Soon it will be New Year’s. Tons of people will be flocking to local gyms to start on a journey of transformation and good health— and self-punishment. While I’m truly all for making healthier choices, those of us who attend the gym year-round would like to remind everyone that there are some common-sense rules and etiquette you should be aware of when sharing the gym.
1. Clean up after yourself. If you can lift it to load it, you can put it away. The little 100-pound girl at the front desk shouldn’t have to put away the 300 pounds you put on the leg press.
2. Look, smell and act appropriately. There’s a reason Planet Fitness promotes their “Lunk Alarm.” If you wear too little clothing, wear too much perfume and stare at all the other gym members, you should rethink your reason for going to the gym. I go to the gym to work out, not to find a date. Just remember that there are others around you. They should not be offended by your scent (think deodorant use) or your lack of coverage. And P.S. – Please wash your gym clothes.
3. Wipe down the equipment. They provide those wipes for a reason. Hygiene should be a priority for everyone.
4. Don’t hog the equipment. If you are using multiple pieces of equipment or texting between sets, allow others to work in. We all pay memberships to rent the equipment. It does not have your name on it. This time of year, you probably should not count on doing circuits with the influx of gym attenders.
5. Use appropriate space. Respect others’ space bubble, don’t stand right in front of the mirror (especially if someone is watching their own form behind you) and do your workout in the right space (i.e., don’t do curls in the squat rack or stretch in the free-weight section).
6. Don’t give unwanted advice. While this usually is focused more toward guys than girls, if they aren’t going to hurt themselves, I tend to not give unsolicited advice. If they have headphones in, they don’t really want to talk anyway.
7. Use the equipment correctly. You will prevent injury and avoid breaking the equipment. If you aren’t sure how, hire a trainer or find an experienced lifting buddy.
8. Follow your gym rules. Gym rules vary. Some gyms allow chalk, some gyms have powerlifting equipment and allow those weights to drop, and some don’t. Know what your gym believes to be important and follow those rules.
9. Don’t be ridiculous. Some grunting may be appropriate, but not with every rep on every set. Don’t drop the weights— most were not made to be dropped. Don’t flex in front of the mirror between sets or take butt selfies with duck lips.
Going to the gym should be a satisfying experience for everyone. If we all do our part to take care of the gym and the equipment, and have respect for all those working out around us, it will make this busy New Year great for everyone.