I thought this would be a fun topic to dive into since there was recently a “controversy” over some CrossFit gyms implementing a ‘Shirts On’ policy. I’ll give my thoughts on this specific example, but I also think it opens up a discussion about general unspoken rules in the gym.
First, the shirts or no shirts debate. Personally, here in Minnesota, it gets rather humid in the summer and I often sweat an obnoxious amount after just demoing movements, so, I usually take my shirt off when training. Since I find it ok for me to do it I’m not going to say others can’t if they would like to also, but not everyone is comfortable enough with their bodies to “pop the top”.
Now this is where it gets tough because the question of ‘Does it make sense to have some people keep shirts on because others aren’t ok with taking them off?’ My stance is no as long as it’s appropriate and I wouldn’t implement it at Innerdrive. However, if a gym owner felt the policy would better their facility and/or community then I suggest they do it!
There is one last aspect to this that I have thought of before getting into chalk buckets and stuff. It’s a big matter of self confidence, and can be a big self esteem boost to certain people. I think if a lot of coaches thought about it they could think of a member who was that person that would never take a shirt off even after their grey shirt was black, but then there’s that day. It’s definitely hotter than usual, there’s probably lots of running, and it’s gonna be a long one, and at some point when that member comes back in the door the shirts gone, their using it as a towel, and their just doin work! To me that’s awesome because it speaks to something about being physically comfortable with who you are!
Alright now I think that since the rest of this can be pretty general that a general sentiment can sum it up. To me and many others the gym is a place to relax and get away, or even a second home, so please treat it like one. Simply putting stuff back where you got it from is tremendously helpful and much appreciated! If a block of chalk is taken out of the bucket just toss it back in, hang bands back up post WOD, and, most of all, encourage others as they finish up. The gym is an hour of people’s day to better themselves, relax, and have fun! Cheering on others and commending them on their efforts is part of the unspoken rules that makes CrossFit so welcoming!