“My New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, exercise more, and be healthier in the coming year!”
It’s that time of year again. Gyms across the nation are full of fitness rookies and out-of-shape young professionals hoping to chisel inches off their waistlines and expel toxins from their bloodstreams. Besides lunchtime, my every-other-day trek to the gym is what I look forward to most in my weekly routine. To call me a “regular” would be technically true, but in no way do I consider myself a hardcore gym rat. After I retired from organized sports, I took a more “average Joe” approach to working out, happily replacing the GloboGym mentality that I championed throughout high school and most of college. In all honestly, I’m just trying to burn more calories than I take in drinking. I also wish my arms were as large as J.J. Watt’s.
I have always had a “come as you are” approach to working out. As long as you put in the effort and don’t act like a douche, you have my respect for stepping outside your comfort zone and working on yourself. However, I’ve noticed the same embarrassing workout fouls being committed by people our age all over the place. I encourage everyone to exercise as much as possible, but here are some reminders for everyone who purchased a new gym membership in 2015.
1. Don’t forget your towel. Ass sweat is real, and there is a fine line between moisture-wicking fabrics and full-on swamp ass. Please be self-aware and wipe down all equipment after you have dripped sweat on it. That’s how people get Ebola.
2. Your clothes (guys only). How bad do you want to be here if you spent more time thinking about your outfit than what exercises you’re going to knock out today? Sorry for the double standard, but this one is just specific to guys. Girls may continue to wear whatever they like; I’ve begun to notice that a majority of gym-going ladies match their sports bras to their shoes, which looks adorable.
3. Hitting on girls. “It should be like a church in here” – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pumping Iron. While I support separation of religion and weights, Arnold has a point. Girls go to the gym to maintain their physique just like guys do. They sweat, exert themselves, and smell bad just like guys do. They don’t want to be hit on, trust me. Do NOT, under any circumstance, try to spit game on some poor girl during a workout. Unless a girl starts a conversation with you, don’t even think about it.
4. Blatantly checking out girls. I’m guilty, too, but I earnestly try not to objectify my fellow gym patrons, regardless of gender. I do admit that it’s hard not to sneak a peek. Between Lululemon, yoga pants, Norts, and tank tops, sometimes even the most dedicated gym rats can get distracted. If you really feel the need to clandestinely check out a fellow gym patron, use the optical angles provided by the free weight mirrors. Cut us some slack, ladies, you know we wouldn’t look if we could.
5. Monopolizing more than two pieces of equipment. A Men’s Fitness subscription for Christmas does not give you the right to set up your own little high octane circuit or whatever you read about in last month’s issue. Two machines within close proximity, completed right after one another is allowed: that’s called a super set. Anything else is inconsiderate. If you really want to knock out some crazy next-level circuit workout, show up at 6 a.m. when the gym is empty.
6. Running to and from sets. Got to get that heart rate up, right? Not in this house. If you are still trying some obnoxious, no-rest triceps circuit that requires skirting to and from each exercise like a Teletubby, you run the risk of not noticing your surroundings and colliding into a large man like me, which will probably inadvertently send you flying. Just please watch where you’re going.
7. Grunting. Chill out, dude. You’re not training for varsity anymore. None of us are. Unless you’re legit maxing out or have been busting your ass during the entirety of your workout, I don’t want to hear it. I really don’t want to hear it, regardless. Go run a Tough Mudder or something.
8. Not warming up or cooling down. We’re not twenty-two anymore, and our bodies are actually experiencing wear and tear. As humbling as that feeling is right now, it will get exponentially worse as we get older. Your risk of injury goes up if you don’t warm up before a workout. If you get injured, you can’t work out, and if you can’t work out, it will be harder to stay attractive.
9. Using dumbbells too close to the rack. Don’t make people step around you like a moron with heavy weights in their hands; leave some room so that they can put their weights back safely.
10. Bad form. I’m not a strength coach, but at this point in your adult life, you should know the proper techniques for lifting weights. Just watch in-shape people work out; they probably know what they’re doing.
11. Correcting other people’s form. Unless you have some sort of certification, I don’t give a rat’s ass what your opinion is on my workout. Just don’t forget cardio. A stationary bike and a Hulu Plus subscription is a winning combination.
12. Not knowing how to squat correctly. I’m throwing this one in as a freebie. It really is a shame, because squatting is pretty much the fastest way to improve your ass. Drop the weight, eyes to the sky, and go down with the weight all the way until your hamstrings touch your calves. That’s how you squat.
13. Not sticking with it. It only takes a month to see results, and maybe even less if you’re actually trying. Do whatever it takes to make your resolution last. My personal recommendations are to find a workout partner, acquire a girlfriend, or to start asking out girls way out of your league. Nothing like a half-dozen embarrassing rejections from really hot chicks to keep you working out, right?.
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