If you do not do these 4 things, it’s pointless how much iron you pump.

I go to the gym because nature did not vest me with the genes to effortlessly let me wear whatever I like.

That turned out to be a blessing because beyond allowing me to look decent, the gym is my temple for physical and emotional health. It is also a good place to people-watch and get an occasional burst of inspiration.

Just like the muse that moved me to write this, which I have been eager to write for a while now.

When I first started visiting my current gym, I thought other gym members did these things on purpose. I now think most don’t know any better.

It is not my intent to come across as snooty, but I ask that you ponder on this: my gym is rather upscale, with a rather expensive membership. A modicum of social skills from its members is more than expected.

I will go out on a limb and at the risk of sounding condescending, I will let them in to the 4 things they are doing that detract from the humongous effort vested on their 5-day per week, 2-hr workouts. Since I am a woman, I may erroneously seem that my observations are only directed at men.

However, they are equally applicable to women.

Chewing gum. Nothing, nothing, nothing detracts from a person’s elegance more than chewing gum. Even the most handsome, attractive, well-dressed man chewing gum will look like a goat.

To bolster this argument just ponder on this for a minute: can you fathom Daniel Craig, Denzel Washington, Christian Bale, Jason Momoa or any other godly human specimen like them chewing gum in public? Of course not!

(On the flipside, could you conceive of Audrey Hepburn, Princes Di, Catherine Zeta-Jones or Jackie O chewing gum?) Then again, only one of those icons of elegance that came to mind is alive.

Even if in today’s world where most women aspire to emulate Kim Kardashian, we all have to admit chewing gum just looks plain cheap.

The most outrageous example of how chewing-gum can trash anyone’s elegance materialized itself years ago watching a couple dancing tango. I was mesmerized with the sync of their feet doing the ochos and their giros, and the way the man swept her across the dance floor in traveling ochos. She seemed to hover over the floor. When they finished in an expertly executed cuarta, my bubble burst. She was chewing gum. She managed in a microsecond to ruin that perfect moment of absolute admiration of her elegance and dexterity on what is a very difficult dance to master.

I still admire her talent. However, I wonder if she realized how the gum-chewing detracted from her ultimate goal as a tango expert of projecting elegance and class.

For me, the chewing-gum habit in a man is a deal-breaker. I will not even bother to get to know a man that chews gum. Period.

If your goal is to look your very best — and I am certain that is why you endure so much pain at the gym instead of lounging in front of the TV binge-watching Netflix — drop the gum. Buy mints instead.

Stampeding out of the elevator. In their hurry to get to the last available spinning bike in class or treadmill, men fail to wait in the elevator, hold the door open for the very last woman to exit prior to them doing so.

This detracts from the most awesome set of biceps as it demonstrates one of two things. To wit: the guy has no manners or he is too selfish to put them into practice. Either way, there is no face or 6-pack that will keep a person worth their weight in gold interested in a long-term relationship when basic manners are lacking.

There are many online resources to learn Manners 101. It takes little effort, and it will make those long hours at the gym look even better. Beyond learning how to use cutlery at a fancy restaurant, look up basic pleasantries and behaviors that denote you could be a chivalrous knight in shining armor.

Slamming door on anyone’s face. This one seems to fall into the lousy manners category but it goes beyond that. In the same rush that causes men to run out of the elevator before women, most people don’t bother holding the door open for others. God forbid they have to wait 3 seconds for the person that they left behind in the elevator to make it to the door.

When you slam the door on someone’s face, you negate their very existence. Without so much as one word, you carry the message that their existence is not important to others. Beyond innocent disregard, it can be perceived as the ultimate act of contempt.

While I am at this, I might as well mention that it is equally important to thank the person that holds the door open for you. I find it that one-third of the persons for whom I open the door (with a genuine smile), do not say thank-you.

Please understand: you are not entitled to kindness from others. Others offer kindness because it’s who they are, or because it feels good. Make sure to express gratitude when others are kind to you.

A compassionate person will always have persons that will seek to be around them. Because it feels good to be around people that ooze kindness.

Besides, kindness habit works its way into your spirit and softens your facial expression, extending the time between Botox sessions.

Next time on your way to the gym, instead of rushing for the counter, try to get there early so that you can leisurely open the door for anyone that comes behind. It will make you look so much better. It could also give you a reason to conclude at the end of the day that you did indeed do something to rise above the person you were when you woke up that morning.

RBF. Although the term “Resting Bitch Face” was coined for women, it has now been widely accepted that men also engage in the same facial expression.

Moreover, while making stressed facial expressions is inherent to the process of pumping iron itself, there is no reason for staying in that mode between sets.

Smiling is the only known antidote to the RBF. It costs nothing and makes you look so much more attractive.

I am not talking the ulterior-motive, side-curled lip smile that precedes a dating attempt.

I am referring to the genuine, honest smile that comes from the heart. A smile without any other motivation than to express your contentment and extend others your empathy.

The one that has known to be the single most determinative feature that makes a person fall for another.

The one that inspired a wise man that I once hear to say that love begins with a smile, grows with kisses, and dies with tears.

Countless studies have concluded that smiling also makes you seem healthier. Isn’t that the ultimate goal you seek when you spend hours working out, sweating, looking at yourself in the mirror, pumping those muscles until they ache?

Turns out smiling could be the best, no-cost accessory that can enhance your appearance and complement your healthy, athletic, attractive body.

Battling these four undesirable habits are free and take minimal effort on your part. Yet, the rewards are beyond measure.

Failing to work at eradicating these four bad patterns from your behavior will substantially detract from your goal of becoming a more appealing person to others. Defeating what I assume to be your ultimate goal of going to the gym in the first place.

Don’t you wish that after the word ‘hot’, everyone’s description of you continued with the words “sweet, elegant and classy”?

Puerto Rican mother, attorney, warrior & survivor; fighting for equal environmental rights, one pipe at a time”. “Mi nada, a nadie se lo debo.” Julia de Burgos.

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