Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A few tips to make everyone’s experience at the gym a little better

You are not at the gym alone
(Collegian file photo)

We’ve all been there, in the middle of our workout and we see someone doing something that makes us stop and think, “Umm, what?” I have had a lot of those moments in the past few weeks, as people are beginning to work on their summer bodies.

Chewing gum

I have seen so many people chewing gum in the gym and every time I look over and see it I think, “I don’t know how to do the Heimlich, so I really hope no one chokes.” I am sure I am not the only one who has thought this. For your own safety, please do not chew gum while you are exercising! About 4,500 people die from choking each year; don’t become a statistic.

Waiting for machines 

You can wait all day for a machine if you want, but if you don’t ask to work in, there should be no reason to be rolling your eyes or getting frustrated while someone else is finishing their sets. Instead, you could ask to work in or ask how many sets they have left. If you have time, go complete another exercise while you wait.

Using a machine for the wrong exercise

I understand getting creative with your workouts at the gym — I do it all the time. However, the machines should be used for the exercises they’re made for, while getting creative should be reserved for the free-weights. I recently watched someone use the leg extension machine for hip extensions, while a large line of people waited to use the machine for its intended use. Instead, this person could have grabbed a mat, put the weight on their hips and completed the same exercise on the ground or on a smith machine without using a machine made for a different purpose.


Do onto others as you would have done onto yourself. There is nothing worse than leaving your sweat behind for the next person, especially when wearing something with a lot of skin-to-seat contact. The Recreation Center provides a spray and rag for a reason. There are plenty of germs that can easily be spread at the gym, like the common cold. Always clean the equipment after you’re done as a courtesy to others and because it’s what you would want someone to do for you.


This is probably the number one pet-peeve of a lot of gym goers, and I am not talking about the exercise. I understand the value of taking breaks between sets; however, breaks should never be longer than three minutes. Why? Because after about three minutes, your creatine phosphate reserves are replenished and ready to help you execute your next set. However, you don’t need the full three minutes unless your last set brought you to your absolute max (creatine phosphate is substrate that helps you give the very first 10 to 30 seconds of your workout the absolute max).

Another big part of squatting is texting. During your rest between sets is not a time for you to be texting all your friends your life story. A quick text about getting lunch is fine, but a novel that makes your rest period six minutes long is simply unnecessary. It is also not considerate to those waiting for that piece of equipment; everyone is there to get a workout in.

Dropping Weights

If you can’t easily carry the weights to your bench and gently place them on the floor, how are you expecting to curl them? Lighten up, literally. There is a lot of danger in dropping weights because they can break in half or land on your feet. Dropping weights is the number one way to get injured at the gym and has resulted in thousands of emergency room visits.

The gym is a great place to get in shape, and it should be a positive environment for everyone. Being considerate in the gym can make a world of difference to others and to yourself.

Sophia Perkins can be reached at [email protected].

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  • J

    john aimoMay 5, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Wow thanks for the common sense advice, I don’t think anyone has to read this article to know these common sense things or irrelevant tips.

    I am not sure if anyone has ever choked from gum?/ You understand gum is very easy to swallow right?

    Are writers paid at the collegian? Can i write for it? It seems like a very easy job if you get paid.