The gym is a place of community, which means all members should feel welcomed and comfortable. Most gyms and fitness clubs typically have specific rules, however there are unspoken guidelines members should be aware of. Here are some dos and don’ts of gym etiquette.
DO: PUT WEIGHTS BACK
Once you’re finished using free weights, always remember to put them back for safety and courtesy purposes. It’s not only dangerous to have heavy weights lying around but leaving them out implies that they are still in use. Be courteous and put weights back so other members can use the equipment. This applies especially during busy hours when members might have to take turns and wait for equipment.
DON’T: BLOCK SOMEONE’S VIEW OF THE MIRROR
Mirrors are definitely a hot spot in most gyms and can quickly become overcrowded, so although it might be difficult not to accidently block someone’s view during peak hours, try to avoid doing this at all. If this section of your gym is too crowded, exercise somewhere else and then come back to the mirror when space frees up.
DO: WIPE DOWN EQUIPMENT
How many of us enjoy working out in someone else’s sweat? No one, and gyms are not shy of germs. Although it’s not technically required and not a member’s responsibility to keep their gym clean, most gyms and fitness clubs have stations with cleaner and paper towels because it’s common courtesy to clean equipment. Remember to wipe down anything you touch. This includes treadmills, ellipticals, machine weights, free weights, even mats and foam rollers. Once you learn more about gyms and germs, you won’t think twice about wiping stuff down.
DON’T: SPEND HOURS ON ONE MACHINE
Unless you hit the gym when its dead, don’t spend hours on one machine. This is especially pertinent during peak hours when people might have to wait for machines. A good rule of thumb for cardio equipment is to spend no more than 30 minutes on these machines. When it comes to machine weights, don’t just sit and hang out on them. Do your reps, take small rests and then move onto the next thing.
This same concept applies to free weights as well. As we’ve reiterated before, use the weights you need and then put them back so someone else can use them. Spending hours on one machine also means that you aren’t exercising multiple muscle groups, which isn’t an effective workout anyway.
DON’T: MAKE WEIRD NOISES
There’s always one person at the gym who grunts during every rep. Don’t be that guy. It’s unnecessary and disrupts other people’s workouts. If you feel the need to scream, the weight is probably too heavy, and you might need to take it down a notch.
DO: HAVE GOOD HYGIENE
The gym is a place where most of us break a sweat and even though it doesn’t have to be the best-smelling place, nothing disrupts a workout like dreaded body odor. Do yourself and everyone else a favor by keeping up with good hygiene.
DON’T: SHOW OFF
Although you might be proud of your six pack and that you can bench press mass amounts of weight, other gym-goers don’t need or care to know. Every person at the gym is there to better themselves, no matter their size or how fast they can run. There’s a big difference between celebrating victories and showing off. Be proud of your own accomplishments, remember to do your own thing and also build up those around you.
DO: RESPECT OTHERS’ SPACE
This applies to really anywhere in your gym, but especially in hot spots like where there are mirrors, free weights, mats and stretching zones. It seems like common sense to mind your own space, but it can be difficult when the gym is crowded, so do as best as you can.
DON’T: DROP DUMBBELLS
Not only is this dangerous and can seriously hurt you or someone else, but it’s also disrespectful to your club’s equipment and is disruptive to other members. Just like with grunting and screaming at the gym, if you find yourself needing to drop dumbbells, the weight is too heavy. Drop the weight, not the dumbbells.
DON’T: LEAVE A GROUP CLASS EARLY
Unless you have a pressing emergency or legitimate reason to leave a group class early, it’s typically advised not to. Leaving a class early not only throws off other members in the class, but it’s inconsiderate to the instructor. Plus, if you paid for the class, it’d be a waste to not get your money’s worth.
DON’T: USE THE GYM AS YOUR PERSONAL PHOTO STUDIO
We are all familiar with the classic gym selfie, and although there’s nothing wrong with posting your workouts and fitness victories, the gym is not your personal photo studio. There’s nothing worse than someone hogging the mirror to snap selfies as other members are actually trying to use it during their workout. Take one, be done and move along with your workout.