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Cardio Machine Etiquette

The past two days I have tried to be very disciplined in forcing myself to go to the gym.  Afterall, after the snowfall comes Spring; after Spring comes summer  — must prepare.  However, of those two gym days, I have gotten on the same cardio machine, by pure coincidence, while the same fellow gym goer jumped on the cardio machine to my right, at the end of the row.  How does that happen? 

Now if you can picture the set up of a typical gym, they usually line up about ten or twelve cardio machines side-by-side.  The bicycles are lined up next to each other, as are the treadmills, the ellipticals and then the Arc trainers.  This past Sunday, I decided to push myself to do 60 minutes on the arc trainer. (It’s only terrible when you first punch in the 60 for your time, but feels great when you see 600 for calories burned!)  However, about 3/4 through my workout, a fellow gym goer got on the Arc trainer to my right — happens all the time.  What disturbed me, was that he started leering around the gym.  I’m not saying he was leering at me necessarily.  He definitely was looking at all angles of the gym.  But the way he began rubber necking prodimently to his left (where I was!) made me think he was looking at me.  Some could call me paranoid, but it really  made my last 15 minutes of cardio even more unbearable and uncomfortable.

I let it go; went home; and the idea of that man left my mind simply because of the satisfaction I pumped out 60-minutes of cardio & 600 calories.  Until I went back yesterday.  It was a holiday — extremely crowded with new year’s resolutions and people with the day off.  But to my surprise, there happened to be two empty Arc trainers (sometimes unheard of).  As I walked over, the one had a sign on it stating, “out of use” and the other, empty.  “My lucky day,” I thought.  This time I really only had, at most, 45 minutes to do cardio today so I punched in and went on my merry way. 

About 18 minutes from the end, the Arc trainer to my right (the last of the row), happens to open up.  The same gym goer (that’s right, the same man!) jumps on the machine and starts his leering again!  WTF.  I’m not talking about the occassional, non-chalant glance around the gym to see if you know someone.  I’m not talking about someone catching his eye as they moved around the gym and I’m not talking about polite people watching.  Gym leering — I don’t know how else to describe it.

I don’t know where I learned cardio machine etiquette.  Maybe it is a figment of my imagination, but I just feel that if you can see someone on either side of you, out of the corner of your eye, then they can see you, too.  Just the same as if you were walking down the street in a crowd or sitting on a bus or in a meeting.  I was told growing up, “it’s not polite to stare.”

Don’t worry, I’ve saved the best part for last.  When my cardio neighbor gets sweaty (he did this both days) he takes the collar of his t-shirt and pulls it up over his head so he almost looks headless.  Why?  Well, that’s what I was trying to figure out the first time.  So when he did it again yesterday, I realized he pulls his shirt up to wipe the sweat off his forehead and his entire scalp.  Wouldn’t bringing a towel be beneficial here? 

I’ll keep you posted on how the gym goes today.  Hopefully my fellow work out man

Courtesy of Paula Bronstein, Getty Images.

 is busy at work or shoveling his driveway.

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