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Beware the gym commando

This is a continuation of last week’s column on gym etiquette.

Points covered last week included sharing, waiting in line and proper use of equipment. Sounds a bit like what we learned in kindergarten, doesn’t it?

Equally important is to thoroughly wipe down all equipment with a workout towel after you have finished each exercise. We provide wash cloths and sanitizer at the recreation center so our members can wipe away sweat that may have accumulated on the equipment while they were using it. It is the courteous thing to do and the next user will be very appreciative as well.

The gym can be a breeding ground for germs; this is especially true during the height of the cold and flu season. Therefore, it is very important to use good sense. Don’t come out into public venues if you suspect you are contagious. Even if you feel healthy, clean up after yourself, not only on the exercise floor, but in the locker rooms as well. Dispose of your trash in a proper waste receptacle. The bottom line here is . . . don’t be a slob! ‘Nuf said.

Another important thing to consider is what classes may be in session while you are training. It is important to conduct yourself in a manner that will not be disruptive or interfere with any class or training sessions that may be going on at the same time. In other words, it probably wouldn’t be too appropriate to grunt and groan like an ape as you hoist those heavy weights if there happens to be a yoga or chi qong class in progress. It also wouldn’t be such a good idea to ask a trainer to spot you on the bench press if he or she happens to be in the middle of training a client. I could continue to list examples all day long, but I think you probably get the idea. (No sense in beating a dead horse here ... ya’ know?)

Next, don’t be a gym commando — you know, the kind of weight lifter who exercises dangerously and spreads poor techniques to other members? Just for grins, here’s a checklist to determine if there is a commando in your midst. (When a statement applies to the member, put a check next to it. Then tally your results.)

• The member is wearing a bandana on his head with the word “Huge” written on it.

• The member is sporting the thickest weight belt possible — and the belt also has the word “Huge” written on it.

• The member managed to squeeze himself into a pair of skintight bike shorts, so nothing is left to the imagination (and I mean nothing).

• The member looks like he got into a fight with a box of chalk — and lost. The gym commandos put chalk on their shoulders for squats, their thighs for deadlifts, and I think their faces to dry up some pimples. I may be wrong in stating the latter.

If you checked one, then chances are the member isn’t a gym commando. But he does have poor taste.

Two checks indicate a potential commando. Keep an eye on him. If he begins yelling while lifting, it’s time to remind him of proper gym etiquette.

Three checks: we have a commando wanna-be on our hands. However, it’s not too late. We could encourage him to work with a personal trainer, and make sure he isn’t corrupting other members with his “expert” advice.

If you checked all four, then, sadly, our recreation center has been invaded. I should probably encourage the member to join another gym.

In conclusion, take pride in your training and in the facility you train at. Be courteous and respectful of everyone around you. This includes other members, as well as the staff. Behave in your recreation center as you would behave in your friend’s or neighbor’s home.

And, of course, train hard!