1. Stretch In The Squat Rack. I realize that this apparatus is incredibly tempting to people who want to put their foot up on something and try to pry their calcified groins open, but for God’s sake, people, it’s a rack designed to withstand the weight of a quarter-ton (or more) of iron, in a way that allows people to pick it up and put it down safely. This is like using a carbon-steel kitchen knife to cut carpet. Find someplace else to air your testicles.
2. Mommie Talk On The Cardio Equipment. Yes, I know that twenty or thirty minutes on the cycle or the treadmill are dull, though they’ll be more exciting if you crank up the resistance a little. But please spare us all the top-volume gabfest about what little Mortimer and Iodine are doing at school, the Scouts, or the soccer league.
3. Hide The Shoe. I mean, the dumbbell. There is a rack, there are dumbbells that go on the rack, that is where people look for them; please don’t take all the small ones, which I use for kata punching before doing some serious lifting, and squirrel them in the circuit workout room for reasons known only to you and your God. I am sick of cleaning up after you.
4. Play “Big Dog.” If your idea of a set of squats involves holding TWO WHOLE FIVE POUNDERS at hip level and going up and down at a pace that doesn’t even make you open your mouth to exhale, you belong in the Zen studio up the street, nothing against Zen, you just don’t need to be cluttering up the free weight room.
5. Camp On The Equipment. If you really want to craze me, pick up your newspaper or Oprah Pick Of The Week as soon as you finish your set and browse through it till you are ready to start another one.
6. Play Hospital. Look, sweetheart: it’s a gym. People sweat in here, breathe in here, sneeze in here. I don’t blame anyone who wants to use those little spray bottles and paper towels the management provides to police up visible sweat smears, Brylcreem or whatever from the Naugahyde but if half your workout is spent sponging up every imagined haze of body fluids (while other members wait for the equipment), you need a therapist. In a quarter century frequenting places far grungier than this I have never contracted anything, not even athlete’s foot.
7. Carry Your Purse. God made combination locks for a reason.