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Nobody wants to be that guy, right? The one annoying everyone or grossing people out with his loathsome behavior. But somehow, a lot of men can turn into beasts when they enter the locker room.

It’s important to remember that this is a space you’re sharing with others. And it’s a place where dirty clothes, unwashed armpits and flagrant nudity combine to make a dangerous location rife with unfortunate circumstances. Proper form matters here just as it does when you’re out doing squats. Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll leave looking and feeling like a champ.

 

This Isn’t Your Personal Bathroom

Remember that you’re sharing this space. “Rude people, the ones that don’t pick up after themselves and are too lazy to walk three steps to put their towel in the basket, they kind of ruin it for the rest of us,” says Stephen Cheuk of S10 Training. And to that point, you shouldn’t be clipping your nails or trimming body hair. Anything that goes beyond basic grooming to get you ready for the day should be left for at home.

 

Keep to Yourself

“I think keeping to yourself is one of the most important unspoken rules,” says Nathan McCallum, an Aussie-based trainer and owner of Milestone Strength. A friendly nod or brief hello is acceptable, but conversation and small talk is best left for when you and your neighbor are fully clothed.

 

Put Your Phone Away

Resist the temptation to take a selfie in the mirror, no matter how good the pump may be. And take care of the work emails after you’re done changing. If a text is urgent, try tapping out your response from inside your locker. If you must take a call, step outside. And it should go without saying, but if you’re leaving your phone in your locker, make sure it’s on vibrate.

 

Mind Your Hygiene

“Hygiene might be the most important thing to remember,” says McCallum. Remove your weight lifting gloves when you use the bathroom (otherwise they return to the weight bench unwashed). Speaking of which, don’t pee in the shower. And after you shower, dry your feet before returning to your locker so you don’t leave a trail of water. Once you’re done drying off your junk, don’t toss that used towel onto the bench where others are sitting. The same goes for dumping your personal water bottle out in the sauna—not cool.

 

It’s a Locker. Not Real Estate

Lockers are there to securely hold your stuff while you work out. Unless your gym assigns you a locker, you’d be wise to choose one in the least inhabited area of the locker room. This not only provides you (and others) with more privacy, it will reduce potential conflicts. No one likes having to wait to access their locker because the guy one locker over has his wide open, blocking yours and providing no workable space to dry off and get dressed.

 

Don’t Hog the Bench

The benches in the locker room are there for you to sit on, in order to put on and take off your shoes. It’s where you can dry your feet. It’s not a place to toss an oversized gym bag. It’s not where you leave your sweaty gym clothes while you go take a shower. The bench is shared by all, so make sure you don’t monopolize your time utilizing it.

 

A thought on locker room talk: It’s 2019, and a man doesn’t need to be crude to be cool. The locker room has long been a private refuge for men. But it’s also a public space where lewd comments and crass language needn’t be spoken. Keep it clean, gentleman.

 

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