Coping With Bad Behavior at the Gym
Problem: You want to get through your laps at a rapid pace, but the person in your lane speeds up or drifts toward the center every
time you try to pass.
Solution: A faster swimmer should tap a slower one on the foot―the signal that he’d like to pass. The general rule is that when there’s a crowd, you share a lane with others who swim at about the same speed, staying on the right side of the lane (also known as circling counterclockwise). If tapping on the swimmer’s foot doesn’t work, wait at the end of a lane and explain that you might need to pass. Slow swimmers usually end up in the wrong lane because they don’t know any better or they overestimate their speed. Or it may be that when they first got into the pool, they were in the correct lane, but that changed when more people arrived. "If the swimmer still doesn’t give way, ask a third party, such as the lifeguard, to intervene," says Phillip Whitten, author of The Complete Book of Swimming.
Problem: You appreciate that your fellow members work hard, but you don’t appreciate the perspiration they leave behind.
Solution: Ask the person to wipe up. Neporent suggests a simple “Excuse me, but would you mind wiping off the bench press before you move on to the chest press?” Poquette takes a more aggressive approach: “I have at times taken the spray bottle and a towel to the member and said, ‘Your mom is not here to clean up after you―please clean up for your fellow member.’ Most of the time they get the hint.” If, on the other hand, the problem is that someone is spraying you with sweat, get help or move to another spot. “Someone working out that hard, with his adrenaline running, does not want to be interrupted,” says Brenda Abdilla, president of Denver-based Management Momentum, a consultancy for the health-club industry. “All the manager has to do is make eye contact, smile, and hand him a towel. If you do it, that’s a confrontation.”
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So maybe you can’t change your health overnight. But you can get a head start.