Gym Etiquette Rules
The gym is another world on its own. It’s one of those few places where you can sweat and groan in public. However, we’ve all met individuals who get excessively annoying at the gym. Like any public space, the gym has rules that have to be followed to the letter. So, in case you’re not aware, here are all the rules you need to follow while sweating it out at the gym.
If you’re new to the gym, these rules will help you understand how to and how not to behave a gym.
Clean Up Sweat With A Towel
Rule number one to be the perfect gym guest: bring your towel. The machines are in a public space; they are not to be left with your sweat on it. As soon as you’re done with a machine, say, the bench press, clean up afterward. Leaving a piece of sweaty damp machine equipment is gross and can obviously fester germs. Other users might unknowingly use the same sweat infested machine which isn’t sanitary.
Return Equipment After Use
Like you’d wash up your dishes after dinner, all dumbbells and weights must be returned to their proper storage. Not only is it unfair to the gym staff, but other gym-goers might also trip on a dumbbell or a barbell, which is preventable. If you’re unsure where you picked a piece of equipment from, feel free to ask the staff. This way the equipment is within reasonable reach for everyone, rather than having others search for them like a hidden treasure.
DND (Do Not Disturb)
When people wear headphones, they’re indirectly telling you to stay away. Except you absolutely need to warn them about something urgent, once you see someone with earphones, you should give them space. Music gets a lot of people hyped (and also, they’re trying not to talk), forcing them to break that connection because you want to flirt or compliment their gear is a big no-no.
Hit The Gym Fresh
This might seem counterintuitive but trust us, it’s a smart idea. If you haven’t had your bath in a few days, its best to go out into a public space smelling good, including the gym. Smelling like something the cat dragged in, is a turn-off. If you’re not keen on taking a quick shower, the least you can do is to wear deodorant. Wear clean gym clothes every time you’re going for a workout.
Gym clothes stick to your body and absorb all the sweat, and when they’re not washed, the germs start to smell.
Wear your gym clothes once or twice (which is still a stretch) and throw them into your hamper. A good rule is to splurge on as many gym clothes as possible so that you don’t have to repeat.
Selfies, checking yourself out or just standing in front of a mirror for long periods, doing nothing is a habit that needs to be curtailed. If you’re not using the mirror to check out your physique while working out, get out of the way for others. The mirrors in gyms are strategically placed there for safety and form, not for looking pretty or for recording videos.
If you’re using a piece of equipment, but you need to drink water or use the restroom, you can simply spread your towel over the bench or bar. This should signal to others that it has been reserved and hopefully they back off.
Lifting is quite intense, quite obvious but most people tend to walk directly in front of lifters. A common rule of thumb would be to stay about 3 feet away from a lifters bubble. This is to keep you safe as well as not to disturb the lifter. Wait till they are done lifting before moving around them.
Do not strike up a conversation with someone about to do a deadlift or squat. Lifters mentally prepare before grabbing the bar and distracting them can make them lose their focus.
The Squat Rack
The squat rack is where people generally squat, bench, and overhead press and all other barbell exercises that are difficult to practice elsewhere. Hence, if you’re curling in a squat rack that you could do anywhere else in the gym, you might get called out for it.
This also goes to other exercises. Do not exercise in an area designated for another workout; you’ll end up breaking your training by moving from one spot to another.
Phones are handy when you’re working out—they can be used as timers, tracking your workouts or to film your workout routine.
Although most people use earphones in gyms, talking on the phone for long hours in a public space can distract people. If you really must take a phone call, you can walk into the lobby area or outside if it’s an urgent phone call. This way no one is eavesdropping your conversation, and you’re not disturbing anyone.
You’re also in the gym for 45 mins to an hour, texting and selfies can be done later. If you must take selfies in the gym (you gotta stunt those abs) make it snappy. You can take pictures in the change rooms or take pictures only on less busy days.
Like the mirror hugger, this person loves this one piece of equipment; they could take it home if it was possible, don’t be this person. A general rule of thumb is to use a piece of equipment for 30 minutes only, on busy days try to make it snappy so that other gym-lovers can get a go at it too. Don’t be that person that uses one piece of equipment for an hour, oblivious to the maddening crowd.
Mind Your Business
You’ve come to the gym to work on your personal growth—it could be to lose weight or to get healthy. Don’t be that person that stares, snickers or laughs at another. Not only is this rude, but you’re also dimming another person’s confidence. A gym is a scary place for first-timers, don’t make it any less pleasant.
Also, if you see someone carrying weights, and you’ve only ever seen this on TV, do not stand and stare. This can be distracting and inappropriate.
Once again, you’re only in the gym for an hour or less, and most people stay for over an hour. However, bringing out a whole sandwich in the gym, is a weird move. Most people bring a bottle of water or a protein shake in a bottle which is completely fine but bringing out your left-over work lunch is just not acceptable.
Boom! Pow! And all those other words used to describe noise in a comic book are not acceptable in some gyms especially those in buildings, so drop them carefully. Most gym floors are bouncy and dropping weights too hard on the floor can hit another person or even break the mirrors.
Wear Gym-Appropriate Clothes
They’re called gym clothes for a reason: for gym use. Wearing your summer dress, jean booty shorts, skirts, jeans or flip flops are inappropriate. If you like wearing only a sports bra to work out, run it through your gym’s rules, as some gyms might be against it.
Appropriate gym clothes include leggings, t-shirts, tanks, sports bra and your regular running shoes or gym shoes.
Respect people’s personal space. If you’re waiting for a piece of equipment, go ahead and use other equipment until the one you want is free. Standing 20 cm from a person is not only dangerous; it is awkward.
A Bonus Etiquette:
Hold your fart in; this might sound intuitive but letting one rip in an enclosed space where people are continually breathing in and out, with little to no escape route for air to pass out, is unfair. If you must leave the gym to the change room to handle your business, please do. This is safer for everyone.