Let’s face it, we DON’T all do the same exercises, use the same equipment, or wear the same things when we workout.
But we DO share the same workout space.
That means we can’t just plug in our ear buds and ignore how our workout habits effect others. Young or old, male or female, fantastically fit or still getting there, we can and should work together to ensure a safe, comfortable, and professional environment for everyone.
So, if you’ve ever wondered about the DOs and DON’Ts of the fitness floor, check out Midtown’s Eleven Rules of Weight Room Success.
DO wear clean t-shirts, sweats/shorts, socks and gym shoes of appropriate size. DON’T neglect to wash your hands and wipe off perfume or cologne. Please take note; there are no rules against deodorant. In fact, use is strongly encouraged.
DO bring children 8-years-old and younger to Kidtown while you work out, and DON’T forget to make a reservation. Children ages 12-16 can use exercise equipment under parent supervision.
DO ask a staff member to show you how to operate equipment properly to ensure safety and prevent wear-and-tear on the equipment. DON’T assume staff members are picking on you if they make a suggestion. We are there to help you get the most out of your workout experience!
DO take small items including towels, water bottles/cups, and music players with you when you move around the club. DON’T leave personal items on machines or the floor if you are not present, even in between sets.
DO focus on your own workout and allow others to do the same. DO NOT cause excessive noise that may distract others (that goes for you and your equipment). And please leave cell phones in the locker room. The person on the treadmill next to you doesn’t care what you thought of last night’s Glee episode, I promise.
Image courtesy of Concord High School
DO re-rack weights and return all other equipment to their proper locations, or ask a staff member where equipment should be stored. DON’T think that the next user will have the time or the strength to move five 45-pound plates off of each side of the leg press.
DO wipe down all equipment after use, or be sure to use a towel, even on mats! DON’T assume the machines will dry off or clean themselves, or that the next user will appreciate a damp seat, unless of course your sweat really does smell like roses.
DO pay attention to others waiting for machines and allow them to “work in.” DON’T take busy times as an opportunity to perform 15 sets.
DO place trash in the garbage cans, towels in the towel bins, and clean up spills (including ice) or ask a staff member to assist you. DON’T take more than 1-2 towels or cups to leave around, or assume that messes will take care of themselves.
DO invite your friends to check out Midtown. DON’T block the flow of traffic by congregating with your buddies in the free weight area.
Image courtesy of Stephanie C. Hodges
And finally, DON’T leave your personal belongings in the lockers overnight, or lock empty lockers. DO get some sleep and come back for a great workout tomorrow!
So, those are our top eleven.
Are there any important rules we missed? What are your biggest pet peeves when it comes to health club etiquette?
Many consider massage to be an unnecessary self-indulgence, a way to pamper oneself, or the first stop on a “girls’ day out at the spa” itinerary.
These beliefs, however, leave out the very real benefits (physical, mental, and even social!) that massage can provide.
I had a chance to discuss massage with Midtown’s new therapist, Yvonne Zipter, and got answers to a few questions that will help you get the most out of your massage experience.
What Can Massage Do for Me?
Talk to many doctors, physical therapists, and personal trainers and they will tell you that tight muscles are weak and prone to injury. Exercise can help strengthen weak areas and improve muscle imbalances, but loosening particularly tight areas of muscle (often referred to as “knots”) can help speed the process.
So what does massage do to help even the casual exerciser improve overall health and performance?
Augment muscle repair and reduce inflammation and soreness
Help increase range of motion and improve physical performance (e.g. jump height)
Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles
Release endorphins – the body’s natural pain killers
Reduce spasms and cramping
So Where Do I Start?
Massage is not, as the saying goes, “one size fits all.” To get the most out of your massage experience, your massage should be tailored to your fitness routine. Let’s look at some examples from Yvonne.
For you Pilates fans out there, a massage that breaks up adhesions in the soles of the feet can help you become more flexible and better able to perform the small movements necessary to get the most out of each exercise.
Runners, cyclists, and other endurance athletes may benefit from techniques such as myofascial release and trigger point therapy (see below) to relieve pain in vulnerable areas such as the Achilles tendon and illiotibial (IT) band.
Here are some o f the most common massage techniques/types to consider when working with your therapist
Swedish: gentle technique that uses long strokes to help relax and energize you
Deep-tissue: technique that uses slower, more forceful strokes to target deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, often to help with muscle damage from injuries
Sports: similar technique to Swedish that helps prevent and treat sports-related injuries
Myofascial Release: technique that uses long, stretching strokes to release tension
Trigger Point: technique that uses pressure to loosen sensitive areas of tight muscle fibers (“trigger points”) that can form in your muscles after injuries or overuse.
Is Massage Really for Me?
Although massage is generally a safe healing practice, it can pose some risks especially if you have an injury. Speak to your health care provider about any current conditions to determine whether massage therapy is right for you. You may experience some discomfort during or mild soreness after a session, particularly if a more intense form of massage is being used (e.g. trigger point).
The key is to communicate with your therapist. Make sure to discuss all potential health problems before your session, and don’t be afraid to speak up during your session if something hurts!
Sure, not every muscle issue requires the attention of massage therapist. Icing, stretching, rest and other types of self-care can help reduce muscle pain and improve physical function as well.
But, as Yvonne says, “if you have a nagging muscle issue brought on by too many squats, a marathon session of hoops, or too much front crawl, you should think about spelling relief M-A-S-S-A-G-E.”
What do you think? Has massage helped you maintain peak fitness performance?
Kristen Schumacher est la directrice médias sociaux de Midtown Oak Park et une entraîneuse personnelle. Lorsqu’elle ne s’entraîne pas pour sa prochaine course de fond, elle aime cuisiner, chanter et passer du temps avec sa famille et ses amis.