In the gym, there are a few unspoken rules that, whilst not being official, are basically universally recognised and understood by gym regulars all across the globe, in any language spoken. Just as the law for using the bathroom in the men’s room is silence, to never make eye contact with the guy using the urinal next to you, and to keep your eyes fixed firmly on the wall in front of you, the laws for the gym are also widely understood and should ideally be obeyed at all costs. Ok, perhaps it’s not quite as serious as that, but if you want to stay in all of your fellow gym members’ good books, you should really try your hardest to display great gym etiquette at all times whenever you use the gym. If you’re not sure of exactly what we mean by good gym etiquette, take a look at the following six examples and you’ll soon be up to date.
Don’t try to be a gym bully
Gym bullies are the worst types of human beings and are truly despicable creatures that should be banned from gyms all across the globe. Gym bullies are not necessarily hulking great meat heads, nor are they necessarily male either. Gym bullies will basically throw their weight about, they’ll try to intimidate other gym members and will turn surly, possibly even aggressive if they don’t get their own way. Usually, their own way involves using a piece of equipment whenever they want to use it, even if there happens to be somebody already using it. Gym bullies may for example, as somebody how many sets they have left on a certain piece of equipment, and then hang over that person’s shoulder as they work through their sets, perhaps sighing, grunting, looking angry and/or miserable, and just trying to force them to rush through their set so they can use the machine when they want to. If somebody’s using something you want to use, that’s too bad for you, that person paid their membership just as you did, and they have as much right to be in there as you. Don’t stand uncomfortably close to them, don’t let out loud sighs, don’t check your watch every ten seconds, and don’t stare at them as if they stole food from your children’s hands. If somebody’s using something you want to use, ask them politely how long they have left, and either wait for them to finish, or use something else instead.
Respect other members’ personal space
Some gyms can get pretty cramped during peak hours, especially if they’re slightly smaller than those huge commercialised ones you see in movies and on the TV. Unless it’s absolutely unavoidable however, you should always respect other gym members’ personal space, as the last thing they’ll want when they’re trying to perform a working set, is you standing so close to them they can feel your breath on their neck. Also, try to remember that not everybody wants to strike up a conversation at the gym. Whilst chatting can be an enjoyable way of passing the time during cardio, sometimes other members may be in their “zone” and will work best in silence. Of course a friendly “hello” and the odd conversation here and there is fine, but if somebody is using a treadmill alone, with headphones in, jumping on the treadmill next to them and trying to strike up a conversation with them is not always ideal.
Always re-rack your weights
As far as gym etiquette goes, this next example is arguably the most important of all, or is at least one of the most common. Whenever you use any weights, that includes barbells, dumbbells, and various weight plates, once you’ve finished with them, don’t simply drop them on the floor or leave them on the machine, and instead take them back to the weight rack/tree you got them from in the first place. Imagine you’ve used the leg press and have been pressing over 800lbs but couldn’t be bothered to take the plates off the machine and put them back when you were done. The next person who wants to use the machine will then have to put your plates away, which is not fair at all. The bottom line is that you should always get into the habit of putting your weights away when you’re done using them, no matter how light or heavy they may be.
Always clean up your sweat
It may sound pretty disgusting but let’s face it, when we go to the gym, we go to burn calories and work up a sweat. Naturally then, as we exercise we become sweatier and sweatier and will then drip our sweat on machines/pieces of equipment as we perform our workout. You should always get into the habit of cleaning up your sweat after you use any machine/piece of equipment, not just for hygienic reasons, but also out of consideration for other gym members. If you’ve been using a flat bench, the last thing the next person using the bench is going to want is to lay in a puddle of your sweat because you were too lazy to wipe it down when you were finished. Gyms will provide towels/paper towels and possibly anti-bacterial sprays so whenever you’re finished, quickly wipe down the machine before moving on to the next.
If you have a big bottle, fill it up at home
There are very few things more frustrating than having to wait in line at the water dispenser for a quick sip of water whilst the guy in front of you decides he wants to fill his 1 gallon jug of water up to the brim. If you have a large bottle of water, fill it up at home before you get to the gym, which is again, out of consideration for other gym users.
Don’t be the “naked guy” in the locker room
Of course there’s nothing wrong with being comfortable in your own skin, and there’s nothing wrong with getting changed or taking a shower after your workout. However, there’s no need to walk around the locker room completely naked for prolonged periods of time as some people may not be comfortable with nakedness as you happen to be. Try to exercise a little discretion when getting changed etc.