Recently I hooked you all up with some really cool fitness giveaways and I was very excited to be a part of that. Unfortunately, it was brought to my attention much to my own horror that I'd put the wrong link for my download page and so many of you may not have been able to successfully get my eBooklet.

Hence, therefore, and thusly, I am posting that link here for you to download and this time it should be right. I profusely apologize. Please contact me immediately if you have any further problems procuring it.

It's all about how to use the basic gym equipment that's found in most gyms properly, safely, and effectively! And best of all, it's free!

Speaking of the gym...I must admit that I swiped this month's newsletter from one of the articles I wrote for my weekly Fitness Column in the Vincennes SunConnect. I felt it was so relevant that it deserved a publication in the Straightforward Fitness Flash. So, without further are a few tips on proper behavior in the gym.

GYM ETIQUETTE-Making Everyone’s Workout Experience Better

Once was a time when only Arnold Schwarzenegger and muscle-bound men like Arnold populated a few sweaty and sparsely furnished gyms in the scary part of town where no women or weaklings dare tread. Not so much the case anymore. What with all the 24-hour gyms and fitness centers that abound and the realization that everyone should strength train, no matter what gender or fitness level, it’s a veritable free-for-all as far as who you’ll see in the gym at any given moment.

Aunt Nelly may come in right after quilting class and construction worker Tom may hit the gym straight after work and all of a sudden you have two worlds colliding that couldn’t be more opposite if you tried. Everybody needs to be considerate of each other or some tension could result. Know what I mean? So my question simply is this: Can’t we all just get along?

With that in mind, here are a few rules to keep you in good standing with your fellow fitness enthusiasts, no matter what walk of life you hail from.
  • Always rack your weights when finished. If you put plates on a bar or machine, remember to put them back when you are done with that bar or machine.
  • Put dumbbells or barbells back where they belong when finished with them.
  • If you need help, feel free to ask gym personnel for help; however, if you see a personal trainer working with somebody, there is a good chance that person has paid the trainer for an allotted amount of time and you should not interrupt them.
TIP: A big clue for this is if the one doing the instructing is carrying a clipboard and keeping a record of what is being done. If so, it is probably a good idea to go to the office and ask if there is someone who can help you instead of interrupting them.
  • Carry a hand towel with you to the gym and always clean up after yourself, i.e., wipe machines down if you sweat on them. Sweating is a good thing, but please clean it up. Most fitness facilities have paper towels and spray bottles with disinfectant strategically placed around the gym for this reason. Especially in the cardio area, always wipe those machines down. It’s one thing to sit in a puddle of your own sweat, but an entirely different and disgusting thing to sit in someone else’s. Yuck! Wipe it down!
  • Few things are more aggravating than when you need a machine and someone is just sitting on it; whether they’re carrying on long conversations with other people between sets or just sitting there and resting, it is rude; so don’t do this. Do your set and exit the machine to stretch between sets and recuperate, and then return to the machine to perform your remaining set/sets.
  • When you need a machine that someone else is on, you should watch and wait until they are finished with their set. However, it is completely acceptable to ask if you can work in if they seem to be taking longer than a couple of minutes or are hoarding the machine for whatever reason. If it is a situation where they have a huge amount of weight loaded on the Smith machine, leg press, or barbells, you may want to move onto a different exercise and come back to this one when they are finished, or substitute another exercise altogether. This is bound to happen from time-to-time, so it is a good idea to try and be flexible.
For example: If there is only one EZ bar and a guy has it loaded up and is obviously doing several sets of biceps curls with it, you should not interrupt his routine. You may want to come back to the EZ bar when he is finished or do DB curls instead. You will need to use common sense and courtesy at times, especially in smaller gyms where equipment is limited.
  • Do not load up one machine and then go do several other exercises before coming back to that machine. This is so rude; especially when the gym is small and only has one machine of that type.
For example: A man loads up the only Smith machine in the facility with a couple hundred pounds and then roams the gym doing other exercises and periodically comes back to the Smith machine to do another set. He then goes off to do other exercises again and comes back several times to the Smith to do subsequent sets, all the time leaving the Smith loaded up. I have actually witnessed people hoard the Smith, EZ bars, and squat cages and such for nearly an hour at a time doing this. It is not fair to anybody else who has come in for their workout and wanted to do a couple of sets on that machine but couldn’t because someone was hoarding it.

These are just a few rules to get you started. In the end it all comes down to just being considerate of the other people in the gym. Is that too much to ask? I think not! Now, go to the gym, be nice, and have a great workout!

This is the part of the newsletter where I picture an exercise and give explicit instructions on its proper execution.

Try this twist on a basic dumbbell chest press! This exercise is probably already a staple in your routine but by adding this turn you'll get a much better burn! So let's brush up on that form, shall we?

Swiss Ball Side Raises
Primary Muscle Group Worked:
Oblique muscles. (Side abs).
Secondary Muscle Groups Worked in this Exercise: Abdomen and oblique muscles.

To see a video of this exercise go to: Swiss Ball Side Raises

Preparation: Kneel sideways to the wall about a foot away from the wall with an exercise ball at your side as shown. Bend leg closest to the ball at a 90 degree angle and position your body sideways across the ball with hands just below ears. Nearly straighten the other leg and lodge it against the wall for balance.

Execution: Exhale as you bend at the torso up towards the wall as far as you can and pause and return to the straight torso position. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.

HEREIN LIES THE CHALLENGE: The hard part about this is finding the right position. It's easy to get the ball too far under the armpit or too far under the hip. Either of those makes doing the exercise feel awkward and difficult. However, find the right spot and you just know it! It really hits the waistline like no other! This is tricky, so focus and remember practice makes perfect.

TIP: Once you find the sweet spot, stay on that side until you've done all your sets before swithing positions for the other side.

Okay, peeps! This is the inspirational part of the newsletter known as the "Ponder Pond" where you're welcome to take a swim in the sweet waters of inspiration.

This month's video is the perfect example of love and friendship that is blind to prejudice and preconceived dogma (pun intended) that would otherwise deem this relationship impossible. Is that sweeeeeet or what?!?!

Well, that's about it for this time! I hope you enjoyed this month's newsletter and until the next issue, may the wind be at your back and improved health and vitality your new reality!

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please feel free to pay it forward to anyone you think would like it too. That is the best compliment you could ever pay me, and I appreciate it very, very much.

And don't forget to tell everybody about where they can get all the free fitness info their heart desires and sign up for this newsletter while they are there.

From my heart to your health,

Linda Burke, CPT

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