So, you have decided to start going to the gym…to build that body you have always wanted. But you have never been to the gym before. You think you can just go to the gym, work out, and leave. No harm, no foul. Well, there could be harm and there could be a foul if you don’t follow some simple rules of the gym that will help you fit in and be accepted. I did some research on this topic and found some really long lists of things that others have said you should or shouldn’t do at the gym. I have boiled them down to these top 5 things that you MUST do to show proper gym etiquette. Let’s get started…
1. Put Your Weights Back
This one is just common sense. If you take a set of dumbbells, a plate, or other equipment out, then put it back when you are done. It is not fun to walk over to a rack and not find the 30lb dumbbells you are looking for. You know they are there, somewhere, so you have to walk around the gym looking, hoping to spot them. You finally see them over in the corner against the wall. The guy who was using them left earlier and didn’t put them back. “Thanks dude.” Don’t be that guy!!!
2. Clean Up After Yourself
Cleaning up after yourself does include putting your weights back, but it includes something else, perhaps even more important. Imagine…you go to use the flat bench to crank out some dumbbell presses. You are hype. You go to lay back on the bench and it is wet with the sweat of the person who was using it before you. Yuck!!! You don’t want this to happen to you, so don’t do it to anyone else. Take a towel with you and use it. Use it to wipe your sweat from your body so you are not dripping everywhere. Now, your back may be wet from sweat and a towel is not going to dry that. I like to put my towel down on a bench before I lay back. If that is not your style, that is fine. Gyms typically offer a number of spray cleaners and towels around the gym you can use to wipe the equipment down when you are done using it. Clean up after yourself and don’t leave a pool of sweat behind you at every station you visit. Don’t be that guy!!!
3. Don’t Hog The Equipment
Gyms can be loaded with people or limited on equipment. Both situations can result in waiting and an immediate need to share the equipment. With this in mind, be certain to not stay on a piece of equipment too long. When in a gym, I try to limit my time in between sets to just one to two minutes so I am not taking up a piece of equipment for too long. If you perform 3 sets of 10 reps of an exercise, with 2 minutes in between sets, you can easily be done in 10 minutes with a piece of equipment. Once you finish your sets, move on to a different piece of equipment. True, you may want to use that same piece of equipment in your next exercise, but when resources are limited, you have to get your 3 sets in and move. If the gym is not crowded and there are plenty of resources, you may be able to stay on equipment longer. But if you see someone hovering near, eyeing up the equipment you are using, be courteous, get your sets in quickly, and move on. Don’t hog a piece of equipment. Don’t be that guy!!!
4. Give People Space
Don’t be a creeper. Don’t be that person that is just hanging around a little too close. People are at the gym to work out, and they want their personal space. You may be hanging close to them because you want that piece of equipment next, but being too close for too long can be awkward. Simply ask them if they will be done shortly, move away, and keep an eye on the equipment. Or maybe you need to use equipment that is really close to another piece of equipment being used. Don’t jump in there, all close, and use the equipment, crowding the space of the person already there. Wait. Give them time to finish and move on. Give people their space and don’t be a creeper. Don’t be that guy!!!
5. Don’t Be A Screamer
Don’t be that guy or gal in the gym who has to scream and grunt through every repetition. You know the ones who are loud and obnoxious, drawing attention to themselves. Sometimes they even drop their weights when done, drawing even more attention. Now, I understand those reps can get hard, but just focus on exhaling as you are pushing through them. Don’t scream, yell, and grunt your whole way through. And most definitely never drop your weights. It’s not macho, it’s not cool, it’s obnoxious and not welcomed. Don’t be that guy!!!
When going to the gym, it is like going to a party at someone’s house. You don’t want to draw too much attention to yourself, and you definitely don’t want to abuse the things that are there. That includes the people. These are the top 5 things I believe you need to be aware of so that you are practicing good gym etiquette. There are more, but these are the big ones. Just think of it like this…if it feels wrong, don’t do it. You don’t want to get the reputation of being the guy or gal who people dislike seeing walk into the gym. Show respect for the gym and the people there and you will do just fine.