Proper Gym Etiquette
So your ready to hit the gym and smash some weights. No excuses. No more “I’ll start after this weekend” bullshit. The time is now. You are motivated, determined and extremely focused.
You call the gym up set up your sweet ass recurring payment plan that your totally going to get your money out of and say to yourself “I’m going tomorrow – Day 1 of my new life”. New you, right?
After dropping a couple hundred bucks on some fresh new work out gear your ready to make your debut under the irons and begin forging that body of steal you imaged just a few short days ago. Entering the gym for the first time you feel like your in foreign territory. “what the hell do I do now?” “how does this machine work?” “what weight do I start at?”. Some big ass dude who looks like he eats roids like skittles hits the bench next to you. Now you’re outside your comfort zone. You screw around for a bit maybe do some half-ass heavy reps with terrible form and then gingerly retreat to the elliptical because that’s the only thing you think you know how to use.
I know all this because this is exactly how it started for me each time I tried to get into shape and failed. Luckily for me, the fourth or fifth go around a friend showed me around the gym. I learned the proper gym etiquette in the process that made my life easier when working out amongst others.
You are a mile ahead of everyone else because you showed up. No one cares how much or how little you can lift and everyone is generally eager to help. We all start somewhere. When in doubt it is better to start with lower weight and work your way up. Do not be ashamed as I have seen the biggest guys lifting the smallest dumbbells. Not everyone’s goal is benching a truck. Some people are beginners and some are advanced. Some are training to lose weight and some are training to gain mass. People train for physique and others are packing the muscle. The moral of the story is find out what your goals are and come up with a plan of action to achieve them and do not worry what others think.
When you finally realize this and start your work out regiment you will find most are very helpful. We actually enjoy helping others and it gives a sense of accomplishment. Man last year I could barely rep 30 lbs and now these big guys want dieting tips!
All that being said there are some basic unspoken rules and etiquettes that will help your gym-going experience for the better.
Gym Etiquette 101
This goes back to elementary school where you are supposed to read the directions before you start your work! Every gym will have basic rules posted in obvious places. Most of the time when you sign up to be a member they also give you a copy. Read the rules and follow the rules.
Heres another obvious one! You workout you sweat and when you sweat you stink. Wash your gym clothes regularly and be hygienic. No one wants to walk through a cloud of onion body order on their way to the cable machine! Now you don’t have to go too far and treat this like some prom dance but use your head.
The paper towels and spray bottles are not there for show or in case of an accident. They exist to keep the gym clean and prevent the spread of bacteria or infections like Staph or MRSA.
That being said it is just being polite to fellow gym goers. No one wants to sit in your pool of sweat. That is gross.
Put your toys away! It is not my job or anyone else job to put your weights away. All the weights and accessories have homes in the gym and this not only makes it easier to find what you’re looking for but also keeps the gym tidy.
This is common courtesy and one that will surely garner complaints if not adhered to.
Stretching or warming up? Hell, even repping some lifts? Do not set up shop in the middle of a commonly walked path.
We are all human so if the gym is busy you got to do what you got to do and most people understand that but if it’s not asses to elbows keep out of the walkways.
Working out with dumbbells is one of the best parts of the gym.
The worse part is waiting for you to move because for some effed up reason you decided to curls 3 inches from the whole rack of weights. Others want to use these to so grab your dumbells take a few steps back and begin your set.
This allows other gym goers access to the weights they pay monthly to use and its just being polite!
its 2 am on a Saturday and we are the only two people in the gym – why are you six inches from my bench?
Even if we are besties give me some space!
Once again everyone knows when its jammed packed that you have no choice but when there is space available let others have it.
So you wanna use the leg press machine but someone who was on is just standing by it watching ESPN.
Do not just hop on the machine just ask if they are still using it or not. Headphones on? Just nod and signal to the machine in question. 90 percent of the time they will tell you “you good man all yours”, “I got one more set” etc or they will offer to work in with you. We will discuss working in on the next topic.
Take care of the machines as they were your own. Don’t be the asshole that broke the leg curl machine. The machines are actually hard to break so you should be fine.
When is it okay to work in with someone? First, can you do this exercise elsewhere or substitute for another exercise? Example if your wanting to shrug on the smith machine simply shrug with free weights.
When to ask to work in – use common sense. If someone is squatting 500 lbs and you’re only going to be squatting 90 then it may be best to just wait instead of creating a hassle for all parties involved.
Try to be considerate of the logistics of the exercise involved. On the cable machine if you’re both doing tri pull downs then yeah work in but if you’re changing out position and weights and accessories then hold off for a bit and revisit the machine later.
This is pretty straightforward – if the gym is super busy just forget about your circuit and supersets for this session. The first rule of the gym is to always be considerate of others.
OK, so it’s not to busy go ahead and do your circuit but pick equipment that is close together. Nothing is more annoying than some asshole fifty feet away telling me that he is using the cable machine as part of his circuit. You can move something around the gym if you’re doing a circuit move your bench or weights close to where you are training so there is no confusion.
OK, I know what your thinking – yoga pants? NO well not just yoga pants. No one likes someone staring at them for a long period of time.
I get it sometimes a lift is impressive or perhaps you want to try someones work out. There are ways to go about it. Ask don’t stare.
You find him or her attractive? Don’t stare. Makes for a creepy environment.
There is too much to go over in this brief blog post in one shot without making a long ass book. Perhaps we can address individual sections in more detail in later post. To recap the number one thing is to be considerate of others. After you have some gym time experience all this will come subconsciously and you will be on autopilot.
Comment below for any questions comments or concerns.