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Gym etiquette 101

January 17, 2020

By Taylor Flood

Hold on to your spandex kids, class is in session.

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As someone who goes to the gym five times a week and needs the exercise to stay sane, there is nothing that annoys me more than poor gym etiquette.  I just want to get in the gym, get my workout done and then go eat, but with a small school gym and hundreds of people sharing the space, it’s never that simple. Between people taking forever on machines and not putting equipment back where it belongs, I always find myself getting annoyed or end up in the gym for an extra half hour. I get it, everyone is there to get fit and be their best selves, but some people just shouldn’t be allowed in a gym without going through a gym etiquette course. So that’s what this article is for. Here is a list of things you should and should not do when working out in a public gym. Especially a crowded school gym.

Wear Deodorant

Yes, we’re all working hard and sweating our butts off, and yes we’re all going to smell a little bit in the process. That's what happens in the gym, but come on people, wear deodorant! If I need to move away from you because you smell that bad, there’s a problem. It takes two seconds to swipe deodorant on your armpits, so do it! The public will thank you.

Put your weights away - in the right spot

First of all, leaving your weights all over the floor is just not cool  If the weights are so heavy you can’t carry them the five feet back to their rack, you shouldn’t be lifting them in the first place.  Secondly, it doesn't take any extra effort to put your weights back in the right spot. They’re all labelled for a reason. At the end of the day, staff have to go through the gym and clean up after everyone, they shouldn’t be getting a pump from re-racking your weights properly.  

Don’t stand in front of the dumbbell rack

Move. Just move. You can literally stand anywhere you want, just don’t block the dumbbells. It’s a small space and people are trying to get weights and put them away. 

Don’t hog machines/equipment

This just boils down to being a respectful person. By all means, do what you need to do to properly complete your workout, but be cognizant that there are plenty of other people who are probably waiting for whatever you’re using. If you’re using five different dumbbell sets for an exercise, take one at a time, don’t pile them around you like a fortress.  Or if you’re doing volume training, take shorter breaks or offer to let people work-in with you.

Don’t stand in front of other people using the mirror

Repeat after me: You. Are. Not. A. Window. I know it's crowded, I know you want to admire your “sick pump bro”, but if you step in front of my mirror space I will tell you to get the f out of my way. Mirrors are in the gym so people can check their form and avoid injury, not for your selfies.  Be respectful and aware of the people around you and stay out of their mirror space.  

Clean the equipment off after you’re done

The school gym services hundreds of students each day. That’s hundreds of dirty, sweaty bodies touching everything you’re touching. Take a few seconds after you’re finished with a machine or bench to wipe it down. There are sanitation bottles and towels at every machine so you have zero excuses not too. Do your part.

Don’t sit on a machine/bench and text

This is pretty self-explanatory and you’d think common sense, but so often I see people texting more than exercising.  You came here to workout. Enjoy the time with yourself and the people physically around you. Bae, your #instacrush, or mom will still be there after… Also, chances are there is someone waiting for the machine you’re using as a seat.

Be aware of the people around you

Similar to mirror space, people like to have their personal space.  Leave a respectable amount of room between you and the person next to you on the benches or wherever you are.  Also, be aware of what people are doing. If I’m doing lateral raises and you get too close to me, it's not my fault when you get hit in the face with a dumbbell.

Do not curl in the squat/power racks

Ah, the squat racks. Always busy. Aptly named after what they’re used for. Notice they’re not called curl racks? That’s because you’re not supposed to do bicep curls in them. 

Don’t interrupt people in the middle of a set

Asking how many sets someone has left is perfectly reasonable. Just don’t do it in the middle of their set. It takes a decent amount of concentration to keep good form, count your reps and move weight. Chances are I can’t hear you over my music anyway, and if I can, I’m ignoring you until I’m done.

Don’t workout in groups of more than three people

I know it’s fun to workout with friends and they truly are one of the best sources of motivation, however, working out in groups of more than three people has two main issues.  A) three people x at least three sets each = nine sets. That’s a lot of time at one machine that multiple people are now waiting for. B) The more people in your group means the less effective your workout is.  You want to keep your heart rate in a fat-burning stage (at least) and if you’re waiting around for five minutes between each set you’re not getting the most out of your workout.

Respect the staff

These are the gatekeepers of the Flex.  They have the power to kick you out and they will if they need to. The rules they enforce are there for your safety and the safety of those around you, so if they tell you to use clips, put your shoes on or stop the unnecessarily loud grunting, please do it.  Respect the space and respect the staff.

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