Gym Etiquette: How to not be “That guy/girl” at the gym
Do you have proper Gym Etiquette? Think of the gym as an adult play ground, there is tons of equipment that ANYONE can use, different locations that offer different ways to play (i.e. train), and usually a grass/park area and/or a sand box for those who prefer to entertain themselves using a personal toy they brought or using one that the ply ground provides… If you can’t guess I’m alluding to the machine, free weights, and free space training areas in a gym. Just like a play ground you are supposed to be friendly and while making sure you get in your fun time you are also to be aware and accommodating of other people and not hog play structures or toys… or, you know, machines and equipment.
Here are some of the biggest pet peeves of gym goers, use this as a list of things NOT to do.
Don’t be a creeper
Although I’m sure this has happened to men, women are usually the victims of this act. Many men seem to think of the gym as a good place to look for a “hook-up”… you are wrong. Women, like men, go to the gym to work on their fitness, health, and wellness- not to be hit on and made to feel like they’re being preyed upon. It is disrespectful (see #2) and makes women feel extremely uncomfortable. If you truly feel that you want to get to know someone more, maybe ask if they might be interested in meeting for a coffee or lunch date, or even a gym date so you can get to know them on a personal level in a place where they feel comfortable so they don’t feel like a piece of meat.
Don’t interrupt someones set
Whether your a friend, a trainer, or someone with a question do not- I repeat DO NOT -interrupt someones set. This doesn’t just distract the person from where they are in their training session, but it can pull them out of their “training zone”, make them really annoyed with you, and can actually ruin their training session. The biggest reason to not interrupt: you could cause them to be startled or distracted thus performing their exercises incorrectly and potentially severely injuring themselves, and no one wants to carry that responsibility on their shoulders. Also- it’s very rude and disrespectful; It shows that you think their training time isn’t as important or valuable as yours.
Enough with the grunting
Occasionally, on the last rep or two, when you really, really, really, really need to… go ahead and grunt. BUT DON’T DO IT EVERY SINGLE REP. We heard you, and were not impressed- we don’t care if you’re training for some competition and you’re lifting 2724387 Lbs (obvious exaggeration), this is a shared space an no one wants you hear your weird grunting. If you want attention, you’re getting it- but not in a good way. Guaranteed: you’re getting a ton of complaints at the front desk and soon you’ll be asked to “please keep your voice down, you are disturbing our other guests”. This isn’t your personal gym, so respect others around you and keep it down.
While going to the gym most people work hard and get sweaty- nothing wrong with that. But the smell… you’ve got to think about other people. No one wants to deep breathe-in your stench while trying to replenish oxygen in their blood stream and muscles. Just wear deodorant- there are brands out there that are all natural, non-GMO, and don’t contain ingredients that many find to be unhealthy for our bodies. Some people stink more than others, even if you wear deodorant your body odor can still seep though- which is ok… just as long as you have some deodorant on. Make the effort, we all really appreciate it.
Lots of gyms provide classes included in your membership that you can choose to participate in, and they are great ways to get in shape in a friendly and educational environment. It is important to always be on time, which usually means showing up about 10 minutes prior to the class starting. You want to make sure you allot yourself enough time to sign up for the class, drop your bag off in the locker room and use the rest room before hand if you need to, as well as set up your spot in the class room if you are going to be using equipment. The most rude thing you can do is show up to class late- this is distracting to the teacher but also everyone else in the class. The teacher takes hours to plan classes and prepare to the program out of respect for those wish to take classes from them, it is only right that you respect your instructor and fellow class mates by being on time as well. Another etiquette lesson: do what the teacher instructs you to do, unless of course you have an injury that prevents you from doing so (be sure to let your teacher know before hand so they don’t you’re blowing off their training program). If you want to do your own training routine, don’t take the class, it is that simple.
