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Have a little etiquette

* Written by famous Iron-Woman and Queen of Kona, Paula Newby-Fraser

It is that time of year in the life of an endurance athlete. Back to the gym to work on keeping, and hopefully building, some strength before the summer rolls around. And, it's always a good reminder of why I despise doing indoor workouts in a group setting. My goodness, in the matter of 3 or 4 workouts, I have seen some of the worst etiquette around the gym.

Isn't it common sense to:

1. Not sit on the only leg-extension machine without doing anything. Resting on a piece of equipment whilst recovering is NOT ok, particularly when another exerciser is hovering nearby. It is awkward to have to be nice and ask, "If you mind whilst I work in?" Basic courtesy in my world is that if I am not actually using the machine, get off it-it's a public gym;

2. If you must have your Ipod blasting while walking around and grooving to your music ; don't sing out loud. It's always out of tune and, inevitably, you are likely shouting. If you are a 50-something gentleman wearing all the latest Under Armour Gear, it's actually very uncool, and the women are not digging you;

3. If you happen to see a friend, plan a time to meet at Peets or Starbucks and catch up over a cup of java, not in the gym. There is already a limited amount of walking space between machines. There is nothing worse than having to, "excuse me" from one piece of equipment to another;

4. Speaking of limited moving space ; take those walking lunges out onto the patio or into the aerobic room. It is outright rude to march up and down the primary walking area, lunging as you go, expecting everyone to stand back as you deep bend your way by;

5. FYI for those big strong bodybuilding guys, take a brief moment to unload the 300 pounds off the bench-press bar or squat rack. Some of us are proud of the 5 and 10 pound plates we use. I hate having to worry about dropping a 45 lb. disk on my toe!

Don't get me wrong, I completely understand that different folks join a gym for different reasons. Some enjoy the social aspect, others the group classes, and others for hard core exercise. No matter your reasons, like anything else in the world, if everyone simply shows a little respect and a bit of etiquette, we can all get along.

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