09/17/2011 11:11 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Answering Your Fitness Etiquette Questions

Welcome to Miss Fit -- an advice column from someone who is a bit of a non-conformist when it comes to health and exercise.

Dear Miss Fit,

What the hell do you do when you’re trying out a fitness class and really hate it and want to leave? I recently tried out a new studio class, and I was the only one in the class. The instructor really wasn’t paying attention to my alignment or making sure that I was doing the moves safely or effectively (she was more focused on doing the workout herself), and I really wanted to leave, but I didn’t, because it seemed rude. What should I have done?

–- Edie in New York

Sorry to say, but you should have stuck it out. If you were the only one in the class, then you could have done something that normally would be rude in a full class, which is to speak up loudly. I would have simply stopped and asked her to come watch your form and help you. There’s nothing wrong with asking for assistance –- especially when you could have turned it into a one-on-one session. Now, that’s not to say your teacher wasn’t completely in the wrong by doing her own workout and not focusing on you, because she was. Hopefully she’ll get the hint when you don’t return!

Dear Miss Fit,

I am just starting a weight-training program at the gym and am pretty weak. There is no way that I can lift the heavy weights that other people do, but when they leave their weights on the bar and go off to the next station, I am the one who has to take the heavy weights off. I already feel pretty self-conscious at the gym so I don’t want to attract any extra attention, but should I ask them to remove the weights or should I just suck it up and try to do it myself? Thank you.

-– Mary in Pittsburgh

Let me guess -– it’s some cocky muscle-head whose ego is almost as big as his grunts, right? You definitely should not allow him to do this. Why risk hurting yourself over someone else’s inconsiderateness? I would walk up to him with a smile and simply say, “Hey asshole, you forgot something.” No don’t do that. Simply say, “Hey, could you take your weights off please?” One reminder should do it. If he keeps “forgetting”, then let management know. A little tattling is OK from time to time.

Dear Miss Fit,

I am training for my first marathon and my friends are getting mad at me because I don’t go out on Friday nights with them anymore (I have to get up early on Saturdays for my long runs each week). This marathon is really important to me because I just lost a lot of weight, but my friends are making me feel guilty and selfish. I feel like an outcast now amongst them. Am I wrong to not join them?

–- Judy in Ohio

OK, here’s what you do: Tell your friends you will make a deal. You will go out with them Friday night (and secretly drink water while they down cocktails) IF they agree to get up the next morning and complete your 10- or 15-mile run with you. Of course you could always do the polite and expected thing like arrange to meet them for lunch the next day after your run or sit down and have a heart-to-heart with them about how important this goal is to you, but why bother when the first option sounds like so much more fun?

Have a question? Send us your dilemmas about feeling like a misfit when it comes to eating, fitness, going to the gym or dealing with yoga bitches, and Miss Fit will take a turn at answering them. With 10 years of trying to be a better athlete and testing her willpower at every turn, while coaching others to do the same, chances are she’s heard it all before and can share some wisdom.

To ask Miss Fit a question, email us at with “Miss Fit” in the subject line.

Related posts:

Dear Miss Fit: How To Handle Pushy Yoga Teachers And Other Fitness Etiquette Dilemmas
Dear Miss Fit: How To Handle Annoying Running Buddies, And Other Perils of Healthy Living
Gym Rant: Respect the Weight Training Line, Please Don’t Cut It
Gym Rant: The Pool Rules Apply to You, Too

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