Has anyone besides me noticed that the doors going into Commons are really hard to open? It takes me a running start to get those things moving. OK, that’s a huge exaggeration, but the nugget of truth in there persuaded me to take on the muggle gym in a vow to beef up my notoriously noodle-like arms. The “muggle gym,” for those unfamiliar with the term, is the place where all of us “normie” nonathlete folks get our exercise on. But being the novice exercisers that we are, I noticed that we have some habits that need to be cracked before we can take ourselves seriously. So here are some “dos and don’ts” to help us do this whole workout thing in style.
First of all, remember your clothes when you go to the gym. Guys, girls and any gender in between — please wear enough clothing. Too many times have I seen you all rocking out on the treadmill Adam-and-Eve style. There’s a reason we graduated from fig leaves, folks. Here’s the thing: Girls won’t visualize another person naked unless they’re actually, well, naked in front of them, but guys will visualize someone naked even if they’re wearing 30 burlap sacks, so we might as well just spare the girls from seeing those places where the sun don’t shine and let the guys watch the movie in their heads. I know that the gym is the place to reduce your jiggle, but we want to see you post-jiggle, not mid-jiggle. Also it should be noted that you have some body parts that will never not jiggle, and we never want to see those parts.
Also bring water bottles. The other day in the Morse gym, I watched the unthinkable unfold before my eyes. Mid-workout, I could tell this girl was getting really thirsty, so she waltzed over to the Poland Spring watercooler. But when she couldn’t find any cups, she proceeded to squat, put her mouth on the spout and drink. I watched in horror as bubbles rose in the water cooler. I’m pretty much the most un-germaphobic person on the planet. My five-second rule is like a 15-second rule, and it even applies to the ground outside. But I drew the line here. I had to fill my water bottle up at that same spigot after my workout. I had no choice — I was thirsty too! But I felt like we had just made out with the same guy, which is really barely socially acceptable even in blackout stupors. In broad daylight with a watercooler — well that’s just grody.
Noises. Try to avoid making them at all costs. Because chances are, what you’re doing really isn’t killing you. So any grunting, heaving and asthmatic-like breathing should be limited to when you are alone with Jane Fonda in your common room. Your suitemates will ultimately understand, because they agreed to live with you in the first place, assuming you’re not a freshman. That said, the people at the gym will not be as forgiving as the people you live with. I simply cannot begin to describe how weird it is to run on the treadmill next to a woman who sounds like she’s running from an axe-murderer. Especially when she is running at 4.8 miles per hour. But in all seriousness and fairness to those around you, only make a noise if you think you might need to be in an ambulance 30 seconds later.
Finally, the gym social butterfly. We can’t take you seriously when you are talking more than you are working out. But besides that, you shouldn’t feel like being social at the gym. Because if you are really working out, you should feel really sweaty, smelly and generally gross. So unless you are talking to a person with no sense of smell — and I’ve only come across two such people in my life, and I regret to inform you that neither one attends this school — I would seriously stay clear from talking to anyone who is not your best friend and/or has a tattoo of your name on their butt. Basically, limit your socializing to people who will continue to grab meals with you even after they’ve pondered how your armpits could possibly make your shirt that bluish color (it’s Old Spice High Endurance Deodorant, by the way).
So with these tips in hand, hit the gym with a new spring in your stride. My arms have already gained about a 16th of an inch in each bicep, and I know with a renewed dedication to protecting the etiquette of our gym, yours can too.
Maddie Broder is a sophomore in Morse College.