Gyms come in all shapes and sizes from, tiny garage gyms with rusty barbells to upscale boutique studios with top-of-the-line equipment and the ever popular Crossfit gym. The world may not agree on the “best” way to get into shape, but one thing everyone can agree on is proper gym etiquette. Whether you’re looking to get into shape for the first time, or you’re a veteran gym rat – here are a few time-tested gym etiquette rules to make sure you aren’t the guy or gal the gym members start gossiping about in the locker room.
First, the gym isn’t a place to make new friends… While some people use the fitness center as a place to socialize, most people are there to blow off steam, improve themselves and spend some alone time with their favorite piece of equipment. The quickest and easiest way to tell if someone is open to chat or not is if they are wearing headphones; a person wearing headphones is a sure-fire symbol of “Do Not Disturb”. Learning subtle hand signals for things like “May I work in?” or “Are you finished?” will go a long way in flying under the radar. Lastly, the size of the headphone is another indicator of how seriously secluded one prefers to be. A simple pair of earbuds could invite simple questions, but the noise-reducer, giant earmuff headphones shows that this person is not here to socialize.
Next, hygiene is crucial. Sweating is a natural and common occurrence for everyone, but that doesn’t mean people want to be exposed to your bodily fluids. For the sake of everyone’s sanitation and experience, please wipe down machines, benches and weights that you use – even when you don’t leave a visible sweat puddle. It’s good etiquette to wipe down your equipment after each use.
Third, don’t be in the way. Mind your space carefully, and don’t make yourself an obstacle for people to work around. For example, when using a pair of dumbbells, take a few steps back from the rack so that others can access it while you’re working out. Nothing is worse than standing behind a guy doing sets of 100 curls in front of the mirror while you’re trying to get to a set of dumbbells they’re using!
The next rule is simple, but definitely not widely followed. Put your weights away! With great strength comes great responsibility. Simply put, your weights are your responsibility and when you’re finished it shouldn’t be anyone else’s job to put them away or un-rack them for you. All weights have a home, and whether it’s a dumbbell left on the floor or a plate left on the barbell it’s your job to bring it back to where it belongs. Furthermore, two wrongs do not make a right – if you found a weight out of place and you use it, you should still put it where it belongs.
Lastly, dress appropriately. It may make you feel good to wear revealing clothing in front of the mirror so you can see each muscle working, but I assure you that not everyone else appreciates the thought of a mild breeze exposing your privates to the public. The gym is a public space, and we all appreciate it if you dress like you’re in one… A simple rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t wear it to the grocery store, don’t wear it to the gym.
Please follow these rules of proper gym etiquette to ensure that you, and everyone around you has a pleasant experience in the gym!
If you find that these rules are hard to follow or you’d prefer to workout in the comfort of your own home, you can avoid the crowds by working out at home on the Total Gym! A full body workout on one piece of equipment means no weights to put away, only one thing to sanitize after you’re done and you can workout wearing whatever you want!