9 Gym Etiquette Rules to Consider
Here at One Health Clubs, we believe that we have great members. Our hope is always that all of our members be afforded the opportunity to enjoy our first rate facilities; without inconvenience or disruption. As such, in every club, there are things to keep in mind when it comes to cooperative etiquette.
From a survey of experts conducted by the good people at Livestrong.com, here is a list of the most common (and most aggravating) gym missteps.
Read on, to see if you’re guilty of any of these 9-major gym etiquette pet peeves:
1. If You’re Sick, Stay Home
Coughing and sneezing during a fitness class, or while lifting weights, leaves a trail of nasty microbes waiting to infect the rest of the gym. According to Jessica Matthews, exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise, in general it’s okay to exercise with “above the neck” symptoms like a sore throat or runny nose. “But in fairness to your non-sick fellow fitness fanatics,” Matthews explains, “if you’re going to get some exercise in while you’re battling a cold, you should opt for an at-home workout — perhaps your favourite fitness DVD or an outdoor workout.”
If you do choose to work out at the gym, be respectful of others and be sure to properly sanitize all equipment that you use — which you should always do, sniffles or not.
2. Dress Appropriately
Short-shorts, barely-there tank tops and loose, baggy clothes that get caught in a machine can all constitute fashion hazards for various reasons. “While the clothes don’t necessarily make the workout, the right apparel can definitely enhance your exercise experience and help you to avoid any unwanted attention,” says Matthews. Wearing clothing that provides appropriate coverage and the right fit, will allow you to do everything from jump squats to downward facing dogs with confidence and ease.
“If you’re clothing is too tight, it can restrict your range of motion, which can affect your form,” says Matthews. Baggy clothing and/or too-long pants can get caught or snagged on something, or you can trip over them and injure yourself.
3. Smell Good, Not Great
When your aroma –good or bad– enters the room before you do, it’s time to make some adjustments. “Leave fragrances and colognes for outside the gym,” says Matthews, “but please use deodorant.” Heavy fragrances and perfumes can be distracting to your fellow fitness class goers and can even trigger allergic reactions in some individuals.
Strong body odour can also be very unpleasant, so either shower and/or swipe on deodorant before breaking a sweat. Matthews also recommends not using greasy lotions before you hit the gym. Once you begin to sweat, creams can make your skin slippery, making it difficult to hold your favourite arm balancing posture in yoga, or properly grip and hold on to a barbell or kettle bell — which could put you at risk of injury.
4. Don’t Use the Water Fountain to Refill Your Giant 64-oz Bottle
Staying hydrated during your workout is important, especially on hot days. But standing in front of the water fountain refilling your gallon size bottle creates a bottleneck of thirsty gym members waiting in line behind you.
Follow the rules of the road, says Guy Andrews, MA, CSCS, executive director of Exercise ETC, Inc., a fitness education program provider in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “Yield the right of way. Step to the side so people who want a fast gulp or two can get back to working out. And to avoid spreading germs, don’t touch the spigot of the fountain to the mouth of your bottle.”
5.Keep Your Gym Bag in a Locker, Not at the Feet of Other Exercisers
The only thing worse than dropping a weight on your foot is doing it because you tripped over someone’s gym bag lying on the floor. “Leaving a bag on the floor is a major tripping hazard, which is why all gyms prohibit it,” says Andrews.
Use the lockers inside the locker room. “If you’re afraid that your locker may be broken into, leave the stuff in your car,” says Andrews. You can also keep any valuables on you: Fanny packs may be tacky but they’re functional, says Andrews. Better yet, strip down to the essentials: carry your I.D., phone, keys and maybe one debit card on your person and leave the rest at home.
6. Respect Other Peoples’ Desire for Quiet
Stay off of your phone. No one wants to hear your conversations. Plus, your gym time should be your time to cut the cord for an hour or so, says Andrews.
“There are times when making or taking a call is necessary, but it should not be standard operating procedure for you.” Exceptions include a work crisis or a phone call from your wife or husband telling you the house is burning down. In that case, exit the training area to make your call. You’ll probably have better reception and more privacy outside, and the people around you will appreciate it.
7. Unload Your Weight Bar
News flash: Your mother doesn’t work at the gym to pick up after you. So, be a sport and don’t leave a bar or machine with full racks of 45-pound plates. The next person after you now has to remove all your poundage before he or she can even begin.
Removing your weights off the bar is part of your workout, says Holland. “It’s usually the person lifting a ton of weight who’s most guilty of this manoeuvre. In addition, if you leave the weights on other people don’t know whether or not you’re finished using the equipment.” If you know the culprit who makes this a regular habit, don’t take matters into your hands, says Holland. Go to management and tell them. They should be the ones to lay down the law.
8. Re-rack Dumbbells
Failing to re-rack your dumbbells is as dangerous as leaving your gym bag lying on the floor. In addition to the tripping danger, the next exerciser will need to search for the weights if they’re not in their proper location on the rack. “It’s rude and dangerous,” says Holland.
“Re-racking your weights is part of your workout. It’s so simple.” This also pertains to weight plates. Leaving a 45-lb plate leaning against a machine because you’re too lazy to re-rack it is just as dangerous as leaving a dumbbell out on the floor — and it can roll at an expected time.
9. Wipe Down the Bench and Use a Towel
Many gyms require you to use a towel when you work out, and with good reason. It’s more than just gross to lie in someone else’s sweat, but — although the risk is low — you could end up infected with MRSA, staphylococcus aureus.
Always use a protective barrier between you and the bench, whether it’s a towel or shirt, and wipe down any surfaces with antiseptic wipes before or after use. And always shower and wash your hands immediately after your workout.