Wavell Starr column

“New Year, new me” – it’s New Year’s resolution time again! Soon the gyms will be ridiculously packed. Though the inconvenience of having to find a parking spot in an overcrowded lot and an empty locker will be tremendous, some of us gym regulars will be happy to have new comrades to share our love of fitness with. However, the gym has unwritten protocols and procedures that newbies should be made aware of to ensure everyone’s gym experience is pleasant. Here are some tips to ensure you avoid being “that guy”.

Firstly, when picking a locker to use in the change room, unless the change room is packed full and you can’t avoid it, do not pick one immediately next to someone else that is also changing at that particular moment. There are several lockers to use. Chose one that allows others space to change. No one likes to be crowded. It’s one thing if you finish your workout and have to open your locker that happens to be right beside someone that is changing – that’s excusable. If you arrive at the gym and consciously choose a locker right beside someone else changing then you’re just being a jerk. Don’t be a jerk.

Further, I am all for bringing a protein shake to keep in your locker for immediate consumption right after the workout session. This is a common practise that I endorse myself. What no one likes is when people bring a whole tub of protein powder in their oversized gym bags which they inevitably leave in high traffic areas taking up way more space than necessary. Instead, bring one serving of protein powder in your shaker and add water from the water fountain. There’s no need to bring the whole pail. Space is going to be a factor at this time of the year. Be courteous and bring a reasonably sized gym bag to respect the space limitations and don’t leave your gym bag laying around taking up space.

Dress for success and remember to wash your workout gear! So many times I have seen sharply dressed business men enter the locker room looking dapper and well groomed. Then they open their gym bag and the stench of a thousand dead animals over takes the room. You take the time to look and smell presentable all day every day at work, why would one wear the same gym clothes day in and day out? No, it’s not a fashion show but you are still representing yourself in public so be sure to put your best foot forward. If you already stink in the change room before you even head out into the gym area to start sweating you can be sure that people will notice and will want to avoid you like the plague. Don’t be the guy that reeks. No one likes the guy that reeks.

Often times, people will seek strength in numbers and will work out with a group of people. In high school, we used to go to the gym in groups of three or four and work out together. There are many benefits to doing so – peer support, having people to watch your form and spot you for safety, building camaraderie, etc. Again back to the space issue in the locker room; just because you work out in a group doesn’t mean you need to change in a group and all huddle in one area. For the love of God when you are finished changing you don’t need to wait for the rest of the group in the change room. Go wait outside the change room where there is ample space. If you’re working out in a pack, always be sure to keep the mood productive. Nothing will draw the ire of long time gym rats than a group of people standing around a piece of equipment (usually the bench press) talking about the latest episode of the Walking Dead.

Lastly, selfies are OK in the gym! The best way to monitor your progress is to take pictures. You will be able to see the results of your efforts and once you start seeing results, you will be more motivated to stay at it. Be mindful though, of taking selfies in the change room because, well there are naked people there. If you were towelling off and the guy in front of you was taking a mirror selfie you would not appreciate being part of the picture. Common sense can go a long way people. So there you have it – some unwritten rules to help you in your quest to build the new you. Good luck!

Keep up with the latest news from Wavell Starr on Twitter @wavellstarr and “like” his page on Facebook www.facebook.com/TheWavellStarrShow

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