We’ve all been there- enjoying a workout when you get a waft of body odor, hear someone’s favourite rendition of Material Girl on loud speaker, or had to wait 30 minutes to get one rep in at the quad machine. The gym should be a place where people come together to work on their health and fitness goals. That being said, it also happens to be one of the places where we hear the most complaints when it comes to etiquette, and therefore ensuring a respectful environment requires adhering to proper gym manners. Whether you’re a gym newbie or a seasoned fitness enthusiast, here are some tips to help you navigate the gym with courtesy and respect.
1. Clean Up After Yourself
Leaving equipment sweaty, littered with used towels, or strewn with weights is a surefire way to irritate fellow gym-goers and gym staff. Always wipe down machines and benches after use, and return weights, dumbbells, and other equipment to their designated spots. Keeping a clean and organized gym benefits everyone.
2. Share Equipment
Sharing is caring when it comes to gym equipment. If someone is waiting for a machine or bench you’re using, be mindful of their time and offer to let them work in between your sets. It’s also important to avoid monopolizing weights and keeping too many to yourself and only take weights that you are actively using. This promotes a friendly and cooperative atmosphere.
3. Use Headphones
We all have different taste in music and exercise routines, so keep your tunes to yourself by using headphones. Blasting music from your phone or a portable speaker can be disruptive and distracting to others who prefer a quieter environment.
4. Respect Personal Space
Give people enough space to work out comfortably. Avoid hovering too closely to someone who is using equipment or working on a specific exercise. Everyone has their preferred space, so be aware of their boundaries. This also means peeping eyes- avoid staring and never film or record someone without their knowledge and approval.
5. Mind Your Hygiene
Good personal hygiene is essential at the gym. Remember to wear clean and appropriate workout attire, use deodorant, and bring a towel to wipe away excess sweat. Also, it’s common courtesy to shower and change clothes after an intense workout session before heading to other shared spaces like locker rooms or saunas. Be respectful in locker rooms by putting used towels in laundry bins and cleaning up after yourself.
6. Limit Cell Phone Use
While it’s okay to use your phone for tracking workouts or listening to music, avoid extended conversations or browsing noisy social media during your workout. Keep your phone use brief and be aware of your surroundings.
7. Wait Your Turn
If someone is using a piece of equipment you want, don’t rush them or stand too closely, as it can make them uncomfortable. Wait patiently, and if they take an extended break, kindly ask if you can work in or how many sets they have left. If someone looks like they need a hand with a heavy weight, it’s polite to ask someone if they “need a spot”, but make sure you are able to properly support them if you offer.
8. Be Mindful of Mirrors
Mirrors are essential for checking your form, but they’re also a shared resource. Don’t block others’ views by standing too close to the mirror or using it for extended periods when you’re not actively exercising.
9. Offer Encouragement, Not Criticism
Support your fellow gym-goers with words of encouragement when appropriate, but avoid offering unsolicited advice, criticism or bad looks. Focus on your own workout, unless someone specifically asks for help.
10. Get Rid of the Grunt
Loud, distracting and constant noises at the gym can make it difficult for others working out around you. While it’s expected to hear deep exhales or an occasional heavy lift heave, be conscious that continuous loud bodily noises in a shared gym environment can make it hard for others to concentrate.
By practicing good gym etiquette, you can help create a positive atmosphere that encourages everyone to achieve their fitness goals comfortably and respectfully. Remember, the gym is a shared space, and your actions can significantly impact the experience of others. And on that note, happy lifting! PS- Getting fit? Try one of these nutritious smoothie recipes.