How NOT to be a gym monster. By Estelle Low
Going to a public gym can be quite daunting, especially if it’s your first time. You’re new, expectant and… clueless. What to wear? How to behave? The last thing you want to do is to rile up fellow gym members with ignorant behaviour. After which, get ready for dirty looks and tough times finding a spot in any gym class.
As a regular gym goer, I make sure to abide by these 10 commandments.
Bring your own towel.
Not all gyms provide towels for you to sweat on. The considerate thing to do, of course, is to line any surface (except the floor) you’re lying on, so the next user doesn’t have to bathe in your sweat. Plus, this shields you from any leftover grime from previous users. Yuck. On the yoga or pilates mat, it improves your grip. Double win.
Be an early bird.
Unlike a party, you don’t show up on the dot. Gym classes run like clockwork — no point hoping that a class will start late just because of dastardly traffic or a thunderstorm. If you’re more than five minutes late, you might get turned away. It doesn’t help that the locker room is the busiest 10 minutes before class. Arrive in good time — 30 minutes is ideal — so you’ve time to put your stuff away, get changed and settle down. Of course, early birds get to chope their favourite mat or spot in the studio.
Dress the part.
Just like you don a blazer and heels for the important work meeting, you should be in the appropriate apparel for your workout. Which means you’ll need a pair of trainers — not running shoes — if you’re lifting weights. Going to a stretching class? Swop the airy shorts for stretchy pants. Don’t even think of wearing your everyday bra — your boobs aren’t gonna be singing. (Check out Shape‘s top picks for sports apparel and footwear in 2015.)
Know your space.
Like anywhere else in Singapore, land area is prime. So stick to your designated zone — whether it’s a 100cm-diameter circle or 180cm-by-60cm mat — and don’t even think of inching into your neighbour’s space. Even the skinny ones will be annoyed. Be gracious and adjust your position if your arms are swatting your neighbour’s. No attacking!
Do your own thing.
Stop comparing yourself with others, not even your friends — even if they’re the reason you’re there. You’ll be in for disappointment. The only person you should be comparing against is yourself, when you last exercised. Just keep those eyes on your mirror reflection, do your best and have fun!
It’s tough not to, but your ego’s at stake here. Especially when the pudgy lady next to you is more kick-ass at body combat than your well-trained self. The best strategy? Imagine everyone’s on equal footing or stronger than you… no matter how they look.
Seriously, no one (except maybe your partner) is interested to hear your heavy sighs or throaty moans during a gruelling workout. Save those for the bedroom.
Don’t exit early.
Imagine the distress you cause when you start packing up and strut out in the middle of savasana (corpse pose). Five minutes of rest may not seem significant to you, but you’d ruin the pinnacle of yoga for 50 others. Not to mention, give them a rude awakening when the door slams behind you.
It’s a good idea to keep yourself dry post-workout. Nobody likes to brush past clammy arms, yes, even when they’re sweaty themselves. Which brings us back to the first point (bring your own towel).
Don’t hog the shower.
There are only so many cubicles (remember, land area is prime?). Try taking long showers (i.e. 15 minutes or more) and you’d incur the wrath of those sweaty, dirty souls hovering outside. If you really must take your time, be a Give-way Glenda: Let others go first.