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So what is it with gyms here?

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Aaagh, I need to vent a little here, and ask for some German help...

 

I've been going to gyms for many many years in various countries.  Everywhere else I've been, it is a common, accepted practice that when you are working out on a machine, while resting between sets you free up the machine for use by other gym members rather than occupying it listening to your music for five minutes doing nothing.  Of course sometimes you have to ask people to allow you to "work in", but often this is not even necessary; in any event people generally have no problem letting you use the machine.

 

Here, things seem rather different:  I've never seen anyone voluntarily free up a machine between sets, and instead they will sit there forever "resting"...the few times I've asked people to work in, they look at me as if I've asked them something shocking.  This morning at the gym all four of the machines I wanted to use were occupied by people resting...they would occasionally do a 30 second set and then rest for another several minutes.  Finally I gave up in disgust and left.

 

I have no problem going to use another type of machine if the ones I want to use are actually in use--but I consider it very inconsiderate when people occupy these machines for 15-20 minutes while working out for about 5 minutes.  

 

For the German lesson, what is the most polite way to ask people to "work in"?  What about a slightly more snarky (but still polite) variant for when the occasion demands?

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Just think of the German habit of reserving sun loungers with their beach towels, and you have your answer ;)

 

Try being friendly and chatty towards the "resting" people. If somebody feels they know you, they are far more likely to be accomodating than if some stranger simply comes along and causes a stink because he cannot work out on his favourite machine as soon as he comes through the door!

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My experience is that many people spend more time in the gym exercising their fingers (on smartphones) than on the machines.

Some month back there was a guy sat on one machine engrossed with reading his tablet - so long it must have been a book or something.  Finally I offered him a chair if he really wanted to concentrate on his text.  He woke out of his daze, muttered about "one last session" & was off the macine within 60 seconds.

 

The gym has a Sitzecke as well!

 

Anyhow - one is supposed to rest for 30 - 60 seconds between actions on a machine.  Not 5 minutes.

 

What also gets me is people who "reserve" two machines & move between the two.

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1 minute ago, HEM said:

What also gets me is people who "reserve" two machines & move between the two.

Yeah, I've seen that too, although not very often.  But generally if there is a towel on a machine and no one around I will move the towel and start using the machine, assuming that someone has forgotten their towel.

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Sometimes when I see the guy move to another machine but leaving his towel I run after him "you forgot your towel" - "But I'm using that machine" - "No you are using this one"...

 

Sarcasm is lost on this sort.

 

But to go back to Robinson's sun bed analogy - its like the folks who reserve several sun beds  "in beste Lage" at the pool before breakfast, then return to spread more towels, go to the beach all day & in evening come back, collect the towels & release the sun beds!

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15 minutes ago, robinson100 said:

If somebody feels they know you, they are far more likely to be accomodating than if some stranger simply comes along and causes a stink because he cannot work out on his favourite machine as soon as he comes through the door!

Thanks for your feedback, but honestly I find it a very alien concept--friendly and chatty are fine (although chatty is challenging given my level of German), but surely most of the people in the gym are strangers, and that is no reason to behave in an inconsiderate manner?  Also, for the record, I don't expect to work out on a particular machine "as soon as I come through the door"; I have no problem waiting if the machines are actually in use, but if not...

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3 minutes ago, HEM said:

But to go back to Robinson's sun bed analogy - its like the folks who reserve several sun beds  "in beste Lage" at the pool before breakfast, then return to spread more towels, go to the beach all day & in evening come back, collect the towels & release the sun beds!

OK, but I am not a beach/sun-bathing person so can't say that I've ever encountered this practice, or judge whether it is peculiar to Germany.

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Just now, naberlin said:

... most of the people in the gym are strangers, and that is no reason to behave in a considerate manner.

 

- fixed it for you!

 

sorry Naberlin, but not everybody shares your opinion!

 (although I actually do!)

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7 minutes ago, robinson100 said:

sorry Naberlin, but not everybody shares your opinion!

 (although I actually do!)

heh, understood, although as a long-time gym-goer, I find these blatant breaches of sacred gym etiquette quite annoying...

