The first month of the new year is full of new resolutions, new meal plans and more new gym membership purchases than probably any other time of the year. The beginning of the year is the time so many people attend a fitness facility for the first time or maybe, restarting last year’s resolution! We thought it was also a good time to start another resolution that might make keeping a fitness routine a bit easier—following good gym etiquette rules.
From the novice to the seasoned gym member, most of us are well-aware of the type of rude behavior and discourteous habits that can make even the most patient gym attendee really work up a sweat. Whether it’s neglecting to wipe down equipment or spending too much time on a particular machine, follow these gym etiquette rules that will help keep you in tip top form.
Proper gym attire: No matter what kind of gym you attend, you’ve probably seen just about every type of gym apparel on the market. From the bare to the minimum, some people love to flaunt their body and show off all their progress. However, just because you finally have a six pack or lost some major weight, it doesn’t mean that your fellow athletes want to see excessive skin. Tasteful and modest doesn’t mean you have to wear a nun’s habit but, do consider wearing fitted clothing that is not too tight, too loose or too distracting.
Personal hygiene: No matter who we are, we all sweat—especially at the gym. But the sight of sweat and the smell of it are two different things. Be considerate of others and use personal care products that can mask odors that come from exercising. However, do your best to not wear excessively fragrant deodorants, perfumes or colognes because those odors can often be more harmful and cause sinus, asthma, and other breathing issues for those around you. When it comes to those sweaty post workout clothes - do everyone a favor and wash them at home before wearing them again. Your yoga mat neighbor will love you for the extra effort.
Personal space: When you work out, you need space. Whether you are doing floor exercises, yoga or hiking up onto the spin bike, personal space is a valuable commodity in a gym or studio. Use common sense to ensure you are not impeding on someone else’s workout area. Although a gym is a gathering place, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a place to overly socialize. Most people really like to focus on their workout and try to get in and out in a reasonable preset time allotment. So be mindful to not be too chatty and let everyone concentrate on the work at hand. Also, despite old stereotypes, gyms are not the best place for romantic pursuits. Most men and women are there to concentrate on themselves so, you might want to keep the pickup lines for someplace else.
Equipment use: Gyms are often packed places and there is limited time to use equipment in any given workout. Because of the time restraints, be courteous and be mindful of the amount of time you spend on any one piece of equipment. No one wants to wait their turn too long. Be considerate, especially if you are in a group workout doing intervals. Also, if you are using a piece of equipment like a yoga mat, spin cycle or a weight machine that will come into contact with your body, always spray the item down and wipe it clean before the next person uses it. For free weights and other smaller items, be sure to replace them to their proper place so the next person can easily find them.
Showers: If you take a shower at the gym, be sure and keep your belongings in your appointed locker to protect them and to also keep the area tidy. Wear shower shoes for hygiene and also gather any personal care products before you leave.
Keeping the peace: Along with our suggestion for not being overly chatty, also consider the sound levels of your electronic devices. If you are using an iPhone or other item to listen to music, be sure to use headphones. Finally, refrain from staring at other people while they are working out. Everyone deserves privacy at the gym so they can keep focused on a good workout and avoid being self-conscious.