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Lessons in Plex Etiquette

With the spring semester officially underway, BC students have settled back into their routine and begun focusing on bettering themselves through select New Year’s resolutions. The results of a recent survey published on the US Government’s official web portal revealed that the most common resolution is to lose weight, with getting fit trailing not far behind at number seven.

These results most likely do not surprise anyone. What is surprising, however, to those who have been brave enough to venture to the Plex this month, is the poor behavior of these newly self-appointed fitness enthusiasts. Whether you’re a resolutioner unfamiliar with the unwritten rules of Plex etiquette, or a seasoned veteran who may have forgotten them along the way, here are a few guidelines on how to conduct oneself while working out.

Lesson One: The Basics

Don’t hog equipment, especially during peak times. Very often, the same few stations are in high demand. While everyone is entitled to use whatever they need to complete their workout, be aware that the people lurking around your machine are probably doing so for a reason. If possible, let others work in. If you are convinced that you absolutely need to reserve a piece of equipment for 45 minutes in order to complete some crazy circuit training, try to do so at an off-peak hour such as earlier in the day.

Clean up after yourself. Sanitizing wipes are available in several locations, so take an extra second to wipe down the equipment after you’re done. No one wants to work out in a pool of someone else’s sweat.

Photo Courtesy of bcrecreation / Instagram

Photo courtesy of Instagram / bcrecreation

Rerack your weights. This cannot be stressed enough. Despite the signs posted around the weight room, this rule seems to be confusing to some, as it tends to go largely unnoticed. In simplest terms: Dumbells are racked in ascending order, from left to right, and each slot is clearly labeled with the number of the corresponding weight. Barbells are racked in ascending order from top to bottom, and most bars are labeled with the corresponding weight. All the weights on a single peg should be identical.

Lesson Two: Higher-order Thinking

Use equipment for its intended purpose. This concept builds upon our first topic of hogging equipment. If you’re using a station to do an exercise that can be performed literally anywhere else in the gym—such as, doing curls in the squat rack—it’s probably best to consider moving in order to free up the rack for those who are actually squatting.

Be aware of your surroundings. Whether you’re lifting, stretching, running, doing bodyweight exercises or even walking to your next machine, be conscious of what others are doing. If there’s a chance you may collide with someone else, wait a few seconds until the space is clear. Similarly, if your position is blocking someone else from accessing equipment they might need, move to a more open space.

Photo Courtesy of Boston College Campus Recreation / Facebook

Photo courtesy of Facebook / Boston College Campus Recreation

 Advanced Topics: Beyond the Scope of This Course

Excessive grunting is unnecessary. If you’re really pushing yourself, the occasional grunt is expected, but grunting for the sake of grunting is not impressing anybody. More likely, it’s just distracting.

Be conscious of your headphones’ volume. Chances are, no one else working out has the same taste in music as you. Even if some people do, it’s very unlikely they want to hear it through your phone while working out.

Keep photography to a minimum. While you may be proud of your own physical accomplishments, most people at the Plex are not photo-ready. If you must take a photo and there’s a chance a stranger will end up in the background, at least give them a heads up so they can choose whether to move out of the frame.

These are the key components of Plex etiquette. Following the above outline for model behavior will ensure that everyone can get the most out of his or her workout without inconveniencing others attempting to do the same. Hopefully this will motivate individuals to continue pursuing their fitness goals, whether new or old. Class dismissed.

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Long Island native with Big City dreams. Perpetual coffee drinker and notorious Plexaholic. CSOM for the money; LSOE for the soul.