28 February, 2011
What's On HK

Locker Room Etiquette: Do you have bad habits in the gym?

28 February, 2011

Guest blogger Amber tells us about her rules for playing nice after working out…
Hong Kong is a place where looks matter. Thus there seems to be a fitness center located on each corner. Along with ridiculously priced memberships come great facilities. I wish I could say the same about the staff and clientele. Apparently, there is no correlation between classiness of clientele and classiness of the facilities. I plan to lay out my case along with some simple tips for what I like to call, Locker Room Etiquette.

The locker room of your local fitness club is not your home, no matter how often you are there.  I will preface the tips with a personal horror story of a local HK fitness center which helped inspire me.

I had just finished showering and decided to get half dressed to blow dry my hair. It gets hot and thought well I might as well just do it in my pants. Fine. The entire row of about eight dryers was free. It was only the machine, my brush and I. Two women, naked, decided to take the dryers on either side of me. During this time that I am sandwiched, they shout loudly at each other while we all three have the dryers going full speed. This is annoying but nothing to complain about majorly. Then, as if she could see my rage mounting, she picks up her leg, places her foot on the counter and grabs another blow dryer. So she is at that moment blow drying two different hair parts of her body at the exact same time. For the record, the second hair part is something best left to your worst nightmare (imagination sounded too kind). It was completely revolting. Where on earth was this acceptable to do in public?

This episode has scarred me as well as made me happy to relay the message of manners in the locker room.

Tip #1 – Noises

The human body is capable of making a wealth of noises. All of them are not acceptable for public hearing. (Yes, you heard me correctly, PUBLIC hearing.) One noise being gargling phlegm from your throat, especially when people are hanging around naked. Any snotting, spitting, saliva based noise is not meant for public ears and is absolutely disgusting to watch. Other noises also include the idea of slapping lotion onto one’s body. Lotion can be slathered with no sound, slapping it onto body parts will not increase its effectiveness. For the sake of sane people in the locker room, please keep the noises to a minimum unless you stub your toe.

Tip #2-Nudity

Locker rooms are prime time spots to be nude. We are all surrounded by the same sex and filthy from working out. There is no shame in the human figure, or so some say. I believe that we all have the right and option to be nude in the locker room, to an extent. Go to the shower, sit in the sauna and I’ll even let the slapping of lotion slide if we can agree to this; No awkward poses, please. Any pose that you take on, think about it. If in the nude you slip into a full squat or decide to clip your toenails, be aware, you’re not at home.

The sauna is one gray area where nudity is definitely okay but to what point? I believe you are allowed to be nude and lay down or sit up depending on space. One should be wary of playboy like poses (Most sauna’s are same sex and if not, you look like a hooker!) and keeping the legs closed at all times would be preferable.

Tip #3- Manners

No matter how much you may pay for your club membership, obviously one can’t buy class. Ladies, we all want to dry our hair and to be reminded it’s a locker room, things *may* get wet. A friend of mine, who has long beautiful hair was blow drying it. There was a lady next to her, who she had recognized from previous visits. The woman started to scream, “OH MY GOD. I hate you. Everyone here hates you because you do this every time. You get everyone all wet with your hair.” First and foremost, if you are over eleven years old and use the term, “Everyone hates you.” I think you should pack up your belongings, pour gasoline over them, light a match and then jump in, because you have failed at becoming a functioning adult. This lady should have just politely used her manners and either said something politely or moved. It’s easy to do folks.

Without being completely patronizing, I think it’s important we try to use these tips in our daily fitness regime. Kindness and consideration is something in Hong Kong that is highly undervalued.

At Sassy we’d love to know what you think of Amber’s rules: Do you think she’s right to be offended by the behaviour she describes? Do you have your own torrid tales of bad manners in the locker room?

13 thoughts on “Locker Room Etiquette: Do you have bad habits in the gym?

  1. Amber,
    You are absolutely correct!!! I also have some horror stories of my own (which I relay via text messages to my mum, which highly amuses her!).
    Using the hairdryer to dry hair other than on your head is a common one. But I have seen someone place the dryer inside her pants since she must have forgotten to dry BEFORE dressing!
    The other one that makes me almost throw up is women inserting tampons in public view! Seriously??? There are plenty of cubicles that they can use for personal things such as that!
    And I really don’t understand they insist on reading the newspaper naked…with one knee up on the bench.
    For hygiene reasons, I would rather people sat on a towel rather than having their bare bum right where someone else is about to (unsuspectingly) place their ipod or towel!

    Thank you so much for rightly this article and allowing me the opportunity to vent!!!
    I think every gym in HK should post this on every spare piece of wall in the locker rooms! Maybe one day it will start to sink in!

  2. As a regular yoga enthusiast I do frequent the ladies change room and have experienced many similar experiences. In my opinion I don’t want to see anyone’s nakedness in the changeroom anymore than I do outside of it. Keep your legs closed, wrap that towel around your waist, keep your hair to yourself and don’t leave items it the shower that are meant for the garbage.

  3. This is all too gross!!! I came across these many times before when I used to go to the gym. One more irritating thing people like to do is throwing towels onto the floor and stamp on them.

  4. Hi Miss Fong – I remember reading your article last year! Yes, seems we all hate the gym changing room experience! 😉

  5. All I can do is laugh each and every time…and wonder how every single woman standing at the blow drying counter has time to put their bra and heels on, but somehow their knickers always fail to make an appearance.

  6. Unfortunately people need to be told how to behave in gyms whether its on the gym floor or in the locker room. I’m a personal fitness coach in NYC (have been for over 20 years) and have seen the ridiculous to the most disgusting things going on in health clubs. I believe its up to the members to report these incidences and the management to take action and set up etiquette rules. But how often do people report and management take action?

  7. I am so glad to know I am not alone feeling grossed out by women who know no manners! I often tell my male friends how scary a women’s changing room is.

    Apart from witnessing all of the above mentions, I recall seeing this woman in my yoga studio’s change room spreading her legs to do like a mini squat, then wiping her private part with tissue paper, THEN LEAVING the tissue paper ON THE COUNTER, right next to my makeup bag. I was so grossed out I wanted to snap at her! This is really disgusting…

  8. This is why I don’t go to a gym anymore, such a dirty, germy place. Don’t you also find it weird that people put paper mask or other facial masks on, while walking around semi-naked or naked….

    So gross. Pretty weird stuff goes on in the changing room….

  9. Wow, people do all that stuff at the gym? I have not used a gym much since college, but we lived across the street in the dorms, and went back to shower there. Actually since I am a pedestrian I burn all my calories and get my workouts this way, so I do not use the gym. Walking, running, and work outs at home are a great way to avoid overpriced gyms that seem to have a range of behaviors some might not like. Honestly I just prefer walking to burn calories, and it is free and my transportation.

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