Until a few years ago, I’ve never really joined a gym. Needless to say I didn’t know how to use a lot of the equipment there, much less how to behave in a room with a lot of sweaty people all working out. The one and only reason I didn’t make too much of a fool of myself is thanks to my trainer. He guided me and told me all the little nuances that come with joining a gym. And it wasn’t always about just working out. Here is my gym etiquette guide.
I can tell you now that while you do get a lot of extra benefits of working out in a commercial gym like the access to equipment, there are also some responsibilities that come along with it. First and foremost of which is learning gym etiquette. There are some do’s and don’t’s that come with using equipment in the gym as opposed to working out at home where you can do whatever you want whenever you want.
With that said, here are some things to always remember the moment you step into a fitness facility that’s open to the public or other members.
Proper Gym Etiquette: Things to Remember
On Using Equipment
- Clean equipment after using. This is the number one rule when using equipment, wipe them down after use. Someone else will be using the equipment after you do so it is just respectful and appropriate to always have a towel and wipe after yourself. Some gyms do provide things for cleaning equipment, and if they do, use them. After, you don’t also want anyone to just leave the machine you’re about to use drenched with their sweat do you? Plus it help prevent the spread of skin diseases and germs.
- If you take out equipment, put it back where you got it. At some point you’ll be using some equipment to use. These may be kettlebells or dumbbells. Whatever the items you take and use, make sure to put them back in their place so others can use them afterward. Often, the items are placed in particular order or organized so that they’re easy to access, so it is important to place them back in their proper spots and don’t just leave then on the ground when you’re done using them.
- Keep the noise down. I’m lucky to have never had any experiences with unwanted gym noise. But I remember the story my trainer was telling me about a guy who lifted heavy and grunted like crazy. The guy also kept dropping the weights after and shouting like he was at a football field after scoring a touchdown after he finished a tough set. Don’t be that guy. Be mindful that there are other people in the gym and they want their privacy. While we’re on the topic, also be aware of individuals who are wearing headphones. Often these are the people who don’t want to be disturbed so don’t try to chit chat with them.
- Practice proper hygiene. No one likes to workout near anyone smelly. Keep your body odor in check by practicing good hygiene. Also, hygiene isn’t limited to your body. It also includes behaving properly like not smoking in the premises, spitting or just sticking your gum into any equipment.
- Be prepared to share equipment. This was one of the things I had to slowly get used to. Sharing works both ways. There are times when you need or want to use an equipment that’s currently being used by someone else. And other times when people ask to use the machine you’re currently using. At some point you will learn to ask to “work in between sets”. This means you’ll use the equipment while their resting between sets. It saves time for you both. In the same way be ready to let others “work in” between your sets.
- Be aware of your own workout space. When the gym’s full, usually at rush hours, you’ll have someone working out to your right and also to your left. This is when you need to be mindful of your own workout area, so as not to bump into others or get into their workout space.
- Wear the proper gear. This was a funny story my friend told me about him and his dad at their local gym. His dad, apparently doesn’t wear any underwear. And like most older dads don’t wear their shorts as long as we do nowadays. After all, back in the day, short shorts were what was normal. So after doing a few exercises, a gym attendant approached them and asked his dad to put on underwear or leave as it was bothering the other gym-goers. Lesson here is wear the proper attire for working out.
Locker Room Etiquette
- Cover up. When it comes of locker room etiquette, do cover up with a towel. While it isn’t necessarily bad to walk around in the buff, no one is interested in seeing you like that. So do use a towel when you’re strolling around in the locker room.
- Mind your own space. Locker room space is a communal one. So benches will mean people putting their bags and other items on it when cleaning up. Being aware of how much space you take so that you don’t take up too much space is something everyone should keep in mind.