Welcome to Gym Etiquette 101. I will introduce you to some of the most basic principles of acceptable (and unacceptable) gym behavior to give you, as well as your neighbors, the most pleasant gym experience possible.
Lesson 1: Dress Code
Ninety-nine percent of gyms have a dress code. I know my gym in Katy’s dress code and I’m not even a member! Know your gym’s dress code and abide by it. Ladies, I know we see tons of fit women and fitness models “working out” in skimpy gym attire, but keep in mind they take those photos for photo shoots or “educational” purposes. Unless you are doing the same, please don’t wear less at the gym than you do in your daddy’s house.
Lesson 2: Hygiene
All too often a guy (and occasionally a girl) will pass by and you’ll almost pass out because of the stench that is their BO. Sometimes it’ll even be their freaking cologne! Either way, don’t come to the gym already in a stench cloud; no one likes working out next to “The Stinky Guy”. If you notice a 10 foot radius between yourself and the nearest person, take that as a hint TSG is YOU and go shower ASAP!
Lesson 3: Rewracking Weights
We have signs all over our temporary weight room in giant lettering that tells you to rewrack your dumbbells and weight plates when you’re through using them. By completing this simple task, it lets other people know you are done with the equipment and they are okay to use it next (however there is an exception that I will get to shortly). When you leave your weight plates on the calf raise machine, poor suckers like me stand there for 10 minutes looking around for the idiot who left them there to make sure we don’t look like the jerk who took your machine when you weren’t done.
Lesson 4: Waiting for Equipment
There are several issues that tie into this lesson, so bear with me.
This has become my biggest gym peeve by far over these last few weeks. Our Rec Center has become exceedingly overcrowded, and fully functional equipment is in short supply for the time being until the new weight room is completed this summer. With that in mind, it is easy to imagine the lines that form waiting for a cable, bench, deadlift, or squat rack. This issue is what sparked the idea of this entire blog post: I had just finished box squats and was bringing the box back to the weight room staff, and I had already taken my weight plates off the bar but left my water bottle and towel at the rack so that people knew I was still going to use the rack (I wanted to do back squats next). I came back to find two guys dismantling my rack so that they could begin using it. Upon this discovery I said aloud, “Seriously?!” Of course, they turned around confused and kind of shocked that I seemed outwardly pissed to say the least; when they openly asked if I was finished I told them, “Never mind, I won’t do the rest of my squats.” I quickly removed my belongings and left.
When waiting to use equipment, be sure to stand out of the way of other people using aisle ways to do lunges or other exercises in, or even other people simply trying to walk past you. The last time I did walking lunges, I stood with 70 lbs on my back waiting for two oblivious jerks to get out of my way. I began clucking at them like I do with my horses and they finally figured it out, while this other girl doing calf raises with her friend managed to make eye contact with me and then continued to stand in the aisle way. If this happens to you, just say “f*** it” and keep on truckin’. I told myself if I bump her with the bar, it’s her own damn fault because I gave her the chance to move AND there were other places for her to stand where she wouldn’t be in anyone’s way. Surprisingly, I don’t think I hit her, but I probably came pretty dang close. Respecting one another’s space is important gym etiquette.
Lesson 5: Don’t Be A “Bro”
There are a ton of guys that go to the gym and treat it like a social gathering. I get it, you’ll always see friends there and want to talk and catch up, but keep in mind your 15 minute “bro hug” may be cutting into someone’s gym time because they are waiting on the equipment that you’re using. This goes for ladies, as well. I know you haven’t seen each other “in like foreverrrrrrr”, but let’s be real that was a week ago. Talk and work out or make plans to catch up with friends after your workout so that you’re not holding up other people.
Lesson 6: Wipe Down Your Equipment
Some of us are sweatier than others, so be aware of your personal sweat pools! The stair master is notorious of harboring sweat pools all over. If you have lotion on your hands or any part of your body that comes in direct contact with the equipment, be sure to wipe it down completely when you’re through so that the next person doesn’t put their hand in a pool of your sweaty lotion slime.
That’s all for today’s Gym Etiquette 101 class. I will continue to share lessons with you as I come up with more pet peeves at the gym I’m sure. What are some of your gym peeves? Have any lessons you would like to share?