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, especially if you’re starting a new adventure with your very first gym membership. But gyms can sometimes feel a little intimidating to navigate when you’re the new kid on the block.
Gyms are like mini communities. They often have their own subcultures and various unspoken rules when it comes to the do’s and don’ts of common courtesy and community behavior. So today, we’re going to look at four big rules of gym etiquette to ensure you’re crushing goals with confidence 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 exercise 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 the items that you need next. And don’t be afraid to incorporate weight plates in place of dumbbells for certain movements. If certain dumbbells aren’t available or you don’t want to take up too many of them at once in a superset or drop set, 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 onto the leg press beside you. 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 stranger left their sweaty butt imprint behind for the next user. That’s. Just. Gross.
Please. Don’t be that person. Grap the gym’s 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 group fitness class or the free weight section, always be sure to put equipment back neatly where it belongs. Keeping the gym an orderly place helps everyone find what they need when they need it. Because who wants to be running around if they’re short on time 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 or leg press before they can use it for their own workout. Or have a personal training session or group fitness 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 to help keep your gym an enjoyable place for everyone to workout.
Stick with these four big rules of gym etiquette and you will be crushing your goals with confidence and positively contributing to your fit community. The gym trainers, instructors and staff will love you and you might just make a few new gym buddies along the way!
All writing copyright © 2019 Rachel Elise Weems Woods
Originally published 1-9-18. Updated 2.1.19