Staying naked way longer than necessary
Hey, if you forget your towel in your locker and have to walk naked from one side of the locker room to the other before wrapping up, fine. But if you strip down as soon as you walk through those doors, then peacock your way from bench to bench as you chat with friends, clip your toenails (also gross), and practice your physique poses in the mirrors, you need to take a serious look at your personal motives. What, exactly, are you trying to prove, and is the gym locker room really the place to do it? I think not.
Getting busy in the hot tub or pool
The gym’s wet areas are not your private foreplay spots. And just because the bubbles are on in the hot tub doesn’t mean you can get away with hand stuff. Gross. What is wrong with you?
Blasting your own music
Put on some freakin’ headphones! I don’t know what world you live in that you think it’s acceptable to force everyone around you to listen to your playlist, but it’s not OK. And if you have headphones, but blast them so loud that you might as well be carrying around a boombox, ratchet the volume back a few notches. If for no other reason than to avoid making your entire family yell into your "good ear" by the time you turn 50.
Hoarding and abandoning towels
If you’re lucky enough to work out at a facility that provides towel service, then 1) understand there’s an actual human being responsible for washing and folding all those towels, so don’t make their job harder by taking more towels than you actually need, and 2) don’t leave your towels behind you like a bat dropping guano, little sweaty towel turds waiting for someone else (not you!) to actually pick them up and deposit them in the hamper. Who do you think you are that you can leave that job to someone else?
Using the sauna to "warm up"
Aside from the fact that using the sauna for any form of exercise is just a patently bad idea -- heat-related illness is real, folks -- using it so you can get that “sweaty look” before your normal workout is just weird. Know what else will give you that “sweaty look”? Your actual workout. And you’re less likely to suffer dehydration and performance deficits to boot.
Using the showers like they’re your own
No mildly empathetic adult spends 30 minutes in the gym shower, especially when other people are waiting. Not only is it disrespectful to everyone else who pays membership dues, but what the hell are you doing in there? If you can’t lather, rinse, repeat in less than 10 minutes (and I’m being generous here), then you probably shouldn’t be showering at the gym at all.
Oh, and if you shave your pubes in the gym shower, then leave them there? There are simply no words to describe what a horrible, horrible human being you are.
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Laura Williams is an exercise physiologist and fitness writer who wishes she could give seminars on gym etiquette, but knows no one would sign up. Commiserate with her on Twitter: @girlsgonesporty.