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I don't go to the gym much but my experience here is yes, people sit on the machine for longer than they work out and if anyone comes along that they know, they will sit on the machine while chatting for half an hour.

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53 minutes ago, HEM said:

 

Anyhow - one is supposed to rest for 30 - 60 seconds between actions on a machine.  Not 5 minutes.

 

 

If you are lifting heavy 30-60 seconds is way to short. 5 minutes is a bit long but still pretty normal.

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1 hour ago, naberlin said:

Here, things seem rather different:  I've never seen anyone voluntarily free up a machine between sets, and instead they will sit there forever "resting"...the few times I've asked people to work in, they look at me as if I've asked them something shocking.  This morning at the gym all four of the machines I wanted to use were occupied by people resting...they would occasionally do a 30 second set and then rest for another several minutes.  Finally I gave up in disgust and left.

 

I have no problem going to use another type of machine if the ones I want to use are actually in use--but I consider it very inconsiderate when people occupy these machines for 15-20 minutes while working out for about 5 minutes.  

This happened all the time to me in the States and would drive me nuts; however, it was only men who would do this.  Going to Fitness First Women eliminated that problem immediately :lol:  

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1 hour ago, naberlin said:

Of course sometimes you have to ask people to allow you to "work in", but often this is not even necessary; in any event people generally have no problem letting you use the machine.

 

Here, things seem rather different:  I've never seen anyone voluntarily free up a machine between sets,

 

To me it seems to be standard here to ask how many sets are left, most people will then offer you to work in (unless it's their last set or they're working in pairs already). Some won't - that's when I ask to work in, and most have no problem with that (or don't feel comfortable declining a polite direct request). A few do, citing short pause (acceptable) or "oh no having to change some setting" (********* - the only "setting" I'm not very eager to change is the height of a heavy bar on the squat rack - all else is easily done), in that case either wait or move on.

 

59 minutes ago, HEM said:

Sometimes when I see the guy move to another machine but leaving his towel I run after him "you forgot your towel" - "But I'm using that machine" - "No you are using this one"...

 

Sarcasm is lost on this sort.

 

Using 2 machines is pefectly acceptable if doing, for instance, supersets - just don't do it in rush hour and if someone asks, let them work in.

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5 minutes ago, msam said:

To me it seems to be standard here to ask how many sets are left, most people will then offer you to work in (unless it's their last set or they're working in pairs already). Some won't - that's when I ask to work in, and most have no problem with that (or don't feel comfortable declining a polite direct request). A few do, citing short pause (acceptable) or "oh no having to change some setting" (********* - the only "setting" I'm not very eager to change is the height of a heavy bar on the squat rack - all else is easily done), in that case either wait or move on.

I have never seen anyone (other than myself) ask anyone to work in at my gym in Berlin, and as mentioned, the few times I've done so I've been met with something akin to shock.

Of course the "one more set" exception is also a completely normal component of what I consider to be standard gym etiquette, but the "change settings" excuse generally is not, although as you point out there could be exceptions for particularly laborious changes.

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I have never used a gym in Germany (as I left Germany quite some time ago), but this is a phenomenon I often experience in the place where I live. I also often have the feeling that more apparatuses are occupied by people who are just resting ...

 

As the TO asked what to say in German, I would simply say:

"Kann ich bitte das Geraet benuetzen solange Sie eine Pause machen? Ich brauche nur ein paar Minuten"

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Thai said:

"Kann ich bitte das Geraet benuetzen solange Sie eine Pause machen? Ich brauche nur ein paar Minuten"

Cool, helpful, thanks.

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You will have to live with it because that's the way it is done here. Asking how long it will take to release the machine is totally OK. But asking to use it during the breaks will not bring much, most people will think you are crazy and very impolite. Specially in gyms where cleaning the machine after use is a requirement.

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I would ask the employees to talk to the people.

Some years ago I asked a woman to stop using they mobile. It was annoying and forbidden.

She went ballistic.

When I talked to the employees they said that I should ask them to solve the problem and don't talk to the people directly.

 

I always wondered, why people need water if they almost do nothing except talking.

Now I understand that talking dries you mouth so you have to drink.

 

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I don't think it is peculiar to Germany, but people hogging the library desks while they disappear to lunch for an hour is annoying.

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