The Wellness Center’s Unwritten Rules

The Wallman Wellness Center is one of the busiest places at North Dakota State. Hundreds of students walk through the doors each day to workout. While NDSU produces a 29-page Policies and Procedures Manual, it gets as many reads as the Apple Terms and Service agreement.

The culture inside the Wellness Center is dominated by a bevy of unwritten rules. While some of these rules fall fairly in line with their written counterparts, they are often taken to a greater degree. Nonetheless, the unwritten rules are perhaps the most important part of the Wellness Center.

People on their phones

As parents enjoy to say, kid these days are always on their phones. At the Wellness Center, most people have their phone on them, mainly to crank up the tunes to help get through the workout.

However, some still get distracted by their phone while working out.

“It is totally fine to send a quick text,” said Chris Veith, a senior in Criminal Justice. “But if you are sitting on your phone looking on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, don’t do it forever between sets.”

Katherine Millette, a junior in Biological Science agreed.

“If you are resting between sets, you can take a selfie, text your friend,” said Millette. “But if it goes for 10 minutes when you are just sitting on your phone, you should just leave.”

While the social media craze pops up at the Wellness Center, it is phone calls that can become very disruptive.

“If you need to take a call, go somewhere else to take a call,” said Veith. “You can do it in the hallway away from everyone else, especially if it is a personal call with a significant other or a friend.”


One of the reasons that it is a bad idea to take a phone call in the Wellness Center is because it is quite loud. The hustle and bustle of people getting their workouts in is not a quiet event, and there is one noise that is extremely common in the weight room.


The science tends to agree that grunting can increase power, sometimes it can go over the top.

“When you are doing a lot of weight, grunting can actually help what you are doing. But it gets to a point when is gets excessive,” said Millette.

“Just breath. If you are screaming, you need to lower the weight,” added Veith. “Your body doesn’t need to make noise. The loudest noise that should be made if you are dead lifting, power clean or snatch, is the dropping the weights.”

The scientific community is still out when it comes to if the volume of the noise brings a comparative increase in power but is reasonable to assume that you don’t need to scream when lifting.

The loud grunts “aren’t necessary. It gets a little awkward for everyone else,” said Millette.

Group lifting

One of the best way to workout is with a group of friends. However, large groups can cause issues when it comes to lifting.

“It is totally fine if you are in a group of two or three, that’s fine,” said Veith. “But, it shouldn’t take you 30-35 minutes for a group to do a lift.”

Different types of workouts are more conducive than others, as Millette points out.

“If you are doing a circuit, when one person goes and the other rests, its cool,” said Millette. “I say three is a good number to stop lifting as a group.”

Large groups can take a lot of time on a lift, which can cause inconvenience for one person who just wants to make a quick lift.

Curling in the squat rack

Large groups aren’t the only inconvenience to people who want to lift. In a busy weight room, not using the correct rack for the proper lift can cause more waits. One of the worse is using the squat racks to do curls.

“It is ridiculous, there are other places in the gym where you can do that,” noted Veith.

Indeed, there are. Curls can be done using dumbbells and can be done anywhere there is room. Doing them in the rack is nothing but a waste of space.

Weight hoarders

While the Wellness Center provides a wide variety of weights, at busy time, the finding the exact weight that is needed.

It gets worse when it is just one person who has enough weights for a group of people.

“You don’t like it when someone else is using the stuff you want to use. Obviously, people don’t like it when you are using something they want to use,” said Millette. “It is about respect. Don’t have six dumbbells when you are just using two of them.”

Moral of the story, take what you need, and but it back when you are done.

Walking on the running track

The unwritten rules don’t just apply to the lower level of the Wellness Center. On the running track, they are just as important. There, the most important is not to walk much on the track.

“If you are doing one or two laps walking just to rest, your fine. But more than that, there is a walking track on the second floor all you want,” said Veith.

With a high difference of speed, it becomes very difficult for the runners to avoid walkers, especially on a busy day.

“And don’t just stop in front of someone,” said Veith “If there are two people running side by side and both stop, there are times where I have had to jump off the track because they have just stopped.”

Walking two wide is the dumbest thing you could do on the running track, and maybe a collision is just what is needed to wake some people up.

“People need to understand there is a difference between the two,” commented Millette. “There is only a flight of stairs between them.

Watch your stare

One of the most obvious breaking of an unwritten rule is when a person begins to stare. Almost everyone has broken this rule at one point.

“I do that a lot, but it is often that I’m spacing out,” said Millette.

But not every stare is from spacing out. Sometimes, it is one person checking out another. Most often, this is a guy checking out a girl.

Crazy enough, there is a way to stop staring at that point.

“If you are a dude that likes a girl, maybe just go talk to her,” said Millette.

This can be taken as a bold strategy from a male perspective, but it might just work.

Judging people

For people who don’t frequent the Wellness Center, it can be a bit daunting place. Possible insecurities can be enough for one person not to go workout in public.

But one rule that should be strictly followed is not to judge anyone else. Millette was quite blunt with this fact.

“When people judge other people on their form or just because people are not that fit, it is like just stop. They are actually here kicking their ass while you are just talking shit. If you are going to talk shit, you can just leave,” she claimed.

Keeping an open mind to everyone is a great idea, because those are the people that are really putting in the effort to be there.

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