Going to the gym right after New Year’s is an intimidating prospect. For long time gym-goers, it means dreading the flood of new comers who “clog” up equipment and leave the gym a messy pit. And for the new people, going to the gym for the first time can be like entering one of your eighth grade nightmares where you think everyone is laughing at you, especially when all the usual gym rats look mean because it’s super messy and busy.
So newbies, follow these general rules to make your gym a happy place, free of New Year’s mess and woes.
Clean your stank off the equipment.
Sweat is pretty gross. People don’t even like their own sweat. Nobody likes another person’s sweat, especially yours. Yes, you. So please wipe down anything your sweat has touched. There are wipes or towels at every gym.
Beginner Commandments of Lifting
- You will clean up your weights. What is this, kindergarten? Do you think mom is going to come to SPAC and pick up after you?
- No curls in the squat rack.
- You know what, no more bad squats in the squat rack either. Ass to the grass or legs to 90 degrees, anything less and you’re killing your gains.
- You will not clog up the area right in front of the free weight racks. Just take three steps back from the mirror. I promise your biceps will look just as big.
- Share weights when reasonable. If someone wants to work in, let them. When someone asks to borrow your dumbbells quickly while you’re resting, say, "Sure." Especially if it’s that jacked 40-year-old military dude – he’s pretty scary honestly.
- Get a spotter.
Marking territory and not working out
I once watched a disillusioned Kellogg student put her backpack on one of the nice ellipticals at Blom (you know, those two at the end of the row) and then go do crunches for twenty minutes before finally coming back. Don’t be like disillusioned Kellogg student.
When you mark a machine you want to use, and then don’t use it, it’s like if you went to Chipotle, stood for 15 minutes deciding what to order while telling everyone in line behind you they can’t order until you do.
Note: This isn’t directed at people who superset two lifts with 30 seconds of rest. You do you.
No one is judging you
Dear people looking to get in shape, no one thinks badly of you when you can barely bench 100 pounds. When you’re running laps or on the treadmill, those girls over in the corner laughing are laughing at jokes, not you.
Dudes, go to that yoga class, even if you’re one of the only few guys there. Ladies, the basement gym in Patten isn’t that creepy, you should make the trip (no but seriously it’s scary down here, it would be nice if someone else showed up).
Crunches won’t get you a six pack (or at least as fast as you want)
To have a six pack, you need to have muscular abs, and a body fat percentage of 10-12 percent for men and 14-15 percent for women. Removing body fat is way more important to revealing your inner Ryan Reynolds than abdominal muscle growth. Crunches do not burn many calories compared to cardio exercises, so they will not burn much fat. As resistance training is the best way to gain muscle mass, crunches won’t be able to make your abs bigger after several weeks as they get used to the resistance your bodyweight provides.
“But how do all those dancers and gymnasts have great abs, they do bodyweight stuff?” you ask. Because they’re doing crazy flips and stuff. Which is a better way to build abdominal muscle and burn a lot of calories than crunches.
- Want to gain muscle? Work out hard and then eat at a slight caloric increase from your daily expenditure. Want to lose fat? Work out hard and eat at a caloric deficit from your daily expenditure.
- There are no such thing as muscle toning workouts.
- Getting in shape is 80 percent what you eat, 20 percent how you work out.