When you go to the local fitness center to work out, how conscious are you of proper gym etiquette? No one hands out a rule book as you walk through the door, but everyone is expected to have common sense and follow certain rules of courtesy. Find out how to avoid the most common pet peeves so you stay on good terms with gym staff members and your fellow fitness fanatics.
Stay home if you don’t feel well
In general, it’s physically safe to exercise with above-the-neck cold symptoms, but that doesn’t mean it’s courteous to others. Opt for an at-home workout session this time around to prevent passing your illness around.
Follow cardio machine time limits
During peak hours, some gyms limit time on cardio equipment to 20 or 30 minutes. It simply isn’t fair to ignore the rule and keep the person in line behind you waiting. If you know you’re on a time limit, make every minute of that half hour on the elliptical worth it before you step off for the next customer.
Don’t hog the equipment
Even without strict time limits, you should be willing to give up equipment when you’ve been on it a while and someone else is waiting. A big no-no during peak gym hours is super-setting by bouncing between equipment frequently, preventing others from using them. On that note, hanging your towel on equipment doesn’t give you “dibs.”
Focus on yourself, not others
Pay attention to your own workout; don’t hover over someone else’s treadmill or make someone feel uncomfortable by staring at them. It takes enough confidence to work out in a public place without someone staring you down.
Wear appropriate clothing
Look for clothes that provide the right amount of coverage without being too long, too loose or too tight. The goal is to be able to move around freely without snagging on equipment or attracting unwanted attention.
Smell good, not great
Deodorant is fine for the gym, but perfume and cologne are not. Do not let your aroma – good or bad – enter the room before you do.
Keep your comments to yourself
No one wants unsolicited advice from a know-it-all stranger. If you see someone performing an action you think could cause an injury, flag down a trainer or staff member and tell them what you saw. The trainer will take it from there.
Use the drinking fountain politely
Don’t stand there guzzling water for a full minute. Also, when someone steps up behind you while you’re filling a water bottle, step aside and let them grab a drink.
Don’t talk on the phone
Other gym members don’t want to hear your conversation. Unless there’s a crisis at work or at home, stay off your phone. Even then, take your call outside the training area.
Clean up after yourself
This includes unloading the weight bar, re-racking dumbbells, and wiping down the bench when you switch to new equipment. Your mother isn’t there to pick up after you at the gym, and management is liable to get on your case if you continually inconvenience fellow gym members.
While these tips sound like common sense, most gyms have members breaking these etiquette guidelines every day. By being more courteous and perceptive, everyone can enjoy working out at the gym a little bit more.