What are some unwritten rules of the gym?

You don't need chalk for air squats...and other important things to know, like, be honest, put your phone away, and just try your best.
Jeff Milton
February 23, 2023
What are some unwritten rules of the gym?

What are some unwritten rules of the gym?

Each community has its own normal modes of operating, and this is even more true for fitness spaces. While there might be a long list for what to do or not do at a traditional “global gym” like a Gold’s Gym or Planet Fitness, I’m going to narrow it down to some unwritten rules at FCF. These rules are simply my take-I’m sure I’ll forget some that others think are super important, or might harp on some that others find silly. Also, I should say that most folks at FCF abide  by these without even being told to do so, but if you’re new, or curious or just trying to get a guage of what kind of setting we are…here we go…

Respect Equipment

This falls into four basic tenants:

Wait Until Everyone Is Done With Their Workout to Pack Up

It is true that the last person to finish a workout in a CrossFit gym usually receives the biggest cheers and applause. With that said, if you finish your workout before others, just start cheering someone else on. Leave your weights and equipment until everyone is finished before starting to put it away. It’s not fun to be suffering with one round left and someone tip-toes their ski-erg past you. If you feel rushed for time, just let your coach know and he or she will be glad to pick up your stuff when the last person is done. Speaking of working out…

Scale and Hit the Stimulus

This rule is a little harder to understand or follow than simply putting away your jump rope when you’re done. Nonetheless, it is important. Each workout in a CrossFit class has a specific stimulus to the body that is trying to be achieved. If I tell you to run a mile as fast as you possibly can, it will be different than if I tell you to walk a mile as slow as you can, or if I simply instruct you to walk a mile at a normal pace. Even though the distance remains the same, the expected intensity and physical demands required of you changes. 

It is the job of the coach to tell you the intended stimulus of the workout and various ways we can modify or adapt it to ensure that each person is hitting that intended stimulus. Scaling is important not only to ensure we’re getting the best workout we can, but also scaling allows us to move better as well as be safer during the training session. Scaling the weight or the movement can afford us the opportunity to get better at skill or movement until we feel more comfortable, as well as keep us from doing more than we are capable of and risk injury. Scaling often requires us to be honest with ourselves. Speaking of being honest…

Be Honest

Be honest about the weight you used, or the number of reps you got in a workout, and do your best to hit the movement standards in alignment with your capacity to do so. In other words, don’t cheat. 

A “rep-cutter” is someone who makes a conscious decision to cut the number of repetitions performed during a workout, or log an inaccurate weight into the data-tracker that is different than they actually used to look more impressive, or doesn’t do the full movement in an attempt to go faster (think of someone doing a push-up in which they don’t take their chest all the way to the floor) and get more reps. Cheating not only diminishes yourself, it also diminishes your gym community. People notice and know who in their community cheats, or manipulates things to try to make themselves appear better than they are. At FCF, we will never judge you for your performance, fitness level, looks or capacity-as long as it is honest and you’re doing your best. Don’t lie about what your best is. Honor yourself and the people around you by having the courage to be honest. Speaking of honoring people around you…

Put Your Phone Away 

Just like in the non-gym world, when the phone is out, it is more challenging to bond with those in your immediate proximity, there’s greater chance for injuries, and you miss out on valuable information and instruction. Think of the class at FCF as one hour of your day that you’re allowed to be disconnected. Our classes are people-oriented, not phone-oriented. We have smaller class sizes and our classes are led by a coach. When we shove our face into our gadget, we may unintentionally disrespect those around us, and at the very least, miss out on some moments that can’t be replicated. Plus, we’re here to get fit: Wordle and Instagram will still be there for you when the hour’s up. Speaking of making the most of the hour…

Just Try

The hardest part of the fitness journey is just showing up and trying. Again, no one at FCF is mocking you or thinking less of you because you are unfit or not as fit as you’d like to be, or because you’re young or old, or not able to lift heavy weights or run fast or bounce over a box. The only thing we ask of you is to just try. Show up, and try. There’s going to be workouts that make you feel challenged, or a movement you’ve never done before, or a workout that reveals just how unfit you are. That’s okay. That’s part of the joy of doing it with other people-we share it. Just put forth effort with a willingness to grow. 

I’m sure I could go on with a few others like, “you don’t need chalk for everything”, and “say hi to everyone”., so I’ll just encourage you to write your own rules and then more importantly, abide by them!

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