the gym isn't the place for socializing doesn't mean you can act
like you're alone while you're there. The gym is a public place,
and you must share the equipment and space with others. Most of
the unspoken rules of gym etiquette are common sense-wipe down
your machines after you use them; put back your weights; don't
hog the machines. Others may surprise you. Here are a few rules
for how to behave at the gym.
back after you use them. Don't leave your weights on the bar
or your dumbbells on the floor after you use them. It's not the
staff's job to pick up after you. Chances are, another patron
will have to do it-and some of them might not be able to lift
the hundred-pound weights you left on the bar. Be courteous and
put your weights away after your workout.
with the equipment. When using exercise equipment, don't let
the weights bang around too violently. If you bang the equipment
constantly, eventually something will break. If you don't get
hurt, the next person to use it might. Raise and lower your weights
in a slow, controlled manner. If you can't, the weight you're
lifting is too heavy and you should reduce it.
gym property. Some people drop heavy dumbbells on the floor
when they're finished with a set. Don't do this. It can damage
the floor and chip the weights. At all times, have respect for
the gym's facilities and property-don't break anything.
workout machines. Whether you're doing a series of reps on
one machine or you're jumping from machine to machine, share.
Don't drape your towel over a machine to save your place while
you go get a drink of water; someone else may want to use that
machine. If someone wants to use a machine you're using for multiple
reps, offer to "work in" or alternate reps with the
other person. If someone asks to work in on a machine with you,
after working out. Nobody wants to work out on a machine or
bench you just sweated all over. Carry a towel with you and wipe
off the machine or bench you used when you're done. Put a towel
down on benches and seats you use; it's much more hygienic. If
your gym has disinfectant spray, use it. The people who use the
equipment after you do will thank you.
in front of the mirror. Many people use the mirror to maintain
proper form. This is crucial, especially for those lifting heavy
weights. If you walk in front of the mirror while they're working
out, you could break their concentration or cause them to lose
form. Walk around behind someone who's working out in front of
a mirror, or wait until the person is done with his reps.
should be able to hear your music. Many people work out to
music on their headphones or Mp3 players. But the person next
to you may not have headphones, and he may not want to hear your
workout music, either. Make sure your music isn't turned on so
high that everyone in the gym can hear it. And don't sing aloud
to the songs on your iPod-you're there to work out, not perform.
to a minimum. There's nothing wrong with a brief conversation
here and there. But most people don't go to the gym to talk; they
want to do their workout and get out. If you must ask someone
a question, wait until she's done with her reps; nobody will want
to talk to you while lifting. Don't try to strike up long conversations
with other lifters at the gym. Avoid hitting on others at the
gym; save your smooth moves for the bar.
your pain. Working out is difficult-we all know that. But
don't be the guy who insists on letting everyone know just how
hard a time he's having. Loud groaning and grunting is distracting
to the other members, and cursing and swearing while you work
out may offend the people around you. Even if you feel you can't
help making noise while you work out, try. The people at the gym
with you will definitely appreciate your silence.
working in. It's common courtesy at the gym to allow anyone
who asks to work in on a machine with you to do so. But it's also
common courtesy to ask if you want to jump in with someone else;
don't just do it. If you do, you could break the other person's
rhythm-or change his weights unexpectedly, which could lead to
injury. Make sure the other person agrees before jumping in.
clean. There's always someone at the gym you can smell coming
a mile away. This person smells like he hasn't washed his workout
clothes in a month; his sneakers smell like old feet; and nobody
wants to use the machines when he's done. Don't be that guy. Wash
your workout clothes regularly. Make sure your shoes don't smell.
Wear deodorant to the gym. Don't wear perfume or cologne to the
gym-sweat enhances the smell of these products, and they make
some people ill.
Most of the
rules of gym etiquette involve treating people courteously: pick
up after yourself, don't do anything to distract others, and don't
keep others waiting to use a machine. Be polite and follow these
rules of gym etiquette, and you'll never be "that guy"
at the gym.
Jean Lam is the webmaster of Body
Building Resource which provides articles on weight training,
nutrition and fitness, body building book and DVDs.
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