Every gym-goer has seen something that drives them insane. Free-weights strewn everywhere, 45lb plates stored where the 5lb plates are supposed to be, or the individual working out their thumbs for 10 minutes on the bench that three people are waiting to use; we've all seen things that make us scratch our heads.
If you're going to the gym, the last thing you want to deal with is crowds, misplaced equipment, and perspiration from the person who used a machine before you. While some of this etiquette faux pas are clear, there are other things that could be ruining someone's workout that you may not be aware of.
Here's a rundown of some of the most typical gym etiquette gaffes and how to avoid them.
In the changing room
- Excessive conversation: the changing room is already a stressful environment for some people. Most people aren't at ease showering and changing in front of a large group of people. Stopping to have a 20-minute discussion with a friend in the locker room while others are changing and getting ready for their workout, or the rest of their day, can be noisy, unpleasant, and uncomfortable.
What to do instead: Tell your friend that you'll meet them outside near the juice bar or in the lobby area to finish your conversation. That way, you'll be able to catch up after you've changed without disrupting others.
- Hogging the locker room bench: We understand that changing from work clothes to workout clothes (and vice versa) can be a time-consuming process. But don't be the person that dumps everything from their gym bag on the locker room bench.
What to do instead: Use the locker for storage while you're changing. Hang your clothing off the side, put your shoes in the locker, and keep a little bag on the locker room bench with your smaller items, such as deodorant and face wash. This allows others to use portions of the space while it is being changed (or even just sitting to tie your shoes).
Using the machines
- Being too close for comfort: If you go to a huge gym with a lot of people, you're probably aware that you'll be working out right next to someone. However, if you have multiple machines accessible, try not to be right next to someone if it isn't absolutely necessary. The majority of individuals using machines are there to sweat, not to converse. Taking a machine right next to them can feel like a minor invasion of their personal space and "me" time.
What to do instead: Put one machine's worth of distance between yourself and the other folks working out (if you can). This provides some breathing room for when the gym isn't as full.
- Leaving it all on the machine: sweating is good for your body. It cools you down and eliminates pollutants. It's also not something you want to stroll into when you're trying to get in a workout. Not washing down the machine after usage is a major gym faux pas that can spread germs (gross)!
What to do instead: Clean the machine before and after each use. Because not everyone will follow this suggestion, cleaning down the machine before using it guarantees that you aren't dealing with the remnants of someone else's workout, and wiping it down afterward ensures that the next person to use it has a clean and sterilized machine.
Next to the weight rack
- Not sharing: While many larger gyms have a good supply of free weights and barbells during peak hours, it can be difficult to use all you had intended. Hogging a set of dumbbells while performing four or five sets of one exercise exacerbates the situation and may leave others dissatisfied.
What to do instead: Inquire or volunteer to collaborate on your settings with someone else. If you're doing four or five sets of exercise, you'll need breaks in between, so working with a partner can help you finish your workout in half the time.
- Leaving equipment everywhere but where it belongs: When you're trying to get your workout in, it's quite aggravating when you walk to the weight rack and can't find the weights you need, only to discover that they were left out or put back in an inappropriate location. It makes it more difficult for gym visitors to complete their workouts on time, and it makes it more difficult for staff to keep the facility clean.
What to do instead: Make sure to constantly return the item to its proper location. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, right?
- Personal space part two: Zumba lessons can be quite packed. Yoga can seem a bit suffocating at times. Standing too near to someone can not only make them feel uneasy, but it can also result in someone stepping on their toes or injuring themselves while attempting to avoid hitting someone else.
What to do instead: Stand with your arms straight out in front of you and rotate in a circle. Your arms should never come into contact with those of your neighbors. Then, lunge forward, backward, and out to each side to create a little circle in which you can operate without invading someone else's personal space.
- Being late to a gym class: arriving late to a gym lesson can cause a variety of interruptions. Others have already started to warm up, and the instructor is directing everyone in structured movement. Sometimes the equipment you require is on the other side of the room, and others must make way for you to go to it.
Everyone becomes irritated as a result, and they are thrown off their game.
What to do instead: Always plan on arriving 5-10 minutes early. If you are frequently late, aim to arrive 15 minutes early to guarantee that you are not late and do not interrupt the rest of the class.
Pack it up
Bench hogs, take note: Sneakers, gym bags, laptops, and lapdogs don’t all deserve a spot on the bench. Especially during peak hours, lock up those belongings to give fellow gym-goers space to suit up.
When people go to the gym, they tend to lose their sense of etiquette as well as the fundamentals of common civility. You, on the other hand, are not. You are well aware that a little courtesy and attention may go a long way toward making the gym a more pleasant environment for everyone.
Going to the gym can be a fun and rewarding experience! It is almost impossible to be in a bad mood when you are working out and releasing endorphins. By following these simple steps, you can assist to ensure that everyone in your immediate vicinity gets in a terrific workout as well!