First off, let me say I’m not perfect at the gym, but I’m trying to be better. Perhaps having the accountability of this blog will help me be more conscious while I’m working out. Secondly, a lot of these issues stem from some of my pet peeves.
1) RE-RACK YOUR WEIGHTS (or other equipment)
If you’re too lazy to re-rack your weights then you shouldn’t be working with the weights to begin with. The old rule: leave things better than you found them holds true at the gym. My mom’s trainer says that getting your weights out & putting them away should be part of your workout routine – think about those little extra calories your burning (or muscle fibers you’re ripping – in a good way) while carrying your weights (or other pieces of equipment such as handles, bars, balls, mats, bands, etc…) back to where they go. PS: THE FLOOR IS NOT WHERE THEY GO – EVER! Hello, trip hazard!!!
2) HEADPHONE VOLUME
Rule of thumb – take your headphones out & hold them at arms length away. If you can still hear them (even in the slightest) they are too loud. I don’t want to hear the bass coming out of your super awesome low-end headphones, and that grandma working out nearby really doesn’t. Plus, YOU may want to still be able to hear that bass when you are as old as that grandma, so turn it down. For our sakes & yours!
3) RESTING BETWEEN SETS? GET UP!!!
If you like do to do 3 sets of 10 on one piece of equipment with rests between each set AT LEAST get up between sets! Let other people “work in” around you. Or better yet, keep your heart rate up & pick 2+ exercises and go back and forth between them without resting. This allows others to work in around you & will ultimately give you a better workout. Double win! I generally do a circuit of 3 – 4 exercises (with one being more cardio like mountain climbers, high knees, jumping jacks, etc…) and it almost always works out – until that loaf decides to sit & wait between sets on the equipment I was using!
Some gyms are nice enough to provide towels. There are usually 3 types of towels a gym may provide:
A) Full size towels – These are for showers, saunas, steam rooms, pools, hot tubs, ONLY. In a nut shell, these are for full body drying off or wrapping around (please use one in steam rooms/saunas!). These ARE NOT for bringing with you to the workout center to wipe sweat off your brow – see B for that!
B) Hand size towels – These are generally the size that you have by your bathroom sink. THESE are what you bring to the workout center to wipe the sweat off your brow. Does your gym not provide them (or tend to run out often like mine)? Then pack an extra one or two in your gym bag just in case (I cut an old towel into 4 which worked out great). Also, don’t use your sweaty towel to wipe off equipment – see C for that!
C) Machine towels – These are generally kept at each machine with a spray bottle of disinfectant/deodorizer. USE THEM! Especially during flu season or if you got a machine really sweaty from dripping on it. Some gyms may have paper towel dispensers & spray bottles. It’s okay to use the paper towel over again on the equipment your using. And it’s better for the environment.
Side note: Sometimes if the gym doesn’t have B towels but has the C towels you can ask someone working there for an extra C towel to use for B purposes. Just make sure you get it to someone who can make sure it gets washed before it’s back to being used for C. But if you truly rely on B towels, pack your own!
There you are, lifting an insane amount of weight, which is super intimidating already, AND you have a look on your face like you want to punch someone. The gym can be a great place to meet friends or find a great workout buddy, but no one wants to get to know someone who looks like they have anger issues. So smile when crossing paths or asking if you can “work in” on a machine. It goes a long way. (PS: I’m still trying to be better at this one).
NOTICE: Most of these etiquette tips help not only your fellow gym rats, but usually have benefits for you, too!
Eventually I will post some things for your own health & safety (mostly, your neck/back) so if you are a gym rat like me, pay attention for that future blog – probably about proper form or something like that. And I’m sure I will think of more etiquette topics to share.
DO YOU HAVE GYM ETIQUETTE ADVICE/TIPS/PET PEEVES? Share them in the comments!