Be courteous — share the gym's equipment

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

If you’ve ever used the University Community Centre gym, you’ve likely experienced this:

You’re ready for a set and go searching for the weight you need, but you can’t find it on the racks. Nobody around you seems to be using it, and it’s not around on the floor anywhere. Then you spot the above-mentioned dumbbells, sitting in a pile with about five other weights, next to some guy on the bench press.

As you lean down to pick up the one set of weights you need, he pauses from his set and says “Sorry buddy, I’m still using those.”

That leads me to ask: is it really necessary to horde every set of weights necessary for your workout? Would it really hurt to share?

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with holding onto a couple different weights between sets. Everybody has their own program, and you need to be able to do yours properly.

What I have a problem with is people holding onto three or four different sets of weights over a couple different exercises. Other people need to use those and can’t until you’re finished.

I’m also not expecting weights to be readily available for anybody who needs them at any given time. Part of sharing Western’s gym space involves having the patience to wait a couple minutes or work on another exercise until the equipment you need is available.

Would it really hurt to let somebody rotate in, though? There’s no reason people shouldn’t be able to get a turn in while you’re resting between sets, especially when the weights are just sitting by your side anyway.

I should note that most people in the gym are fairly considerate. It’s rare for somebody to turn anyone down when they ask to rotate in, and most patrons are reasonable with the weights they accumulate.

The few offenders who are out there are absolutely horrible, though. While most students recognize that Western’s limited workout space needs to be shared, some treat the gym like their own private facility.

I understand if you have a specific workout that you want to follow. It’s not my place to tell you how you can and can’t work out, and you need to go with the program that works best for you.

But it’s important to remember that those of us who aren’t pro weight lifters still need access to the weights. The fact your workout is more effective or specific than ours doesn’t give you a monopoly on the equipment.

And if the details of your program are so specific that you need every weight in the gym at your disposal at all times, perhaps you might consider whether a university facility is the right place for you. If your workout practices are too good for our lowly facilities, feel free to find another gym more suited to your level of commitment.

At the end of the day, I’m not asking much. If you need a set of weights for a few sets, that’s absolutely your right. All I ask is that gym-goers be reasonable with the equipment they tie up at a given time, and accommodating if somebody looks like they need to work into a rotation.

Your workout might be important to you, but ours are important to us, too. Please exercise some courtesy the next time you’re in the gym.

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