Coping With Bad Behavior at the Gym
The etiquette of dealing with space invaders, circuit breakers, and other gym scourges.
Problem: You finally make it to yoga class, but just as it begins, a latecomer places his mat inches from yours. Now you can’t salute the sun without smacking your neighbor’s back.
Solution: Confront, but in a nice way. “Always begin your approach with the thought that most people aren’t rude on purpose,” says Liz Neporent, an exercise physiologist and a coauthor of The Fat-Free Truth ($21, amazon.com). “They’re simply wrapped up in their own little worlds.” You could say something like “Excuse me, but I’m going to need a little extra room here,” suggests Dee Poquette, a personal trainer in Danbury, Connecticut. If politeness fails, move to another spot or take the matter to a higher authority. Chances are the gym or studio may be overselling classes.
Problem: You’re thoroughly engrossed in the latest issue of Real Simple, cycling toward your eight-mile goal, when a woman on the machine behind you answers her cell phone and proceeds to discuss her dinner plans at full volume.
Solution: Say something, but keep your tone pleasant and nonaccusatory. You can say, “Excuse me, but your conversation is distracting―would you mind talking off the gym floor?” If you don’t want to get directly involved, ask an employee to intervene. “The problem," says John McCarthy, a former executive director of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, “is that many clubs don’t ban cell phones.” If yours doesn’t, try moving to another part of the gym or wearing headphones.