It happens every year when the calendar turns over to January. Gyms across the country are inundated with well-intentioned new members, resolved to lose weight and get fit by spring. This annual invasion of “newbies” can annoy veteran gym rats forced to share exercise space with inexperienced members who lack understanding of gym etiquette and protocols.
Every gym has its own routines and rhythms, but some aspects of gym etiquette are universal. Breaches of etiquette rules by new members are certain to garner disfavor with gym regulars. The good news is you can avoid the ire of gym staff and members at your new gym by following these six gym etiquette tips.
1. Don’t forget to wipe down equipment after use
If you can remember only one rule of gym etiquette, remember this one. Gyms are notorious germ nurseries and nothing peeves gym goers more than sitting or laying down on a piece of exercise equipment dripping with someone else’s perspiration. It’s unsanitary and disgusting. Use the towels and disinfectant gyms provide to clean equipment after use. The gym staff and members are not your maid service.
2. Don’t forget to rack your weights when you are finished using them
Put weights back where you found them. Leaving dumbbells and plates on the floor not only makes it hard for the next guy to find them, it’s a dangerous tripping hazard. Put them on the dumbbell or weight rack. Do not expect the oversized muscle-head who must move 200 lbs of plates because you left them on a barbell to be happy about it.
3. Don’t be a leering creep
It’s a gym, not a singles bar. The hot lass on the treadmill or elliptical is there to exercise, not to entertain you. Guys, please keep your editorial comments regarding the structure of her derriere to yourself. Focus on your workout and leave the sexual harassment at home.
4. Don’t tie up equipment or exercise space while tweeting, texting, surfing the net or talking on your cell phone
Leave your phone in your locker or bag. If you want to know what a baleful glare looks like, go to a busy gym and spend a few minutes talking on the phone or texting between sets on the Smith Machine when some draught horse with a shaved head, 20-inch biceps, and a tight schedule is waiting to use it.
5. Don’t insert yourself into someone else’s workout without asking permission
If someone is using a piece of equipment you want to use, never make the assumption you can fit your sets in between his. Most people are okay with it, but always ask permission before you jump on a machine someone else is using.
6. Don’t let your kids run around unsupervised
Better yet, don’t bring your kids to the gym at all. Gyms are not a playground. Unsupervised children racing through the gym and hanging on equipment is dangerous for them and annoying to your fellow members. If you must bring your youngsters keep them on a short leash.
Some gyms have special protocols regarding things like grunting, dropping heavy weights and other issues. But being aware of the fundamental gym “don’ts” listed here gives you a strong foundation of acceptable gym etiquette.