As a child your parents probably taught you the importance of having good manners. Most likely, they made you say “please” and “thank you.” They probably also taught you not to interrupt or cut in line. Basically, most of us grew up with a pretty good idea of what is considered to be rude or inconsiderate in our everyday interactions.
Your manners come into play in all aspects of life, including at work, while shopping, when eating at a restaurant, and even in line at the post office. I’m not saying everyone uses their good manners, but more often than not people do.
However, one place where I consistently find a lack of people minding their manners is at the gym. Yes, there is such a thing as gym etiquette. When you workout at a gym you are sharing limited space and equipment with a bunch of other people. It’s like pre-school all over again. You are sharing a bunch of germ covered ‘toys’ with others. What? It’s true!
In theory, it’s the perfect place to practice good manners and good hygiene, right? Wrong. On a daily basis I see people being incredibly inconsiderate. I don’t know if this is because they are so focused on getting their workout over with that they ignore their surroundings, or are too busy jamming to their latest play list to be polite.
There are plenty of people with wonderful gym etiquette. These are the people that ask if you are using a piece of equipment before grabbing for it, that clean their equipment with the disinfectant wipes, and that don’t camp out on a specific machine all afternoon. A giant high-five to you! You guys rock! For everyone else, it may be a good idea to review the following list. Who knows, maybe you are breaking the gym etiquette rules without realizing they exist.
Avoid these gym etiquette offences:
- Do not save a machine while you use another one. That leg press does not have your name on it. Everyone else has the same right to use it as you do. If the piece of equipment you want is unavailable when you need it, move on to your next exercise, or pick an alternative exercise that works that same muscle group.
- Wipe down your equipment with a CLEAN towel. I’m sure you don’t want to sit in a pool of someone else’s germy sweat anymore then they want to sit in yours. Clean off any equipment you use, and not with the towel you just wiped your face with. If a disinfectant towel is available, use those. If not, use a clean towel.
- Adhere to the time limits on cardio equipment. At most gyms there is a limited number of cardio equipment for everyone to use. On the more popular machines, there is often a 30-minute time limit per person. If this is the case, it’s not ok to stay on said machine for 45- minutes or even a full hour. Most likely there are other people waiting patiently to use that same machine. So be kind and watch your time.
- Don’t be a stalker. As rude as it is to save a machine, it’s equally rude to hover. You can be conscious of when a machine become available without constantly being in someone’s personal space while they workout.
- Keep noises down to a minimum. Personally, this is one of my biggest pet peeves. The grunters, weight slammers and super loud music players. There’s nothing more distracting than lifting next to someone who is making noises, which frankly ought to be reserved for the bedroom. I know lifting a heavy weight requires effort, but keep your weird noises to a minimum and focus on your breathing.
As for weight slammers, oh where do I begin…Sometimes, it cannot be avoided depending on how much weight is being used, but if you are slamming them to look “tough,” STOP IT! It’s not good for the equipment and it’s distracting to others. Not to mention, it doesn’t make you look cool.
Next time you hit the gym, aim to be a polite and well-mannered gym go-er. It makes everyone’s experience that much better.