There’s a subject very near and dear to my heart: racks, where you’re supposed to return your weights after using them at the gym. For all you gym-goers who use free weights, you know what a problem this is. If you’ve started uncomfortably sweating right now, chances are, you’re one of the people who doesn’t re-rack the weights after using them. This is for you. There is only one solution to cure this misplaced weight plate/dumbbell/kettlebell epidemic, a solution that can’t be taken lightly: actually returning the weights to the racks when you’re done using them.
Did you feel the planet shift beneath your feet? See the birds fall out of the sky? Me neither. That’s because this solution is not ground-breaking. Actually, it’s rather obvious. As a child, my mother taught me to return my toys to the shelf when I was done playing with them. It’s the rambunctious kids who didn’t respect their play space who grow up to leave their big-kid toys littered around the gym floor. Do they know the mess they make? Do they understand that there are other gym-goers who may not be strong enough to remove plates from the bars where they’re sloppily left?
Their behavior could be intentional. They might be leaving their weights around out of the kindness of their hearts, knowing there are others who need to lift more to enhance their workouts. It could also be a scheme to claim territory; if one surrounds himself or herself with weights, others are unlikely to breach their area. Or, these non-weight-returners could be lazy. After finishing a set, all they want to do is remove themselves from the mechanisms that made them work. Or it could be the pre-workout. Have you read the side effects? That stuff can be lethal. I once met a guy who could only see directly in front of him for two days straight after taking too many scoops.
Change is never easy, especially with such a weighty problem. But if free-weighters re-rack their weights, change will happen. Let me serve a heaping pile of reality on your weight plate: just because change isn’t easy doesn’t mean it’s inherently bad. This change will allow everyone to find specific weights faster, giving them more time to work on their fitness goals. This change will bring a neater floor, maximizing mobility and safety from machine to shining machine. This change will reduce raging blood pressure levels caused by not being able to find the weights one wants, and will instead allow one’s blood pressure to rise as they do their sets on the readily available weights. There will be no pain in this modification of behavior, only mad gains.
Imagine a gym where each weight plate hangs on its designated bar. Each dumbbell, after use, goes home to its snug crevice between its neighbors. Each kettlebell sits on its rack, waiting to be used again. The floor is devoid of clutter except the name brand sneakers of the upper-body lifters and the scuffed Converse of the leg folk. The mirrors gleam in the setting sun, and the sweat on your biceps twinkles like the stars as you curl the dumbbells you found on the rack. This doesn’t have to be a figment of our imagination. This is the re-rack revolution.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.