With another New Year come all those new people in the gym who made the resolution to workout, to lose weight, or to get healthy. I don’t mind new people in the gym, I really don’t. I encourage anyone who wants to go to the gym to do so, to take classes, to eat right, to do whatever they feel they need to do to accomplish the goals they’ve set for themselves.
But, if you’re going to go to the gym for one workout, or stay and really commit to your goals, please make sure you understand general gym etiquette. Some gyms require it, but most don’t. It’s just common courtesy whether this is your first time ever stepping foot in the gym (or a gym newbie) or you almost live there (lovingly donned the gym rat).
Here are a few of my personal pet peeves (and most anyone who frequents the gym) and easy ways to ensure that you aren’t inadvertently pissing everyone off around you.
1) Wipe your equipment down!
This is one of the biggest ones. Some gyms require that everyone wipes their equipment down (and people still don’t), some don’t. I won’t get into the types of things that are excreted through the sweat glands, nor will I discuss how many sweat glands a human has, or the chemical reaction of the sweat with the bacteria on the skin. Let’s just say that you don’t want to be basking in some strangers sweat on the weight machine, nor would you want them basking in your sweat. This is a very easy way for skin infections to be passed from one person to another through the residual sweat left on the seats or equipment.
2) If you’re not going to use the machine, move so someone else can!
Some, but not all, gyms have a time limit that you can be on a machine. Personally, I don’t like time limits because I don’t want to feel rushed when I’m working out. At the same time, it is extremely rude to hold a machine and not be using it when someone else is waiting for it. You may not even be able to tell that someone else is waiting for the machine, so if you’re done or are just talking, please just move and free up the machine for someone else.
3) Stay off the phone!
In a world where everyone has a cell phone, I see them used in so many ways in the gym. I see people watching shows or movies (Netflix is great!), I see people reading (I love reading blogs and books through the Amazon app), listening to music, taking pictures, social networking, etc. Just please don’t talk on the phone while in the gym. I understand a quick call – a “hi, I’m at the gym, what do you need? Okay, I’ll call you back” type of conversation. I’ve had to take these from my kids before. But, please, please, please don’t have your conversations with your friends or family members like you’re all alone. No one else needs to hear about how Suzie and Bobbie are fighting, about how John ended up in the hospital, or about how you’re planning a party. And please use headphones when listening to anything on your phone.
4) Please wear deodorant and not too much perfume or cologne!
When we workout we sweat. When we sweat we start not smelling so great. Deodorant helps us smell better. And some people who happen to workout in the same gym as you do may have sensitivity or even allergies to strong perfumes or colognes. So, just to be on the safe side, please don’t douse it on. A little can go a long way.
5) Be sure no one is on the equipment before plopping yourself in front of it!
What’s worse than not being able to get on a machine? Having your equipment taken right out of under you. Some people don’t bring water bottles with them to the gym; instead, some people actually use the drinking fountain whenever they need a drink. Or maybe they go to grab more or different weights. In any case, take a look around and see if there’s a sweat towel or water bottle sitting there. If someone was just on the machine ask them if they’re done before jumping on. Trust me, it’ll go a long way to making the gym a more pleasant place because if they know you want that machine next they’ll be more likely to let you know when it’s free.
6) Please, please, please wear the appropriate attire for the gym!
I get it. If you like how you look you want to show your hot body off. But, there’s a limit, at least for the gym! Please don’t wear something that looks like you rolled in just wearing your underwear. Cover up. Some guys look great without their shirts on. Some just don’t. Most at least wear a tank top. Some women look great with just a sports bra on, but we don’t need to see it.
I’m sure there are tons of other pet peeves from other ‘gym rats’ out there. My biggest word of advice is to just be courteous of those around you.