Gym Etiquette: How To Make Friends While You Are Working Out. Or At Least Not Tick Anyone Off.
Posted May 12 2010 6:42am
When working out in a gym, there are some simple things to remember to make your experience, as well as the experience of others, more enjoyable. Most of these "rules" you may remember learning in Kindergarten. They're that simple!
SHARE Everyone is at the gym for the same reason--to work out. Many people may want to use the exact same machine that you're on. Be courteous! If you're planning on doing multiple sets on a machine and there's a person milling around eyeing the machine you're using, think about switching off of it between sets. A good rule of thumb is to offer to share machines whenever it's practical and possible to do so. Also, if someone is using a single machine where it's not possible to share, go do a different exercise and then come back to it or try a new exercise for the same muscle group. There are usually lots of different exercises you can do that don't depend on a single machine. Learning variety can enhance your workout and keep you from getting frustrated if the gym is crowded.
DON'T HOG THE ELLIPTICAL (OR OTHER POPULAR EQUIPMENT) Be watchful of the time you're spending on any one machine. Many gyms have time limits posted on each cardio machine and some even have sign-up sheets. While it's not important to follow this rule when you're the only person in the gym, if you're there at 5:30 on Monday evening, it's essential. Be reasonable with the cardio machines; if there are people waiting, complete your 30 minutes and let the next person have their turn.
CLEAN UP YOUR MESS One of the grossest things in the world is to lie down on a sweat-drenched weight bench. Not that sweat is the grossest thing in the world, but touching the sweat of someone you don't know is pretty unappealing. So, don't be the cause of this unsettling situation for others either. Bring a towel with you and use it. Also, most gyms provide a spray bottle and paper towels to wipe benches and machines down after you use them.
PICK UP YOUR THINGS If you're using free weights, take the weights off after you're done and put them back where they belong. If you use dumbbells, put them back in their designated spot. This way, the next person can find the weights they'd like to use as well. And hopefully they'll extend the same courtesy to you.
If you have a gym bag, water bottle or towel, don't put them on the weight benches next to you. Keep them close to the machine you're using. That way, people around you can use the other machines without being put in the awkward position of finding the messy culprit.
KEEP IT DOWN Remember that there are other people around you trying to work out too. Don't bring your cell phone to the gym unless you have to and if you do get a call, don't talk so loud that you disturb others. Go outside to answer your call. Also, don't sing along to the music you're listening to on your headphones. We're sure that you'll be America's next Idol-- but practice at home--not on the rowing machine.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP If you don't know how to use a new machine or you need a spot, remember the gym has people there to help. The gym is a great place to get fit, but you can hurt yourself if you don't know what you're doing. Your gym may have an introductory class to orient you on the different equipment. You can learn not only how to use the equipment, but also what types of muscles each piece of equipment will work. This can be a smart strategy for mapping out your workout routine. And if you're going to be pumping it up and lifting a lot of weight, make sure you have someone spot you.
The most important rule is to have fun at the gym!