Friday, June 26 2015
Sometimes, I wonder how we live civilly with one another. What sets us apart from an uncivilized society? Wow! That’s an oxymoron. Living civilly – having a civic responsibility to play by the rules carries over to all aspects of our lives which includes the gym.
Understanding and embracing good gym etiquette will make for a more positive exercise experience for all. And for the sake of brevity, I am only going to discuss the gym floor, which excludes the locker room, the group classes, the pool area, the racquetball courts, etc.
If I were to sum up the most irritating, most inconsiderate things people do or don’t do in the gym, it would be the following.
(1) Clean up. My biggest pet peeve is someone who walks away from a machine, leaving a slimy pool of sweat behind. No Thanks! Always bring a towel with you and wipe the machines down when you’re finished. Most gyms offer wipes or sprays strategically located around the gym for this purpose.
(2) Pick up. Another pet peeve is the person who leaves excessive weight on the leg press machine. I don’t know, maybe I look stronger than I am. Or your mother isn’t doing her job. The point is, always put your weights back when you’re finished. Likewise, not returning weights to their rack is frustrating for other members looking for a specific dumbbell, especially if there’s only one pair for each weight interval. Putting them away is just common courtesy. Why do some people find this so difficult?!?
(3) Share. If you’re doing multiple sets on a machine, it’s common courtesy to let others work in during your rest periods. This may not always be practical, but offer to share whenever you can. If you’re doing sets on a piece of equipment and resting between each one, don’t sit on the machine while you recover. I’ve seen people sit for three to five minutes while someone else is waiting to work in a set. And if you see someone waiting for your machine, offer to let him or her work in while you rest. Even if there isn’t someone in line, try to limit your recovery time when seated on the equipment to 30 seconds; it’s better for your heart rate and for those around you. In the same way, don’t hog the treadmill! Many gyms have time limits on cardio machines during busy hours. And no, throwing your towel over the display doesn’t fool anyone!
(4) Use the machines properly. I’ve seen people doing crunches on a leg press machine. If you don’t know how a machine works, either look at the diagrams on the machine or ask someone to show you how it works. Most gym-goers are happy to help. Likewise, use good form. Some inexperienced member may be looking at you and wondering is that how I’m suppose to do it? Good form is different depending on what exercise you’re doing but, however, in general, good form means:
Don’t swing your weights. Unless you’re doing a sports specific workout, use slow and controlled movements. If you have to heave the weight up, it’s too heavy macho-man!
(5) No personal belongings on the gym floor, please. Your gym bag on the floor takes up space, but moreover it’s a hazard, since someone can trip on it. Use a gym-provided locker or another provided space to stash your bag.
(6) Talking on a cell phone. Hearing someone gabbing away on the machine next to you is always distracting. It’s amazing how many people wear phone earbuds and carry on a full conversation while you’re trying to work out. Keep your phone stashed in your bag or locker while on the gym floor. If you find yourself tempted to make a call, remember that if you’re able to talk easily while you’re exercising, you may not be exerting much effort.
Above all, always respect the people around you and follow any posted rules that your gym may have. If you see someone blatantly breaking the rules, ask them politely to correct the behavior or talk to the facility manager about the problem. If you’ve noticed a situation, others probably have as well. Getting along with others at the gym just takes a little common sense. By following the rules of gym etiquette, you—and the exercisers around you—can all enjoy a great workout with minimal aggravation.