From the issue- Exercise Your Etiquette

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In which we present another teaser from the October Fall Sports issue of The Blue and White, which you can see in full on Sunday. 

gymExercise Your Etiquette

By Amari Hammonds

Either Plato is the ultimate fitness motivator, or a huge number of Columbia students realized before CC that a sound body complements a sound mind.  Anyone who’s set foot in Dodge knows that, in terms of traffic, the fitness center often rivals Butler during finals season—with what seems like the entire student body fighting tooth and nail for a few prime bits of real estate. Such volume requires a high level of consideration for your fellow gym-goer, and a few useful guidelines can make for an improved experience for all.

Sharing Machines: How to Keep Pace

DO respect the “one 30-min reservation for one piece of equipment per day” rule for cardio equipment. Signup-sheet deception is always in poor taste. If you must cheat, please make some effort to conceal your misdeed—vary your handwriting, transpose your initials, etc.—unless you want the gym staff to hate you in your cowardly anonymity.

DON’T hover, even if only to establish that you are next in line for a piece of equipment. Even if the person ahead of you is working out beyond his or her scheduled time, hovering quickly becomes annoying, especially when accompanied by hateful stares. Much of Columbia might not have figured this out yet, but there are better ways to get your point across than passive aggression.

DO use the oversized digital clock that is visible from the top-level cardio machines to judge time, not your own watch or iPod clock. According to gym personnel, smaller clocks throughout the gym are actually more accurate, but no matter. If there’s confusion, don’t be afraid to ask employees to reset a clock to the main one; apparently they’ll only do it if someone complains.

DON’T relax on a piece of equipment between weight-training reps. It’s okay to rest, but remember that there is a fine line between resting and relaxing.  Muscles need rest between sets for proper recovery; you do not need to squeeze in a paragraph of Saint Augustine before starting your next set.

Body Issues: We’ve All Got Them

DO keep unnecessary odors to a minimum. Especially in the lower fitness levels, the windowless cavern that is Dodge Gym can quickly become hot and malodorous. Remember to deodorize. Also remember that passing gas while on the treadmill is decidedly not cool.

DON’T neglect the paper towels and cleaning solution provided. How would you feel if the person ahead of you left the bike seat all gross and sweaty?  Seriously. Ew. 

DO expect to see people completely naked in the locker room. If you don’t feel comfortable with strangers in all their natural glory, find somewhere else to get dressed. If you do go in, try not to stare.

Socially Speaking…

DON’T get your flirt on at the gym. This is uncomfortable for everyone involved. There are plenty of other places on campus to be smooth, but the gym is for strengthening hearts, not breaking them.

DO think carefully about when and how to say hello to someone at the gym. Figuring out whether or not to acknowledge that dude on College Walk who was in your Lit Hum class two years ago is bad enough. Add into the equation sweaty backs, red cheeks, and spandex, and you’ve exponentially increased the potential social awkwardness of small talk. Generally speaking, you’d be prudent to keep social interactions brief.

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  1. Anonymous  

    is it just me or does Columbia have THE WORST GYM you have ever seen? I don't understand why we can't have a gym with enough machines, ventilation, and daylight. That place is straight out of the Soviet Union.

  2. no-  

    it's not just you.

    the columbia gym is shit. damn the classes of 68-72. those bastards.

  3. mr burns  

    i have a better gym in my own house!

    muahahahahaaa muahahahahaaaa

  4. bravo  

    amusing and informative!

  5. nice job  

    i agree with "bravo"...this is probably one of your most informative articles. brief, to the point, and helpful.

  6. Fuck it  

    Fuck the gym, CU, lets get rid of the machines and turn that place into a beer garden. fuck yeah

  7. unfit columbian  


    what about those of us who don't even know the basics and are afraid of even going? never mind all this fancy stuff about sponging the equipment.

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