No Smiling, Grinning or Laughing

As a society, we do an excellent job making life easier for those with the greatest need. Handicapped individuals get parking spaces closest to the building. The elderly find reserved seating nearest the subway door. And on any sinking ship, it’s women and children into the lifeboats first.

For whatever reason, civilization breaks down at the gym. The people occupying the equipment and disrupting my workout certainly do not have the greatest need, or at least the greatest desire.

What’s particularly atrocious is the way some people treat the arrival of equipment, like my gym’s new ab machine. I’m getting ready to hit my muscles from a new angle, to add variety to my workout. Yet I find myself fidgeting in place while two women climb all over the machine and giggle like it’s a fresh addition to the playground.

In all kinds of public places, people give up their seats to those more deserving. So here’s my need: to explode my stress, to quiet the noise, to train like a champion today.

Forget the usual gym rules about re-racking weights or proper attire. The number one rule should be: no smiling, grinning or laughing. If you’re engaged in any of those activities, you’re going to the back of the line.

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  1. For me, I don’t object to smiling, cleavage and
    other minor distractions on the sidelines. What’s more, I believe I
    am in the majority.

  2. David,

    There’s a certain baseline of etiquette that everyone should adhere to, regardless of your level of seriousness. I think it’s not unreasonable for any member to assume (expect?) that others are there to maximize their time, to work hard toward fitness goals. If your motivation to go to the gym is to share some laughs, catch up with friends, and generally goof off, you should go to the BAR. This kind of behavior is inappropriate in a gym, as it would be in place like a public library,

  3. I would have to agree with you, Muscleman. I like to get in the gym, get my workout done, and get out. Even if I workout with a partner, we keep the conversation to a minimum.

  4. I was at my gym running on the treadmill. My buddy Nate told me to meet him by the cardio machines one day. Our gym has cardio equip on the top and bottom levels and since I was early I picked the lower concourse of machines. As the idiot I tend to be, I was busy looking all over for my buddy not paying attention to the fact I was on a treadmill. Low and behold my left foot hit the machine and not the tread and I fell nearly on my head and off the machine. Not a single crack of smile or laugh or giggle from anyone – AND not a single inquiry if I was okay or injured. All those people around me – none of them winked from their “zone” yet I was laughing at my own display of silliness. I don’t know about etiquette in the gym – why its different from the work place or even out on the streets of Portland. All I know is all those goobers in that gym can have it. I quit that membership and found a better solution. And yes, I can smile or wink or laugh in my own gym and still get a great, effective workout.

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