Who made you gym monitor?

Student Fitness and Recreation Center at the University of Maine

Student Recreation and Fitness Center at the University of Maine

My husband and I have made it part of our weekly routine to work-out three times a week at the new Student Recreation and Fitness Center at the university since it opened 5 years ago. We do both cardio and weights each time we go, though we use different machines and areas in the sprawling gym. For my cardio I began with the elliptical apparatus and sometimes the recumbent bicycle but have since transitioned to the treadmill. I learned I could get my heart rate up and burn more calories faster by maxing out the incline. Not to mention there is a TV on each treadmill to help the time go by faster. There are perhaps 20 treadmills so I have never had a problem finding an open machine to use.

This morning just after I had finished my cardio, I wiped down the equipment with a disinfectant sprayed towel and headed to the drinking fountain to rehydrate. As I rose from drinking fountain and turned to head to the weight area, an elderly man who had been walking a treadmill a ways down the line from me approached and said something  I couldn’t quite make out. I took out my ear buds and he repeated “You need to return the incline to the neutral position as a courtesy to others”.  I was taken aback and returned to lower the incline as he insisted.

This was something that I had never thought of as an issue as I have always noticed that the treadmills are in various levels of incline when I arrive. Furthermore, when you program the equipment’s computer each time you step on, it automatically adjusts the incline to your desired ratio. There is no physical effort required to adjust the incline.Certainly some people prefer to begin their workout on a neutral incline, and some may never progress to anything but a neutral position. I, and undoubtedly others, prefer to take advantage of the feature to tailor the workout to our individual needs.

I want to be a courteous gym member. But honestly, I don’t see how this is a courtesy issue. There is nothing posted in the gym or in any of their literature about this. I did a fair amount of “treadmill etiquette” research on-line. There are a lot of commonly accepted courtesies like wiping down the equipment when you are done, not looking at others consoles, wearing outside shoes and etc. Only one posting (blog) even mentioned this as a faux pas. But then she also said it was a faux pas to be “jogging like an elephant” on a treadmill. I say let’s use some common sense along with some common courtesy. Then there will be no reason to ask, “Who made you gym monitor?”.

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