There are some unwritten rules of fitness clubs. Here are just a few examples of how they are broken and can ruin someone's workout and maybe even her day:
Here is my morning workout plan:
warm up with 10 minutes of cardio, do a total HIIT circuit (15 box jumps, 15 sumo deadlifts with upright row, 15 burpees, 15 BOSU squat hops, and 15 wall shots) after that I would hit chest and triceps hard, then finish it off with a relaxing 45minute cardio session--either run or stair mill.
Here is what happened:
So, I warmed up for ten minutes (jogged) got my equipment set up for my circuit...and then we had an unwritten rule offender...
RULE #1. If someone is wearing BOTH earphones and not making eye contact he/she does NOT want to be engaged in conversation.
"Hey! You're a trainer here, right? Can I ask you a couple questions?"
me: "I don't want to be rude but I only have a short period of time to get this workout in so.."
"Oh no this will take a second! When I walk up the stairs, after I have been using the elliptical machine, it sort of feels like a weird twingey-spazz thing by my knee. Could you show me some stretches for that?"
This is also in direct violation of:
Rule #2. Trainers are people too. When they are off the clock, they are OFF THE CLOCK. Treat them as you would any other member, afterall I am paying for childcare for the ten minutes you just wasted.
So ten full minutes later, I have successfully lost all warmth from my warm up and need to start over. "No biggie...don't let it stress you out" I tell myself. I'll get it done, keep it positive!!
After warm up number 2 I get into my circuit, get a GREAT burn and forget all about that rule breaker!!
On to chest and triceps:
I started with chest fly, 5 sets of 12, ten seconds of rest between each set
On to decline bench press (10 reps) supersetted with plyo push ups (25).
unwritten rule offender once again:
Rule #3. Never, EVER, interrupt someone who is in the middle of a set. Ever. Even if the place is on fire. Wait until his/her rest period to tell them the place is being evacuated.
"Hey Anne, are you teaching abs tonight?"
me: [grunting, and puffing as I struggle to finish some plyo push ups] "yup!"
"Oh I can't make it! So bummed! I love your class. You know when we do the plank series, I get some..."
*violation of rule # 1 and #2!!! I am wearing headphones, I am not on the clock! I was able to continue with my workout, it is just not as effective when you have someone trying to chat with you...I was very distracted. Distracted enough to lose some form on my bench press and hurt my left shoulder a bit. Awesome.
Joint pain is never OK and if a joint is complaining you need to back off. So that was the end of that superset. Uh...SuperSUCKS!
Triceps need a good tri-kicking. They have an excellent blood supply so they recover fast and can take a good beating. They actually need a good beating if you really want to tighten up your "Hello Hellen's!!!" (picture an older lady waving "hello" to Hellen...yeah...tighten that up) I like to do a tricep circuit that would probably be against the Geneva convention as cruel and unusual punishment for prisoners of war...but hey, we'll look great in sleeveless tops! Yay!!
Ok, ready? Good. Tricep dips (20 of em) no rest go right into tricep rope push downs (15), no rest go right into tricep supine extensions 15, and then finish it off with 15 tricep push ups...no REAL tricep push ups. Now you get to rest...for 15 seconds and then go through it two more times!!
But that's not how I did it. I crushed my dips, killed my push downs, and began my supine extensions when I was rudely interrupted by the worst kind of unwritten rule breaker:
Rule #4. If a woman is not wearing make up, does not have her hair done, and is pushing her workouts so hard that she is sounding like a woman who is in labor then she is NOT at the gym looking for a date. She is there to workout...leave her alone. *FREE TIP* you can also look at a woman's left hand--if she has a wedding band then she is also not looking for a date.
So after politely getting rid of the unwritten rule breaker I finish that circuit...rest fifteen seconds and start my second circuit--dips are tough but I am tougher!! On the rope push downs I feel so good, getting a great burn and..what--is someone tapping my shoulder? Ok, this is not only in direct violation of Rule #1 and #3 this woman actually broke a rule that I think is written somewhere.
"How much do you weigh?"
me: "what?" headphones come off (and maybe a record skips somewhere...and the earth stops rotating for a moment)
"how much do you weigh?"
"yeah, that's exactly what I would have guessed. You're a little bit shorter than I am, and you weigh fifteen pounds more than I do...but that's because muscle is so heavy and you're all muscle. I knew you were heavier than me."
So on to cardio. I need a long relaxing run to drown out all the craziness...play my "relaxing run" playlist and hit the track. Only to have a man who takes my spinning class run next to me and violate Rule #1
"Hey Anne, how did your stress fracture heal?"
This seemingly benign question led to him lecturing me(for two miles of my run) on how I can improve my running form and performance. That brings us to:
Rule #5: Do not give unsolicited advice.
I was told I need to take 180 strides per minute. I was told I need to drop a few pounds to decrease the stress on my joints. I was told to back off the stretching because my flexibility was making my stride way too long.
And all of this brings me back to a lesson I try to teach my own kids: You can't control other people, you can only control your actions and reactions to them. So I need to maneuver the gym and all it's rule breakers in an assertive, but polite way so that I don't give these people room to stomp all over my workout!!