lifting. For example, imagine that someone that you don’t know, but want to be enemies with, is doing a deltoid raise. A deltoid raise requires the extension of both arms to the side. The only thing that would take up more space is if you added spinning and “Woosh!” tornado noises to it. When they have their arms raised, look at the spot where their forearm is parallel to the floor. Take a second, get some traction, and jump in that spot, closing the gap both between two bodies, and between love and hate. You don’t even have to be lifting to do it. Just ponder at the dumbbell rack. Wonder Should go for the 60 lb. or continue to bother people? Hmmm.
Force the other person to either bend their arm and nullify some of the effects of the exercise, or do that awkward “I’m right here, dude” dance, where they shuffle to the side to make room for your ass. Nothing benefits focus and determination like distraction and total loss of momentum.
10. Want To Talk About How Much The Music Sucks?
The music being played at the gym is never not going to suck. It might get better at some points, but for the most part, the Top 40 Medley is never going to stop. It’s the Top 40 because it’s the 40 most popular songs at the time. People choose to play it because, on average, it’s the music that everyone seems to want to listen to at the moment, despite how superior “indie rap” is to “that pop shit.” The people who work at the gym aren’t trying to please you specifically when they blare something during your workout. They don’t have the time, nor the reason, to create a playlist for everyone. That would be a severe waste of resources, and an even more severe waste of beats dropping.
So, if you care enough that the choice of music ruins your gym experience, don’t bother with buying headphone and an iPod. Complain about it. Tell everyone about how awful it is. Better yet, tell only hot girls about how awful it is. That can be the topic that leads to an eventual son! One man’s trash is another woman’s bother.