Astoundingly, via Google I wasn't able to find a reference to the most important bit of weight training etiquette every buff woman who frequents an athletic club needs to know:
Do not, repeat, do not, leave a higher weight on a machine or piece of equipment than the senior citizen men in the weight room can handle themselves.
This has bothered me for a long time. Today I learned that I'm not alone. Clearly, the time has come to educate women about proper weight training etiquette -- other than the obvious, like here, here, and here.
This afternoon I chatted with a fellow geezer older gentleman at the River Road Courthouse Athletic Club here in Salem, Oregon. Somehow, in our rambling time-to-kill retired conversational way, we got to talking about how nice it is to see attractive fit young women work out in the weight room, yet how irritating it is when we plop down at a machine (I don't do free weights) after an Attractive FIt Young Woman has just used it and find that we need to adjust the weight downward.
Look, it's tough enough getting old without this added aggravation.
I enjoy getting a Social Security check every month, but that's just about the only glistening part of the so-called "Golden Years" that I can identify. So please, Attractive Fit Young Women, take pity on your elders of the male persuasion.
If you are working out in a room with a gray-haired man who is doing his best to keep himself from falling apart physically more than he already is, shift the weights on the machine you've finished pumping iron on down to a petite, feminine level.
Thirty pounds, say, for an upper body machine. I'll allow you more on a lower body machine, since women tend to be proportionately stronger in that area -- maybe up to 80 pounds.
That way, the good-looking, distinguished, charismatic, slim, 60-something man (why, I could almost be describing myself) who follows in your weight-training footsteps won't feel mortified when he discovers that an Attractive Fit Young Woman can kick his butt on the machine he's about to use.
Admittedly, this doesn't happen very frequently to me. But once is too often. So ladies, don't be like the woman who crushed my male ego last week.
The warning signs were obvious, in retrospect. She looked like a female version of the buff young guys who venture into the machine room at the athletic club to work on some aspect of their near-perfect anatomy that, apparently, can't be improved by the free weights which usually demand their attention.
She was wearing gloves, a tip-off of a serious weight trainer. Her makeup was spot-on; her workout attire form-revealing without being excessively flashy. She was slender, yet not skinny. A short-sleeved top revealed biceps that I'd gladly trade for.
I should have known what to do when I sat down at the "back" machine she'd just used: pull out the pin that determines how much weight is being lifted without looking at where she'd had it, then put back the pin at the 150 pound level that I typically use (I could handle more weight, for sure, but choose not to; wanted to get that aside in to fend off any comments along the line of You're a weenie!; to which I'd maturely reply, Saying so doesn't make it so and Takes one to know one, just like I did in third grade).
Instead, I sat down, glanced at the stack of weights, and thought "Oh, screw me! She just did a bunch of reps at 150 pounds, like I'm about to do." Geez. I'm six feet, 180 pounds. Ms. Attractive Fit Young Woman appeared to be about 5' 4" and 120.
She ruined my day. Ruined it. Well, part of it. OK, a tiny bit of it, because I spent the rest of my workout rationalizing away her ability to push the same amount of weight with her back muscles as I can.
Probably just did a few hyper-intense reps at her upper weight limit. Lower back strength is no big deal; who cares? Maybe she lifted at a lower weight and then put the pin back at a level for us macho men to use.
All that rationalizing took energy, though. I needed a longer nap once I got home. So have compassion, women: be aware that whenever you leave a high weight in place at an athletic club, you could be crushing a senior citizen male ego.