Yesterday while in the Dragon Lair, two of our Ninjas shared a moment that most in gyms would consider a Socially Awkward Penguin moment:
Do you know what I called it? Being polite. I called attention to the interaction, and we discussed their immediate ability and willingness to share.
In our current society and our modern gym culture, sharing is vastly underrated.
Perhaps I’m cynical, or I haven’t seen your own open interactions. Calling upon my own experience, I find that we’re become hyper-territorial at the gym. Once one has laid claim to a piece of equipment, they defend it against all challengers, less they lose command of their resource. It’s the social Monopoly of the gym culture. What the hell is it all about?
You likely learned form a young age that sharing is an essential life skill, and that you should practice it on a regular basis. Over time we may forget how simple sharing really is, or we begin to focus on owning as many things as possible. I’m of the belief that if there’s anywhere to share, it’s in the gym.
Let’s take a look at the culture in one of the most elite powerlifting gyms in the world, Westside Barbell in Columbus, Ohio:
You know what you see there? Some damn good equipment sharing! One of those guys lifts, the others spot or run the rack. The second the bar is back in the monolift, they rotate roles and the next one is up. Then they switch positions again. The entire workout has the atmosphere of a team training session, not an individual workout. Let’s take a page out of their book, and from what I observed yesterday, and make the most out of sharing equipment with other people. Here’s what you have to know:
That shit ain’t yours.
Unless someone brings their own equipment to the gym, you’re going to be able to use everything that’s in there. Relax. It’s not going anywhere. You are paying to use it. So is the person next to you. Neither of you have more or less right to use it than they other, and we’re not settlers or conquerers working for The Crown.
Slow down, speed demon.
If you’re worried that sharing equipment with other people is going to slow you down, you’re right, and slowing down may very well be a good thing. If you’re training for strength, you’re going to want at least 2 minutes between your sets, which is how long it will usually take someone to finish their own set. That gives enough time for your Central Nervous System (CNS) and Creatine Phosphate energy system to replenish for your next set. If you’re training for hypertrophy or fat loss, you’re likely grouping exercises to make the most of your time, and that means you’re doing another exercise in between your sets. Do you really need to sit on the same bench the whole time? Didn’t think so.
Perform your next exercises close by but on a different piece of equipment so that you and your neighbor can train. Perhaps you’ll be sharing with a third gym-goer as well. Look at you, on your way to becoming the United Nations!
In either case, you’ll actually have more time between sets than what you may be used to, and that can enhance your own workout while making your sharing abilities much better. Isn’t that a win-win for everyone?
Now the caveat here is when you’re training with Treebeard and that person is taking what seems like forever between each set. When that happens, kindly encourage them to start a set as soon as you’re done, so that you rest periods don’t become too long. If you have the habit of becoming Treebeard, then stop speaking in Entish and get your ass under the bar.
Fun. You’ll Have It.
Unless you preferring being the Lone Ranger, or use your workout as your personal recharge/regenerate time, you’re going to have wayyyy more fun working out with other people. These are strong sentiments for me personally, but I am not a fan of working out solo. I don’t even care what you’re training for, but if you’re in the gym with me, please be my friend between sets.
Training requires focus and hardwork, but that’s not to say that you can’t have one hell of a good time at the gym. You can, and you should. Find training partners with similar goals and interests, but be sure to share with everyone in the gym, regardless of what they’re working towards. It will enhance your training experience, that of your partners, and you may very well make some friends in the process.
Drew, H.L.; Thank you for the experience that you shared yesterday, and for the seamless sharing that didn’t phase you a bit. You both had awesome workouts, and are role models for your friends and family. I believe more of us can share like the two of you, and get that much better.