Mistakes will happen. Brain farts will occur. There are times when you’ll forget what round or rep you’re on. You may leave the gym soaked with sweat in the dead of winter in just a t-shirt and leave your fancy coat behind. These things happen. And while they are a little knuckleheaded, I’m talking about the day-to-day jackassery that can get you, or someone else, hurt and can be easily avoided.
Since the internet loves lists, here is a list of things you can do to avoid being a knucklehead in the gym.
This is the foundational rule. The keystone on which everything else is built upon. You may be fried from your day. I get it, work was rough. Pledge allegiance to the struggle. But we need you to be not just physically present, but more importantly, mentally present when you enter the gym. Not only will you see better results in your workouts, but the chances of shenanigans occurring greatly diminishes.
You’re not a zombie (yet). Put down your phone, stop daydreaming, stop eye-f***ing the person in the class before yours with the great butt (yeah, they work out) and interact with the world around you. This is a habit that we all should strive for in all aspects of our daily lives, not just in the gym.
Don’t Walk Through the Middle of the Workout – EVER.
I can’t tell you how many near misses I’ve seen between faces and exercise equipment. While I do have some superpowers, I can’t be everywhere at once, and can’t see every single rep of every single athlete at once. I realize there’s only so many ways in and out of the gym, or to the equipment you want to use, but at no time is it ever a good idea to meander absentmindedly in front of someone who is working out.
Be aware of your surroundings, stick to the perimeter and look for the safest route that doesn’t interfere with the class. The athlete shouldn’t be working out like an asshole, but the person moving about the gym can’t just wander through the room either. If you get hit with an object, or a flailing limb from the athlete working out, that’s on you.
Don’t Work Out Like an Asshole.
There’s a shared responsibility amongst all of us. Kettlebells and dumbbells should never ever be dropped from any distance. You’re going to break your toes or someone else’s, and possibly the kettlebell.
Dropping barbells needs to be done with control. Some gyms don’t allow it at all. Ten pound bumper plates are not very resilient and break easily. It’s the lighter weight bars that can do the most damage: bouncing and skipping across the floor. I realize you’ve been possessed by the eternal spirit of Beast Mode, but the bar is not covered in the plague. There’s no need to throw it from your shoulders like a crazy person.
Don’t carry a bar across the room on your shoulders and then when someone calls your name, spin around like a helicopter. It sounds like something out of The Three Stooges but it happens.
Stop cheating in your workouts. You know who you are. We know who you are. We know that you know how to count. You know the movement standards. You understand full range of motion. Don’t be that person. You’re better than that.
Turn Off the Light When You Leave the Bathroom.
Were you raised in a barn? Turn off the damn light when you’re done, you savage!
Stop Cherry-Picking Your Workouts.
I’ve already written about this, but it’s something that we all do and need to be reminded of from time-to-time. You need to train short, medium and long as well as light, medium and heavy. If you just do the workouts that fit into your wheelhouse or comfort zone, you’re missing the boat on what CrossFit is all about.
Are You Uncoachable?
Do you routinely skip the warmup? Do you zone out during the workout explanation? Do you think you know everything about the Fitness and can’t possibly learn anything new or novel? Do you disregard any and all feedback, critique, suggestions or observations from the coaches? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be uncoachable. Stop that.
CrossFit is a group fitness program. If you’re participating in a CrossFit class, please be ready to go at the start of the class hour and fully participate in all aspects of the class – not just the parts that are convenient for you. It doesn’t matter how long someone has been CrossFitting for, they still need to warm up, drill the fundamentals, and strive to do the common uncommonly well. Everyone needs a coach. There’s always room for improvement.
Stop Trying to Compete Every Day.
Not everything is a competition. Actually, only competitions are competitions. Fitness can and should be fun. There’s a difference between training, testing and competing. Know the difference. Take a deload day or week. Smile. Have fun, and don’t forget to dance.