Sport

Things gyms need to stop immediately

The modern gym: Sporting sanctuary. Ground zero for fitness gains. Our trusty ally when battling the bulge.

Or is it? 

While our local gym is indeed a fortress of possibility, spend enough time in one and you'll learn they're incomprehensibly irritating, too. Stocked full of juiced-up gym addicts, disconcerting smells and the type of bloodcurdling screams more common in a sex dungeon, it's enough to send you straight to the nearest fast food joint.

But, fret not; all is not lost. Here we point out the fundamental flaws of the 21st century gym and, more importantly, some custom-built solutions.

Let us know your own gym peeves on Twitter @Shortlist

Annoying padlock rules

Just when thought it was safe to travel with a returnable quid in your tracksuit pocket, the gym changing room suddenly transforms into Fort Knox. And if requiring a padlock isn't suitably irritating, just when you buy your own shiny, four-digit code contraption, all of a sudden lockers open with key cards. It's a damned conspiracy.

SOLUTION

No more lockers - gym goers to wear everything (three-piece suit, smart shoes, overcoat etc) on the gym floor. It may not be comfortable, but the added calorie burn benefits are obvious.

Trainers that are more pick up artists than PT

In the same way that sharks can detect a single drop of blood in an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a personal trainer can sniff out gym-goers not signed up to one-on-one tuition from 10-miles away. We're not saying PT sessions represent bad value (quite the opposite is true), we're more concerned with their creepy, gym floor salesmanship that's reminiscent of a cheesy pick-up artist.

SOLUTION

Like a Freshers' Week traffic light party, wearing a green T-shirt says "Please approach, Mr Trainer". Yellow equals "Best wait until pay day, pal" and red screams, "Start a conversation and I call the police." Problem solved.

Being stingy with towels

We're often told gold and platinum are among the most precious materials on Earth but, visit any high street gym, you'll quickly learn it's cotton. If you're lucky enough to be bestowed with a towel upon arrival, it better become a Swiss Army fabric, as whether mopping your sweaty brow or drying your soggy calves, procuring another requires the crafty guile of a bank robber. 

SOLUTION

Um, unlimited free towels forever? If a gym's purse strings are so tight they can't afford it, they've likely got weightier issues than cotton.

See-through showers

Open plan, misty-pane showers might've looked nifty on an architect's drawing pad, but the sad reality is a lot of sheepish folk cupping their private areas with one eye trained on the door. The sole motivation for a lot of many a regime is the blind hope they'll look better naked, so why remind us we're nowhere near it, while simultaneously pointing it out to every other person in the room?

SOLUTION

Cubicles. Opaque ones. Preferable with doors that lock. It's not exactly Sudoko.

Fad fitness classes

Though it sounds like a hilarious piece of satire, dog yoga - or, if you prefer 'doga' - is very, frighteningly real. File this next to broga (yoga for men with a masculinity complex), karaoke spinning or any number of nonsensical fads trying to capture the zeitgest on a gym floor. We suspect 'Pokemon Go-ga' isn't far away.

SOLUTION

A referendum on each new gym class. Because referendums are great and never, ever go wrong... right guys?

Unsolicited advice

It's one thing for a qualified instructor to advise on your deadlift form - to prevent you snapping your spine like a Digestive biscuit - but a random dude with his cap on backwards and erect nipples poking through a vest? Something else entirely. 

SOLUTION

Gyms to introduce coffee shop-style cards, with a stamp per piece of unwanted advice. Got five? Congratulations, here's a lifetime ban.

Allowing people to slam weights on the floor

Time under tension equals an increase in both strength and muscle. Lugging a dumbbell to shoulder height before abandoning it like an unwanted child does not, and is also floor-judderingly annoying. If you're not 100% confident you can place a weight down with the poise and grace you would a priceless vase, then maybe you shouldn't pick it up.

SOLUTION

Glass floors. That'll teach 'em.

Unnecessary changing room nudity

We’ve all seen him. The naked person blow-drying their private parts and getting a little too intimate with a tube of moisturiser. Science is yet to conclusively prove how he can be at every single gym simultaneously around the UK, and yet there he is, refusing to get dressed, right next to your locker. 

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Swimming pool attendants who look like they’d rather be anywhere else

Listen, we get it, you watched Baywatch as a kid, thought being a lifeguard would guarantee a lifetime pass of mouth-to-mouth from Pam Anderson types and that you'd look swell in a pair of tight red shorts. I'm truly sorry that instead you're overseeing a Slough swimming pool. But when I'm doing my pitiful breast stroke and you're giving me the stink eye, it sort of stops me becoming the Second Coming of Michael Phelps. 

SOLUTION

Robot lifeguards. No further explanation needed.

Grunting

This is not Centre Court at Wimbledon, and you are not Serena Williams. Also, the "heavy metal" you just haphazardly lugged above your head weighs less than your bottle of Lucozade. So, y'know, shhhh.

SOLUTION

Individuals with 22 Grand Slams or more are permitted to bellow like an ox in labour, and individuals with 22 Grand Slams or more alone.

Allowing people to eat full meals on the gym floor

Water: good.

Protein shake: acceptable.

A triple-decked chicken sandwich loaded with spinach, onion and avocado: not even once.

SOLUTION

Airport style security upon arrival. Vending machines... on the way out.

People ogling other gym goers or, worse, themselves

The gym is not Tinder. Or last orders on a Friday night. While it is true you might share interests with the girl that squats the same amount as you weigh, however you are covered in sweat, stink like a wheelie bin and are in clothing that reveals precisely how cold it is outside. It's not a good look. And as for the egomaniacs that flex their muscles in the mirror and livestream leg day on Snapchat: you realise everybody hates you, right?

SOLUTION

Gyms to remove mirrors, be encased in reinforced concrete (to scramble phone signal) and insist every member wears a gum shield at all times. Try chatting now, creepo.