Now that you have taken the first step and actually went to the gym…(easier than you thought it was right!?)….what do you do now? You have your workout planned and you’re ready to hit the weights but you still have fear. Why is that? You don’t know the proper gym etiquette. You would be surprised how many people don’t go to the gym simply because they have no clue how to conduct themselves. Plenty of people have told me that they feel dumb when they are in the gym. Everybody had to start as a beginner though so there is no point in having a negative feeling while at the gym because this will affect your workout. The gym is a unique environment and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed but it’s time to fix that.
THE WRITTEN CODE
Every gym has written rules. These rules are in place to ensure member safety. You may be familiar with most of them if you have been to a gym before. They are common sense rules that are straight forward. These rules are good to know but are outnumbered by the unwritten rules of the gym.
- DROPPING WEIGHTS
Dropping weights can potentially cause injury to members and damage equipment. Besides that, it’s annoying. Put them down gently. You won’t look like a pansy.
- RETURNING WEIGHTS
This is a simple act of courtesy. When you are finished using weights, return them to the rack (re-rack your weights). Not everybody can unload numerous 45lb plates nor do they want to. Leaving your heavy weights for somebody else to deal with doesn’t show how much of a beast you are. In reality, it shows that you’re a douche.
- PROPER ATTIRE
Where appropriate clothing for exercise. Jeans and open toe shoes are NOT gym attire. If you really want to feel awkward in the gym, wear the wrong clothing and you will see the reactions.
- SWEAT HYGIENE
If you sweat all over a piece of equipment, WIPE IT DOWN!! There are sanitary wipes and sprays available to clean equipment. You should wipe down equipment after you are completely finished with it, regardless of sweat.
Not everybody swears and it may be offensive to others. Don’t do it. It’s a common sense rule.
- DO NOT SIT ON EQUIPMENT BETWEEN SETS
Others are waiting to use the sane equipment so move out of the way between sets. You learned how to share as a kid so use those skills.
- THROW YOUR TRASH AWAY
Nobody wants to see the gym littered with your empty water bottles. Throw them in the trash can. It’s not that hard.
THE UNWRITTEN CODE
There are some other written rules that you may see but most are the same. More important than the written rules are the unwritten rules of the gym. Inexperienced gym goers may not know these rules which could lead to problems. But don’t worry, I’m about to square you away.
Don’t talk to someone when they are in the middle of a set. It’s distracting and you will most likely be ignored. This brings me to my next rule.
- EXECESSIVE TALKING
Cut the chatter! This is one of the most annoying things in the gym. You are there to workout. Save you social hour for when you leave.
Don’t be a gym bully. Nobody cares how long you’ve been working out or how big you are. Don’t stand over somebody while they are using a piece of equipment because you’re waiting on it. You’re going to do this to the wrong person and end up getting knocked out.
- PERSONAL SPACE
Don’t use something right next to a person if there is space available. Nobody wants to feel crowded in the gym. Spread out and respect other’s personal space.
If your breath smells like you ate doo-doo savers, chew some gum. Lay off of the cologne and perfume. Wash up before you go to the gym to limit your body odor. Bottom line, wash your ass!
Everybody grunts or makes some kind of noise to power through tough reps, which is fine. Don’t be that guy in there screaming during a set. You sound like a wild animal mating and all you do is piss people off. Keep it subtle.
- WATER BREAKS
Limit your time at the water fountain. Other people are waiting to use the fountain and you should be courteous. If there is a line for the fountain, don’t fill up you bottle! Wait until the people in line get their quick drink and then fill it up.
It may come as a surprise but many people that go to the gym are narcissists. That’s fine but there is a time and place for it. Everybody is not in the gym to be a fitness model. Do not lift your shirt up and flex in the mirror on the gym floor. You look like a complete jackass. We all know that you’ve worked hard to get where you are but save that for your Instagram selfies. There is ALWAYS somebody that looks better than you. People will be hoping you never come back if you do this.
- STEP AWAY FROM THE RACK
More times than not, there will be a mirror directly behind the dumbbell rack. This doesn’t mean pick up a set of weights, take one step back, and start lifting. Grab your weights and move into an open area. If your bench is close to the rack, pull it back out of the way.
- SQUAT RACK
The squat rack is for squats! Every time I see somebody doing bicep curls in the squat rack, I want to give them the meanest Sweet Chin Music known to man. Heavy rows, rack pulls, push presses, and cleans are the only other authorized exercises in the squat rack.
- CELL PHONES
Everybody uses their phone for music, which is fine. You DO NOT take phone calls on the gym floor. Go in the hallway or outside. But before you do, STRIP THE WEIGHT!
- RESPECT THE HEADPHONES
You shouldn’t bother anybody that is lifting anyways but if they have headphones on, leave them the hell alone. People wear headphones to the gym for three reasons: 1) Play their choice of music 2) Drowning out background noise 3) Social repellent…There are Apex Warriors in the gym to work. Take your social crap elsewhere.
So there you have it. Some rules to help you survive the gym. You should make it through your training days without being knocked out cold. You’re welcome.
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