For many people, just the idea of setting foot in a gym is terrifying. