Bluffs Advocate


Rules that Work

A Spanish gym’s regulations make the gym a great place to be

By Lynn Daigneault

            At this writing, I am in Spain escaping the snow. My fitness centre is half a block from the apartment and it overlooks the sea. Working out on a treadmill, bike, or elliptical with a view of the sea and with the gym windows open is the healthiest this kind of workout can get. I am not taking this for granted!
           Are gyms the same all over the world? Yes and no. The equipment is the same (or similar), there are scheduled classes, and the personal trainers talk, talk, talk fitness! However, that is where the similarities stop. The gym is closed on Sundays, the hours are short on Saturdays, and most surprisingly, the rules of the gym are enforced. What does that mean?
           When I think of the gyms at home in comparison to this gym in Spain, there are definitely a few things to reflect upon.
           When you go to your own fitness centre/ gym, are you ever concerned about cleanliness? And the possible spreading of colds and other viruses?
           Do you ever trip over weights that people have left lying around?
           Can you find the weights you need, or are they all out of order?
           Do you ever wish that whoever put 190 lbs of plates on a machine would take them off and rack them?
           These are my fitness pet peeves. I want my gym clean. I want people to be considerate of others. I want gym staff to intervene and get those weights and plates re-racked. Then I found Spain.
           Here are the rules of my Spanish gym:
           Only athletic shoes that have not seen the outdoors may be worn in the gym to preserve the floor and eliminate unnecessary bacteria from the street. Failure to do this results in a warning, after which you forfeit your membership.
           Rack your dumbbells in the right order. If you don’t, you will be told to correct what you have done. You leave DBs lying around, you are asked to put them back. You don’t put them back, you forfeit membership.
           Don’t toss heavy DBs on the floor or you definitely forfeit membership. A personal trainer will be on your case immediately.
           Rack your plates on the right post and in the right order. Leaving them on the bar or machine will result in a warning, and failure to comply means you forfeit your membership. I love it that I never have to worry that someone has left 200 lbs of plates on a machine that I want to use.
           Bring a towel and sit on it when at a machine, in order to absorb sweat. Lie on it at a bench or on a mat. Cleanliness is expected. This is a requirement. No towel, no workout.
           The gym is spotlessly clean. People use the disinfectant to clean the machines after use. Abiding by the rules is second nature—no one thinks twice about it. Yes, racking weights and plates might add a few minutes to your workout but it is considerate towards others. That is the norm and no one complains. Is there something we can learn from this? I think so.
           The bonus for following the get a super-clean gym, the sea view, and the air through the open windows while you work out. Priceless.
           Walking outside in the spring-like air every day reminds me to get outside as much as possible once the better weather arrives in the GTA.
           Time for us all to shake off the winter doldrums, improve mood, health, and energy, and maybe even start to implement our own courtesies at the gym.
           When you read this I will be back, hoping for dry sidewalks and the feel of spring air on my face. And I’m guessing...missing the gym rules!

Lynn Daigneault is a certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor and Older Adult Specialist, specializing in fitness for the active over-50 adult. She can be reached at lynnsfitnessforlife@gmail. com