Interactions between members of a gym are governed by a particular set of rules, just like interactions at the dinner table or in a movie theater. Some behaviors are expected as common courtesy and others are scorned as rudeness. Make sure you’re not a gym etiquette offender by considering the following questions:
1. Do you know how to share?
The gym is a communal environment. That means you need to share. Be considerate by not attempting to “save” a machine or other gym equipment if you need to take a short break during a workout. Accept that someone might step in during your absence. Take a turn on another machine, or just wait quietly until they are done. Additionally, don’t spend an exorbitant amount of time using one piece of equipment. If you see a line forming, that might be your hint to move on to your next activity and let others take their turns.
2. Do you avoid distracting others?
Distraction comes in a number of guises, including cell phones, loud music and noisy conversations. Distractions not only interrupt those around you, but can create a safety hazard – it’s easy to lose your footing while running and texting. While you do look great, tripping yourself or others while taking a #flawless gym selfie is definitely poor gym etiquette. Step outside if you need to make a call, keep the volume down on your music and try to talk softly so as to avoid distracting others.
You should also avoid wearing perfume or cologne to the gym. Deodorant is a must, but too much scent can not only be distracting, but could trigger an allergic reaction in some individuals.
3. Do you clean up after yourself?
If you see other people carrying towels and think they are only for wiping sweaty brows, you are mistaken. When you work out, you are going to sweat, and some of that sweat is going to get on the equipment. Since no one wants to sit in your pool of sweat, wipe down each machine after you are done for everyone’s hygiene and safety. Another excellent time to show your off your gym etiquette cleanliness is when you have been using portable equipment like dumbbells or exercise balls. Instead of leaving them around, be sure to put them back where you found them.
4. Do you give space to people during their workout?
If you are waiting for a machine, do not interrupt the current occupant with questions about when they will be done. Just be patient and wait for your turn. You should also keep unsolicited advice to yourself – if someone truly needs your assistance or opinion, they will ask for it. Not only will it likely be unwelcome, but if someone follows your advice and you were wrong, you could contribute to a possible injury. Giving people space when they are trying to focus on their activity is always greatly appreciated.
5. Do you come and go on time for scheduled events?
Signing up for group exercise classes is an awesome way to spend time at the gym. Being there when the class starts and staying until the end is not only the best way to get a safe, complete workout, but it also shows consideration for the instructor and other people taking the class. If you must leave early, tell the instructor ahead of time and set up near the door, so you can make a quick exit.
When you go to the gym, you expect to work out in peace and with as little aggravation as possible. Keep in mind that others are also expecting the same thing. Help everyone, including yourself, get the best workout possible by not being a gym etiquette offender.