A REFRESHER COURSE IN GYM ETIQUETTE
SO you are new to the gym world (or it’s been a long time since you were in a gym) and you’re feeling a little uneasy about being in a new situation and new surroundings. Maybe the last time you were in a gym they didn’t have all these fancy machines and other equipment. You were expecting old fashioned barbells and dumbbells, maybe cable station or two. Surprise! Ever seen an adjustable dumbbell or barbell? Cardio equipment the size of some automobiles?
There is a lot to take in and a lot to learn. Where do I go? What do I do now? Am I doing this right? What are the rules around here?
Relax. The gym will provide you with a staff member or trainer to get you familiar with all the equipment and how to use it. Ask lots of questions; kick the tires, so to speak. They will also usually provide you with a list of the gym’s rules and safety precautions.
What about those often unwritten rules of gym etiquette? Almost everywhere you go there are unwritten rules of etiquette. Schools, restaurants, parties, stores, movie theaters….
The gym is no different. The more you know about the rules the more comfortable you will be. Don’t forget, everyone was new here at one time or another. Most are just plain common sense.
Actually, there are a lot of old gym rats that could use a refresher ………
· If you are sick stay home. No one wants your germs
· Don’t wear cologne or perfume or scented lotions.
· Do use deodorant and/or antiperspirant
· Wipe down the bench or machine you used. Many gyms provide antibacterial wipes located throughout the gym. Always carry a small gym towel if they don’t provide wipes or towels. It’s not a bad idea to wipe off the bench or machine before you use too.
· Don’t spit in the water fountain, the floor or anywhere else in the gym
· Report any broken or malfunctioning equipment to the staff immediately. Also report any spills, broken bottles or anything else that could be a danger.
· Don’t approach or interrupt anyone in the middle of their set
· Don’t walk within five or six feet of anyone in the middle of a lift or set
· Don’t use any equipment for any purpose other than what it was designed for
· Never sit on a bench or machine and text or talk on your phone
· Unless it is vital, leave your phone in the car or secured in your locker. If you must have it put it on vibrate
· Dress appropriately
· If you must have your phone do not leave it on a bench or equipment or on the floor unless you have it insured and you really, really, really want a new one.
· Do not rest between sets sitting on the machine or bench
· Don’t sing out loud with your IPOD. You’d be surprised how much this happens and the offender doesn’t even realize they are singing out loud!
· Obey the time limits posted on the cardio machines
· Keep your gym bag in your car or secured in your locker. They represent a safety hazard sitting on the floor and may also be perceived as a security hazard in this day and age. Take only the equipment you need to the floor.
· Re-rack your weights. This includes dumbbells and plates and any other gym equipment. If you could pick it up to use it you can damn well put it back in its proper place
· Never give unsolicited advice
· Don’t offer to spot anyone unless they ask you to. And learn how to properly spot another lifter
· Don’t mark your territory. Leaving a towel or anything else on a piece of equipment DOES NOT hold a space for you
· Never interrupt or attempt to talk to someone in the middle of their set
· Don’t walk between anyone performing a set and the mirror. Mirrors are there for form and safety
· Don’t try to start a conversation with anyone wearing head phones or ear buds. Wearing either is the same as a “Don’t talk to me “sign. If you must address them, get their attention visually from in front of them.
· Don’t train within 5 or 6 feet of a weight rack. Don’t block access to others to the equipment
· Don’t hog the equipment. If someone else is waiting for the equipment you are using offer to let them “work in” (the two of you alternate sets)
· Respect the areas of the floor designated for various kinds of exercise. Don’t put your mat down near dumbbell rack. Don’t take weights to the yoga mats. Don’t do pushups in the isle between cardio machines. The areas are not always marked but it’s usually pretty obvious.
· Honor the new guy.
· Don’t be a “Creeper”. There are sometimes some very attractive people in gyms. Sometimes it's hard not to look. But there is a difference between an admiring glance and acting like a stalker.
· DON’T CURL IN THE SQUAT RACK!
You will undoubtedly see other people in the gym making the mistakes listed above. Maybe they haven’t been educated in proper etiquette, maybe they are just jerks. Some may ever look like long time gym rats. That’s no excuse. The rules of common sense and courtesy apply to everyone.
One other thing; the only thing that will make you look more like a rookie than violating the rules of etiquette… Showing Off! Or I should say thinking you are showing off when actually you just making yourself look like a fool.
Example: A few weeks ago on a Saturday morning two very large men (and one very large woman) showed up at one of the gyms where I train. They proceed to try to max out every machine. All the while grunting, yelling and high-fiving each other. Finally they loaded all four of the bars on a vertical leg press with 45 pound plates. (probably 2000 pounds or so) Everyone glanced in their direction expecting to see a show.
They each then took their turn and with much fan fare and grunting, yelling and high-fiving proceeded to move the carriage AN ENTIRE SIX INCHES! We all had a good snicker and went back to our workouts. The moral of the story; DON”T BE A TOOL!
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