Lifestyle

Gym Etiquette 101

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The gym SHOULD be a place where you can escape your hectic life for at least a moment each day. A place where you’re free to focus simply on yourself and not be bogged down with anybody else’s problems. A place where you can release the thoughts of where you should be or what you should be doing. This is YOUR time, and you want to make the most of it.

Your gym bag is packed, you’ve got your shaker cup with your pre- and post-workout ready to go, and your iPod is loaded up with some new music. You’ve been looking forward to this workout since the moment you sat down in your office and had a new project dumped on you.

You are going to have the BEST workout ever today…and then it happens:

POOR GYM ETIQUETTE.

For the regular gym-goer, witnessing or being impacted by someone with poor gym etiquette can be highly frustrating. Keep reading to make sure that you are not committing any of these gym sins.

I asked my friends on social media to give me their list of top GYM ETIQUETTE FAILS. Here’s what I got, in order from most frustrating to slightly less frustrating:

  1. Leaving sweat behind
  2. Not re-racking your weights
  3. Machine hogs, camped out for ages with excessive rest periods
  4. Smashing or dropping weights
  5. People who talk to you while you have your headphones in, especially mid-set
  6. Loud grunting / yelling
  7. Bad body odour
  8. People standing / working in your personal space
  9. People with their faces buried in their phones, especially while resting on a machine
  10. Stealing machines / benches / weights while you’re resting without asking

I believe that we are all guilty of at least one of these things from time to time. In fact, I myself am a gym phone person, I’ll check emails and texts etc. while resting. However, I always make an effort to get off the machine before breaking out my phone (if that makes it less offensive… moving on!).

I would like to offer suggestions to those who may find themselves stuck with these poor gym habits. Counting down from the least to the most problematic issues, here they are.

STEALING MACHINES / BENCHES / WEIGHTS

Here’s the simple fix for this one !so that you’re NEVER the gym jerk who took someone’s equipment from them): just ask if you can work in. Short and sweet, and I can almost guarantee the answer will be yes. Or, even better, you’ll find out that they only have one set left and the equipment can be all yours!

PEOPLE WITH THEIR FACES BURIED IN THEIR PHONE

It’s cool if you’ve got to check a message or an email- maybe you’re waiting for some important news. Just make sure that you aren’t in anybody’s way by staying on a machine, and be conscious of the time you spend on your phone. It doesn’t take long to check your messages. If you need to reply to someone and it’s going to take a couple minutes, step away from the machine. Also, take your gym selfies somewhere other than the leg press.

PEOPLE STANDING IN YOUR PERSONAL SPACE

Maybe you’re a hugger and feel comfortable being in close proximity to other humans. It’s cool, I’m a hugger too. However, when there are barbells and dumbbells swinging around, I highly suggest you back off and give everyone a bit of space. Remember, many people see the gym as a time to enter their own personal zone- don’t intrude!

BAD BODY ODOUR

Most gyms request that you don’t wear perfumes or colognes due to scent sensitivities. This also goes for B.O!

There is NO GYM ON EARTH that is requesting that you refrain from wearing deodorant!

Maybe you’re unable to smell yourself (which has always confused me) but just remember that, while at the gym, you will sweat. And sadly, sweat doesn’t smell like roses. Err on the side of caution and remember your deodorant before heading out the door.

LOUD GRUNTING / YELLING

Heavy sets require deeper breathing, absolutely. But we’re not barbarians nor are we wild animals. We’re respectable adults in a shared space, and a simple heavy breath of exhaustion would suffice.
I’m positive that the piercing high yelling and moaning is actually taking up MORE energy than the lift, so I suggest practicing some breathing techniques for your next workout.

PEOPLE TALKING TO YOU WHILE YOUR HEADPHONES ARE IN 

This one really blows my mind. Every time. I get that YOU prefer to workout without music, but the rest of us who choose the tunes do so to prevent distraction or to motivate ourselves to work a little harder. Likely, the music is loud enough that we actually can’t hear you. The only reason that we have begrudgingly removed one earphone to hear what you’re saying is because we see your lips moving and assume that you’re going to expect a response.

This is annoying. That is all I can say about that. Please do not do it. Just wait until our workout is done or until we’re resting between sets.

SMASHING / DROPPING THE WEIGHTS

Some weights are heavy, really really heavy. I get it.

Here’s the thing. You picked them up, so it’s quite likely that you can put them down without causing a mini earthquake and the sound of a shotgun firing to startle the entire weight room. I know you’re also fatigued from your super heavy set. We see you, and we’re actually pretty impressed by your strength. But then you ruin it by throwing the weights three feet to the floor- potentially breaking them, the floor, or an innocent bystander’s foot. Just be the strong gentleman (or woman) you are, and put your weights down in a safe manner.

MACHINE HOGS

We’re all here for the same reason, to get our workout in. So, let’s do what our parents all taught us and SHARE.

This is really simple – when you’re using a machine, and I mean actively using it, it’s yours. When you’re done your set, and someone is lingering around the area, take your rest but take it somewhere other than the machine.

NOT RE-RACKING YOUR WEIGHTS

We were all raised in different family settings with different beliefs and different rules. One pretty universal skill and courtesy we all learned as children was to pick up after ourselves and put our toys away when were done. This lesson is easily transferred to the gym setting.

LEAVING SWEAT BEHIND

If you spilled your coffee on the chair at work, would you clean it up?  If you said no, I have no words. I trust that most of you said yes of course. The same goes for leaving pools of your sweat on benches, machines, and all over the cardio equipment. It’s really quite disgusting to jump on a machine or the step mill to find that you’ve landed your hand or butt in someone else’s sweat. REALLY, it’s actually the most disgusting thing. It’ll only take you five seconds max to grab a rag and wipe it down.

Final Thoughts

To sum up (quite simply!) how these TOP TEN GYM ETIQUETTE FAILS could be remedied, just remember that we all go to the gym for the same reason: to have a great workout. Be aware of others around you, be a nice person, share the space, and keep it clean!

Happy training!

I'm a personal trainer, a life coach, a friend, a counsellor, a shoulder, a punching bag... a boot camp instructor ... you name it i play that role, and I am happy to do it. Some people say you shouldn't build personal relationships with clients... i say screw it. Life is short, if you want to do it, do it, smile a lot, laugh a lot more, be kind, be wise, follow your instinct, have a blast, love, and drink water.

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