Socially Yours: Gym Etiquette 101

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Sometimes you need to put your best foot forward, even in the gym! Don’t suffer from fitness anxiety because of the rules of etiquette in a group setting like a gym or fitness center – use some common sense and some basic 101 courtesies and you can own your workout AND the impression you leave behind. Well, don’t leave ANY kind of impression behind and you will come out smelling like… Well you know what I mean!

1. Always ask. If someone is using a machine such as a treadmill or elliptical, or other piece of equipment and you need something nearby, ask if you can. Don’t walk up and grab a weight plate from the rack when someone is squatting!

2. Put your weights back. This should go without saying but it’s the number one rule broken in the gym. Related to this, don’t leave your weights on the ground. Ever tripped on a lazy fifty kilo dumbbell lying in the middle of the floor? My point exactly…

3. Be mindful of your surroundings. Gyms can be dangerous places if you’re not alert. On busy times, you should be mindful of other patrons; don’t start doing dumbbell kickbacks without checking behind you, for example.

4. Bring a towel. Use it. Gyms can be some of the most germ-ridden places you can go. One study found that sixty three percent of gym equipment showed the presence of rhinovirus which causes the common cold. Viruses love nonporous surfaces such as steel weights in particular. So, for both your own sake and the sake of other patrons, use that towel. In many gyms, towels are provided so take advantage and be safe!

5. Clean up after yourself. If your workout leaves you, well shall we say, less than fresh as a daisy  – thus leaving sweat on a piece of equipment – grab that towel and disinfectant spray to do your fellow gym-goers a solid. Hopefully all your fellow fitness kings and queens have done the same before you!

6. Selfies. Try to be discreet about them. Look, we know you want to take them and you should be able to. If nothing else, they’re a good way to track your progress. But come on, some people do not want their work out “do” shown to the masses on Facebook just because they happen to be cycling next to your body building prowess.

7. Personal space: respect it. Can’t get to a bench on Monday night? Too bad. Don’t stand very close to someone who has one, ready to pounce. Seriously? Yes, I’m talking to you equipment creeper…

8. Don’t hog the equipment. If you’re occupying a popular piece of equipment at a popular time of day, don’t sit there on your phone checking Instagram, oblivious to the waiting queue.

9. Avoid the chitchat. The gym is a place of solace for many people and, although it can be a great social setting, try to keep the gabbing to a minimum. And, guess what, if someone is wearing headphones, it probably means they don’t want to be disturbed.

In the end, all these boil down to the same concept ‘be considerate of other people.’ If we could all do that, the gym would be a much friendlier – not to mention tidier – place to visit.

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