Gym étiquette question (i.e. am I just being an insensitive idiot?)

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  • stealthq
    stealthq Posts: 4,298 Member
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    Lots of people are annoyed when someone takes the equipment right next to them when there are plenty of others available. I am - I like a lot of personal space. That's not the other person's fault.

    I wouldn't say anything, though. The other person has the right to use any piece of equipment they want. If it bothers me that much, and it never has, I can move just as easily.
  • JoRocka
    JoRocka Posts: 17,525 Member
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    JoRocka wrote: »
    I admit- I get aggregated when someone does this. I fart when I'm running. Seriously- like not a little- but a lot.
    And sometimes people smell- it's like WHY DID YOU TAKE THE STALL NEXT TO MINE IN THE BATHROOM WHEN THEY ARE ALL AVAILABLE.

    It is undeniably annoying when someone gets on the machine RIGHT next to you.

    But you explained yourself- and that was adequate- I would have absolutely understood that.

    so glad I'm not the only one who fart's while they run :)

    girl please... something about benching- inverted leg presses and running just gets me all gassy.

    Stairmaster? not so much. Squatting- about 50/50. But running- nope- sure fire thing.
  • ndj1979
    ndj1979 Posts: 29,136 Member
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    besaro wrote: »
    idk, i read a half a dozen threads a week here on MFP about "things that annoy you at the gym" and what you did actually shows up quite often. I never use the treadmills so dont know how annoying this is, but I can tell you when I am at a theater and someone(s) sit right behind me or right near me when there is an entire theater available it does annoy the ef out of me. Sometimes your preferences have to take a backseat to accommodate others. Put the shoe on the other foot.

    so even if the treadmill is empty accommodate the grumpy old lady? Even though there is no way to know that she is having a bad morning unless you can read minds....

    that is just ridiculous..

    Open station = free to use
  • SuzySunshine99
    SuzySunshine99 Posts: 2,987 Member
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    If all the treadmills were exactly the same, I would be a little annoyed and creeped out if someone picked the one right next to me when many more are available. But, since in your case, it was clearly a different type of treadmill, I would assume there was a good reason for you choosing it. You did nothing impolite.
  • dbanks80
    dbanks80 Posts: 3,685 Member
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    I have a favorite treadmill as well. I dont give two F. if someone is next to my treadmill. I get on it and do my thing. You paid for your membership like everyone else you have a right to use whatever machine you want. I put my headphones on and get it in. If they don't like it move somewhere else. Some have done just that. I just say cool I have the area to myself now!!! LOL!
  • AliceDark
    AliceDark Posts: 3,886 Member
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    I probably would've been annoyed if I were the other woman, because I have a bigger-than-average personal space bubble and I would've wondered why you had to take the machine right next to me. However...muttering under your breath about someone is really passive-aggressive and rude, so she took a slightly awkward situation and tried to make it less civil. I think you handled it perfectly.
  • jenilla1
    jenilla1 Posts: 11,118 Member
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    I'd never say anything, since obviously I don't own the treadmills on either side of me, but it IS annoying when there is tons of room and someone gets right up next to you when they don't have to. Like the person who gave the example of movie theater seats - the whole theater is empty and this dude wearing a cowboy hat sits right in front of you (Yes this happened to me once. I didn't say anything, though. I just moved.)

    I always purposely choose an out of the way space for myself. Most people being next to me don't bother me too badly. The ones soaked in perfume, the smokers who reek like they just came back from their smoke break, the loud phone talkers, those with sweat flying into my space, and the people who literally pound the machine to death with their hard strides get to me, though.

    You have a legit reason for wanting your machine, but other people don't know that. What she said to you was way over the top and really not cool. I'd just be annoyed but not show it.
  • Muscle_for_Fitness
    Muscle_for_Fitness Posts: 2,198 Member
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    It probably would have been slightly annoying to me without knowing the reasoning but nothing worth mentioning.
  • Azdak
    Azdak Posts: 8,281 Member
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    ko4q wrote: »
    Ok, this happened to me this past weekend and I am extremely curious to hear the opinions of others on this matter. On Saturday, I went to my gym (which I love) for a run. I would normally be outside, but I got a late start and it was rising 90F by mid-morning, so the treadmill it was. Got to the cardio floor and spotted my "favorite" treadmill. This piece of equipment is one of the older treadmill varieties of which my gym has 3 remaining. I like this machine for a couple of reasons: the TV screen sits higher than some of the newer versions that are available so I feel like I am running with my eyes forward instead of looking down (which feels very unnatural to me and kind of hurts my neck/back), second, it is still manually operated by pushing buttons for incline/speed/channel changes. The new ones are touch screen and I have a terrible time trying to adjust anything on them without stopping. Finally, my old treadmill times out after 1 hour (instead of 30 mins) like all the other one. When people are waiting, I would obviously get off after 30 mins, but when it is quiet (like it was on Saturday), its nice not having to reset it and just run through for my hour of power. Back to Saturday AM--hopped on my treadmill and was about to fire her up, it just so happened that this machine was next to the only other one (of about 10 in a row) in use. The older lady next to me was walking with headphones on, watching an iPad. And then I heard "The Sigh." Any parent with kids old enough to talk will know all about "The Sigh," which almost always precedes the beginning of some sort of tantrum/argument. I was not disappointed. The lady started muttering and gesticulating "Typical, soooo typical, all these other empty machines, and you MUST pick the one right next to me. Whats wrong with you?"

