Every January brings new members to health clubs who are trying to get fit. And gyms can definitely be intimidating for the uninitiated.
Whether you’re a newbie or a longtime member, be sure to follow gym etiquette. Although some fitness centers may differ a bit, the suggestions below are universal and good reminders for every exerciser.
And if you’re not sure about something? Just ask the staff That’s why they are there!
- Use machines and accessories correctly. For your safety, use the equipment properly, following posted instructions or asking fitness staff first. Don’t guess on this, but take the time to learn what to do.
- Don’t hog equipment. If the club is busy, don’t linger for an hour on a cardio machine. In the strength training area, don’t take up a lot of space with a bunch of free weights, or don’t sit on a machine and chat with a friend or scroll through Instagram either. And don’t leave your towel on a machine to reserve it while you use a different machine. Everyone must be mindful that this is shared space.
- Use a towel. If you club doesn’t provide towels, then bring your own towel and use it. No one wants to experience your sweat.
- Wipe down equipment. Along the same lines, nothing is more gross than encountering a bunch of sweat on the equipment you are about to use. Plus, gyms harbor a lot of germs which can spread illness. Use wipes or paper towels (your gym should provide these) to clean equipment when you’re done with it.
- Put equipment away. Clean up after yourself. Don’t leave weights, medicine balls, bands/tubing and other accessories all over. Put them back to keep the gym floor open, so that people don’t trip, and so that other exercisers can easily find them. The same goes for towels in the locker room. Put them in the bin.
- Be aware of your surroundings and space. Again, you’re sharing this public space, so don’t walk around naked in the locker room, don’t take up the entire bench or counter in the locker room, don’t stand too close to someone in a group ex class and be aware of people exercising all around for your safety. Pay attention at all times.
- Get off your phone. If you listen to music or following a workout app with your phone and earbuds, that’s acceptable. Beyond that, leave your phone in a locker. Don’t take calls on the gym floor or in classes, don’t text between sets and honestly, refrain from selfies when you’re in the gym. This may be a challenge, but you can do it!
- Don’t stink. Yes, we know, you are working out and sweating, but always wear deodorant and wash your workout clothes. Skip perfumes or after shave, which can smell even stronger when you sweat, and can bother people or even trigger an allergic reaction.
- Don’t stare. Of course, there is a lot of people-watching at the gym. It’s OK to look around and take everything in, but don’t stare or leer EVER. Naturally, this makes people uncomfortable.
- Minimize talking. The gym definitely can be a social place, but your main purpose there should be to exercise, not to talk for an hour. If you are working out with a buddy, keep your voices low and consider boosting your intensity so it is more difficult to talk non-stop. Also, don’t talk throughout group ex classes, as this is distracting to the other participants, rude to the instructor and potentially a risk to your safety.