The do’s and don’ts of Gym Etiquette – #marafun

In HOME by Sam Prance

#marafun is a feature in which novice marathon runner, Ellie Smith, will open your eyes to the trials and tribulations of long distance running. A word of caution – this feature will be prone to mood swings and short outbursts of intense self loathing. However, it will also cover the joys of exercise and whatever the weather, Ellie will still be running and writing…

There may not be a manual telling you how to behave in the gym but there are some definite do’s and don’ts. Unfortunately I am still quite badly injured and my left knee is stopping me from running for the time being. This means that I have spent an unhealthy and abnormal amount of time in the gym, christening it as my new home for the foreseeable future. I am less than thrilled by this prospect. For one, my gym does not offer complimentary towels; there is no fancy lighting which magically makes you lose ten pounds; the pungent aroma of eau de sweat is offensive and I do not want to listen to One Direction on repeat. Ever.

1418170_10203410510408479_1637878422_nI have developed a complex. An irrational hatred towards my fellow gym-goers. I apologise for the rant but it’s time to lay down the laws of the land.


1. Wear appropriate gym wear. Once upon a time, women wore painfully restrictive one-piece spandex leotards; men wore offensively tight lycra shorts and had better cleavages than the women and it was all about flashing that upper thigh. That was 30 years ago and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. There will be plenty of time to show off all your hard work in the gym…but save it for summer.

2. Wear deodorant. But lay off on the perfume and cologne.

3. A little less conversation, a little more action please. Wise words from Elvis and it’s called the sweatbox for a reason.

4. Know how to use the machines. If you don’t then ask. There is no shame in asking the people who work in the gym for help. Ladies: don’t be afraid of crossing over to the dark side and using the weight machines. Just ask for a bit of help and bam. Bingo wings banished!

5. WASH! Personal hygiene has regressed recently. People of Edinburgh kindly address this issue. Turning up to the gym doused in a heady mix of beer, smoke and sweat is unpleasant. Not washing your gym clothes is also unpleasant. Not showering after you workout. Yep, it’s still pretty unpleasant for all your fellow gym bunnies.


1. Not wiping down your machine. Sharing is caring but not when it comes to sweat.

2. Stare. ‘Looking’s for free, touching’s gonna cost you’ (The Gospel according to Will Ferrell). But the gym is the one time you get to indulge your vanity and look in the mirror for as long as you want. You are just perfecting your squat technique right?! So focus on yourself and go easy on the ogling.

3. Get too close. Don’t ask me why but if there are free machines then don’t choose the machine next to someone already working out. Same goes for mat space. Give people room to breathe and avoid an unwanted limb in the face.

4. Going to the gym when you are ill. Please keep your germs to yourself.

5. Bring the phone to the gym. Unless you have got Ryan Gosling on the other end of the phone then put it away. This week I was held up for a few minutes whilst a charming young lady sent a Snapchat of herself on the cross trainer to her entire contact list. There’s a time and a place people.

PicturesRant over. Maybe I should see someone and sort out my anger issues. Warning to all: if you see me in the gym, leave a safe distance, don’t make any sudden movements and approach with caution.

This week I hosted a Pancake Day Fundraiser for about 50 people in my flat. I spent the afternoon making enough batter for 200 pancakes and spent the evening flipping, frying and cursing them. A massive thank you to Sophia Ahmadi, who was an absolute superstar and helped me to raise £270! Thank you to all who came and for their generosity. I’m well on my way to my £2,000 target and it gives me the extra incentive to train knowing that people have given up their money for a charity so close to my heart.

Pictures1My power playlist for the gym this week:

1. Sunblock – I’ll Be Ready

2. Teedra Moses – Be Your Girl

3. 50 Cent ft. Mobb Deep – Outta Control

4. Klangkarussell – Sonnentanz

5. Duck Sauce – Anyway

I’m off to the gym and am going to try a spin class this week. I’ve heard its hell but I am always up for a dose of self inflicted pain. I’m still off caffeine and I progressively hate myself more and more for suggesting this idea to the flat. No one has caved yet which shows that it’s always a case of mind over matter.

Another week and another pearl of wisdom:

Don’t look pretty to exercise. Exercise to look pretty.

Ellie Smith

Ellie Smith is 20 years old and she is currently studying French and Spanish at the University of Edinburgh. Ellie has a sense of humour similar to that of an immature ten year old boy and sites Blades of Glory as one of the best films ever made. She is obsessed with Russia, Mini Eggs and Ryan Gosling. The Holy Trinity in her eyes.

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