    So I told her as politely as I could (kill her with kindness, right?) that the other machines hurt my neck and back and I have a difficult time running on them. Apologies for crowding her, wasn't my intention, etc. She immediately backed down, said she was having a bad morning (you think?!).

    I have a limited amount of time to get into the gym and get my workout done. When I am there, I could not care less what other people are doing as long as they wipe their equipment down. I don't care if they are next to me, I don't care if they are far away. But this is me. It would never have occurred to me to use another machine (one that I liked less) just because it was next to one in use. I feel like a pretty competent gym-goer, but I'm curious as to whether I have unknowingly crossed some unwritten line about equipment spacing. Thanks in advance, this has been irritating me for the last few days!

    In general, people tend to be a little askance when someone grabs a piece right next to them when there are other machines a farther distance away (esp true if a guy goes next to a female already working out). The same is true in other social settings--e.g. a movie theater.

    In this case, however, you have specific reasons for a specific machine. So you are fully justified in selecting that particular machine under any circumstances. The average person would not know that however, and so there might be a small conflict.

    This is one of those situations where, technically, you are in the right and do not have to explain or apologize. However, it's also one where there is a higher chance one might be inadvertently rub someone the wrong way.

    (OTOH, the other person could also take the larger view and consider that you are not acting that way to be a jerk but might have a specific reason).

    So, it's up to both of you to decide that, even if you are not obligated to do so, someone wants to be proactive/take the high road, etc, and explain up front why you are taking the machine. That would definitely be going above and beyond the "call of duty". I choose specific machines in my gym for the same reason--out of 10 cross trainers, only two have an upgraded software that gives a much more accurate calorie count and I really like to have consistent performance data to track. Sometimes the same situation will occur--some days, I'll have the angel on my shoulder and go out of my way to preempt any discomfort, some days I'm more withdrawn and just do my business.

    I don't think you are wrong either way.
  • Azdak
    Azdak Posts: 8,281 Member
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    stealthq wrote: »
    Lots of people are annoyed when someone takes the equipment right next to them when there are plenty of others available. I am - I like a lot of personal space. That's not the other person's fault.

    I wouldn't say anything, though. The other person has the right to use any piece of equipment they want. If it bothers me that much, and it never has, I can move just as easily.

    I have had that happen to me as well. I'm pretty fastidious when I go to public gyms--always clean clothes, always shower right before no matter if I already showered that day or not, use (muted scent) deoderant. So body odor not an issue.

    But I do sweat a pretty good amount (not spraying all over the place, but a good drip), put out a lot of heat, and work out pretty hard (although not that noisy). On more than one occasion, I've had a more sedate exerciser next to me stop and move to another part of the gym. I never like to interrupt someone's workout, but c'est la vie.

  • deannalfisher
    deannalfisher Posts: 5,600 Member
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    JoRocka wrote: »
    I admit- I get aggregated when someone does this. I fart when I'm running. Seriously- like not a little- but a lot.
    And sometimes people smell- it's like WHY DID YOU TAKE THE STALL NEXT TO MINE IN THE BATHROOM WHEN THEY ARE ALL AVAILABLE.

    It is undeniably annoying when someone gets on the machine RIGHT next to you.

    But you explained yourself- and that was adequate- I would have absolutely understood that.

    so glad I'm not the only one who fart's while they run :)

    I do this too! It's hard to avoid, which is why I give ample space (if available) in a gym setting. Less about other gym-goers, and more about saving my own dignity.
    I used to do competitive equestrian riding when I was younger and have always likened it to a horse doing the same thing when trotting around an arena. Which is a riot, because I call myself a Clydesdale. :lol:

    lol! yeah - I feel bad (at times) for the poor schmuck who gets stuck next to me on a treadmill if I'm having a bad day
  • peleroja
    peleroja Posts: 3,979 Member
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    This is my biggest gym pet peeve and one of many reasons I bought my own...I used to work out at a gym that had like twenty IDENTICAL treadmills. Same make, same model, same age, completely indistinguishable, plus they were all in a line against second-floor windows with identical views of the street below and with an identical row of identical ellipticals behind them.

    AND YET. I would be there in the morning before work with like two other people and someone would take the one right next to me every time. Like every time. No matter which one I used (and I used a different one at random every morning since there were so many open.) I don't know if it was just a "go next to someone so you can see how fast they're going" competitive thing, or a "weird person wants to watch me bounce around" thing, or just a "completely oblivious to your surroundings" thing, but it was baffling.

