The new year is in full swing and so are many of those exercise and fitness related resolutions! It’s a fun and exciting time to be a part of the gym community, whether you are a long-time gym rat or inspired to start a new adventure with your very first gym membership. Gyms have their own subcultures and often various unspoken rules when it comes to the do’s and don’ts of common courtesy and community behavior. Make sure you’re following four big rules of gym etiquette this year to ensure you’re crushing goals and making friends along the way.
1. Don’t Hog Free Weights
Stay mindful of your fellow gym-goers when it comes to weights and equipment. In a crowded gym, it’s tempting to snatch up three or four sets of dumbbells to gradually cycle through in the course your workout (how else can you be sure they’ll be available later, right?). But remember other people are also trying to workout in the allotted time they have to be at the gym that day. Stick to the equipment you need per that set of exercises and then move onto what you need next. Also, consider utilizing plate weights for some things (if certain dumbbells aren’t available or you don’t want to take up too many at once in a superset, try incorporating some 5lb or 10lbs plates from a weight rack).
2. Share Machines
During heavy gym traffic, there may be a limited number of squat racks, cable machines or weight machines. In times like this, it’s common for one member to ask another if they can “jump in” on a machine. Don’t panic, they aren’t actually going to hop on the leg press beside you to help push. This just means you will alternate doing sets on the same machine (one of you does a set of exercises on it while the other one rests and then you switch back and forth). Also be willing to speak up offering to let someone jump in on a machine if you can see they are waiting to use it but maybe a little shy asking to share. Everyone wins and you might even have an opportunity to strike up a conversation and make a new gym buddy.
3. Wipe down what you sweat on
Sweat. It happens. There’s no shame in it, especially at the gym and after a great workout. But I think we can all agree there’s nothing more unsettling than walking up to an empty a bench, mat or machine and discovering a sweat imprint in the shape of a stranger’s butt. There definitely should be shame in being the offender in a gym who leaves sweaty mementos (butt shaped or otherwise) of themselves everywhere. Don’t be that person. Grap the provided wipe or paper towel and spray bottle and for the sake of all that you consider sacred and holy, wipe down that equipment when you are finished using it.
4. Pick up after yourself
Whether it’s for a GX class or the free weight section, always be sure to put it equipment back neatly where it belongs. Keeping the gym an orderly place helps everyone find what they need when they need it so that members aren’t running around hunting for cable machine handles, plate weights or a mat for yoga class. It’s also considerate of people’s time. No one wants to remove a zillion abandoned plates from a barbell before they can use it for their own workout or have a PT session or GX class started late because a trainer or instructor needed to tidy a mess of equipment left behind. It’s quick and easy to pick up after yourself, the gym staff will love you for it and you help keep your gym an enjoyable place to workout for everyone.
All writing copyright © 2018 Rachel Elise Weems Woods