Clean your space
Whether you’re just using a pair of dumbbells, or you’ve set yourself up with multiple barbells, kettle bells, a mat, a medicine ball, a bench and a foam roller tidy up your space when you’re done. What that means: PUT EVERYTHING AWAY- WHERE IT BELONGS. You know how annoying it is to look for a pair of dumbbells where they should be only to find them in the completely wrong space in the rack, or not even on the rack at all! Just tidy up your space, there is not maid here to put your things away for you, and no, it is not the employees of the gym jobs to put away your equipment. Put you mat away, re-rack your weights, but your medicine ball in it’s designated spot. You expect the equipment to be there when you look for it, and others expect to find it where it ought to be after you’ve used it, Respect.
Speaking of cleaning- CLEAN YOUR EQUIPMENT
When you’re finished using your equipment, clean it. No one wants to use a machine soaked in your sweat, and they certainly don’t want to clean it up for you. Not only should you be cleaning machines- could be treadmills or elliptical or even a squat rack, leg press, or cable machines- but you should also be cleaning the equipment you’ve used. This means wiping down the mat you used for ab work, stretching, or even yoga class. This means cleaning the dumbbell or barbell you used… anything you’ve touched you want to clean. Many people give a quick wipe down of equipment before and after they used it, to make sure they aren’t picking up any germs someone else may have left behind, and to make sure they don’t leave any nasty germs for the person using the equipment after you.
Don’t take up more space than you need
When your gym is packed full of people, you’re not going to be able to do sleigh runs. It can be a bit disappointing to not be able to perform the training exercises you’ve planned for the day… but you can always do something in place of the exercise you were planning that still activate the muscles targeted and doesn’t take up as much space. Example: planning walking lunges using a barbell, no space? just find a space and do alternating front and/or back lunges using a barbell or dumbbells. Be conscientious of the space available to everyone.
Don’t be an equipment hog
One of the biggest pet peeves people have is other people spending 5-10 minutes, sometimes more, sitting on a piece of equipment and not using it! Other people want to use the equipment. If you’re taking a phone call, get off the equipment and let someone else use it. If you need to take large rests in-between sets, get off the equipment. The only time it’s ok to sit on the equipment is if there aren’t many people in the gym and you’re confident no one is waiting to use it. Make the effort to be aware of your surroundings.
Get off the phone!
First off- no one wants to know about your life or hear your drama. Second- no one wants to wait for you to finish texting to get off of a piece of equipment so they can use it. Third- gym selfies are a thing now, and if you absolutely have to take one go for it, but make sure your not blocking anyone who is using the mirrors for what they’re actually for: keeping an eye on your form while you train. Also- just hurry up and take the selfie, this isn’t super model documentary hour, this is work your butt off and train so you can treat your body right hour, or as some like to call it “happy hour”. Phones are annoying, and if you were really serious about training you would put it on airplane mode so you could listen to your music and not be distracted be incoming calls, texts, or social media posts.
Mind the “buffer”
Simple: if there is one person on a treadmill and the entire rest of the row is vacant, don’t hop on the one right next to them. Leave at least one space between you and the other person, but obviously if the gym is packed and there are slim pickings just grab what you can.
Pick your wardrobe carefully
While you may have a rockin’ six pack, buns of steel, calves for days and enjoy showing it off, you ought to keep in mind how others may feel. Sure, some people may be jealous or envious but most likely they’re offended by your lack of clothing. If you’re wearing micro mini short-shorts and a sports bra you can expect to get a ton of different looks and vibes thrown your way. I can tell you from experience that no matter how great of shape your in I really am not interested in your bare butt cheeks sitting on the same piece of equipment I was planning on using, or having to watch your short shorts ride even higher while you decide to squat right in front of my face. We love that you love yourself and are confident enough to be in your own skin…but we recommend you save showing off the goodies for the beach and personal time.
Don’t make fun of anyone
People come to the gym to improve their lives, and no one should have to suffer bullying or teasing for that. It doesn’t matter if someone is over weight, under weight, or in shape… for some people it takes a lot of courage to even show up at the gym and walk on the treadmill due to poor self image and self esteem. If anything the gym should be a place where people encourage one another and show respect for others working on themselves, no matter what part of the journey they’re on. A lot of people don’t know how to use the equipment correctly, and while it can be funny to see how some people think a leg press should work, offering to help the person and explain what equipment is used for is a much better way of going about it than laughing at them.