    Now I have my own treadmill and no gym membership, but I still cannot fathom WHY that happened at my gym. I get it if there are differences between them in make/model, age, location, whatever, but in the case of truly identical machines it just seems like you're going out of your way to annoy me.
  • deluxmary2000
    deluxmary2000 Posts: 981 Member
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    Yeah, this is also a huge pet peeve of mine, so I can kind of understand her annoyance. But at the end of the day, you have the right to use whichever machine you like.
  • danigirl1011
    danigirl1011 Posts: 314 Member
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    Hmmm...well this is tricky. Since i read your story and view point first, obviously i get what you are saying and can see why you did what you did. That said, i do agree with her and cannot stand when their is 10 empty machines and someone comes literally right next to me. I have a terrible medical condition that makes me very motion sick all the time and when i am on a treadmill and someone gets on and runs right next to me not in the same rhythm it makes me more sick than my own movement. Obviously that's not your problem and so on. But, with that in mind, other people's scents and smells make already being nauseous even worse. And it's never some normal person who gets on and just goes or doensn't smell. It's always some guy who smells like old spice and wants to hold on to the machine the whole time or some dumbo who wants to start and stop and start and stop or something else annoying. Going on a treadmill with other ones empty is just like when you are in a bathroom stall and there are 7 others open and you are in the first one and someone comes into the one RIGHT NEXT TO YOU and starts stinking up the joint before you can get done. It's not that they can't. They're allowed to sure. But, why? lol. I do get your point though and i would not want to hassle with the other machines and the ones with stuff where you have to look down hurt my back too. I do see why you did it, but i also see why she got annoyed. Probably not much help ;) But, i am sure you will use the ones you want whenever and if someone else does the same thing i would politely explain again. It's great reasoning you have!
  • H_Ock12
    H_Ock12 Posts: 1,152 Member
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    I have anxiety, smell issues with other people's bodies, and am easily claustrophobic...for these reasons it bothers be enough to move myself when someone gets on a machine too close to the one I'm using. I would never dream of saying something to the other person tho....it's my issue, not theirs.
  • Lynnara
    Lynnara Posts: 152 Member
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    ko4q wrote: »
    Ok, this happened to me this past weekend and I am extremely curious to hear the opinions of others on this matter. On Saturday, I went to my gym (which I love) for a run. I would normally be outside, but I got a late start and it was rising 90F by mid-morning, so the treadmill it was. Got to the cardio floor and spotted my "favorite" treadmill. This piece of equipment is one of the older treadmill varieties of which my gym has 3 remaining. I like this machine for a couple of reasons: the TV screen sits higher than some of the newer versions that are available so I feel like I am running with my eyes forward instead of looking down (which feels very unnatural to me and kind of hurts my neck/back), second, it is still manually operated by pushing buttons for incline/speed/channel changes. The new ones are touch screen and I have a terrible time trying to adjust anything on them without stopping. Finally, my old treadmill times out after 1 hour (instead of 30 mins) like all the other one. When people are waiting, I would obviously get off after 30 mins, but when it is quiet (like it was on Saturday), its nice not having to reset it and just run through for my hour of power. Back to Saturday AM--hopped on my treadmill and was about to fire her up, it just so happened that this machine was next to the only other one (of about 10 in a row) in use. The older lady next to me was walking with headphones on, watching an iPad. And then I heard "The Sigh." Any parent with kids old enough to talk will know all about "The Sigh," which almost always precedes the beginning of some sort of tantrum/argument. I was not disappointed. The lady started muttering and gesticulating "Typical, soooo typical, all these other empty machines, and you MUST pick the one right next to me. Whats wrong with you?"

    So I told her as politely as I could (kill her with kindness, right?) that the other machines hurt my neck and back and I have a difficult time running on them. Apologies for crowding her, wasn't my intention, etc. She immediately backed down, said she was having a bad morning (you think?!).

    I have a limited amount of time to get into the gym and get my workout done. When I am there, I could not care less what other people are doing as long as they wipe their equipment down. I don't care if they are next to me, I don't care if they are far away. But this is me. It would never have occurred to me to use another machine (one that I liked less) just because it was next to one in use. I feel like a pretty competent gym-goer, but I'm curious as to whether I have unknowingly crossed some unwritten line about equipment spacing. Thanks in advance, this has been irritating me for the last few days!

    It's like going into an empty restroom in a public place with 6 stalls, then someone else comes in....and out of all the other available stalls, they just HAVE to use the one right next to You! She didn't know your reasoning for wanting that particular treadmill, and although I don't condone her comments, I understand why she felt that way.
  • everher
    everher Posts: 909 Member
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    I'm curious because you said there were three machines like the one you used - was there another machine like the treadmill you wanted to use available that was not next to someone?

    Honestly, yes, this would have annoyed me and does annoy me at my gym, but then all the machines are the same at my gym so there's really no point in getting right beside someone when there's rows of the same exact machine free to use.

    I think part of the reason it annoys me so much is I seem to have bad luck with people who pick the machines next to me. More than a few people have had on a ton of cologne/perfume, a few have been talking so loudly either on their phones or to someone next to them that I can hear them through my headphones, and then you have the men who try to flirt with me or talk to me when I'm in the middle of a run.

    So yeah, in general I would prefer if people picked another machine.