Gym Etiquette

Ric Drasin compares the gym scene between yesterday and today


Nowadays I constantly see people sitting on machines, socializing, reading books or newspapers, or texting. Then, when you ask them if you can grab a set they'll tell you that they’re using it. This lack of gym etiquette didn't exist at gyms in the 70's, but starting in the 80's it's become more and more prevalent. You're supposedly at a gym to do work, so do it, or leave.
Back in the day there was a clear protocol when it came to keeping the gym clean. Weights were returned to racks, and if you didn't return them when you were done you were tossed out. Today I see so many people leave bars loaded up and dumbbells on the floor, never for a second considering putting anything back.
We didn't stand for this kind of behavior back at the old Gold's Gym. One time someone left weights scattered all over the floor where I was about to train. I found the guy and asked him politely to clean it up. He just shrugged his shoulders. So I literally grabbed him by the ear, pushed him down to the floor and made him pick every one of them up. Never saw him again.
Owners like Joe Gold and Vince Gironda took pride in their gyms and made sure that the rules were kept. Today it’s all just hourly employees who look at it as just a job, without really caring what happens out there on the floor. If you ask them to speak to someone, they’ll just make an announcement on the PA, which no one listens to, I'm guessing because they’re afraid to confront the person creating the problem.
I just see so many things going on today that would never have been tolerated back when I was coming up. People leave their sweat on benches without cleaning up after themselves. I see people washing their faces in the fountain and spitting in it. Then there's everyone having loud conversation phones while doing card. What happened to respect for those around you?
Then there are all the guys who make exaggerated huffing and grunting noises while lifting, and those who bang dumbbells together at the top of each rep.  It's all totally unnecessary and would have resulted in a termination of their membership 40 years ago. But then, it isn't 40 years ago, is it?
It's not that I can't appreciate new gyms—they're plush, pretty and full of state of the art equipment. But I really miss the old gym etiquette. If there was a way to combine modern gyms with old school etiquette I think we'd have the perfect situation. Still, if I had to pick one or the other, I'd take old school every day of the week. Those were truly amazing times that I'll always look back on fondly.
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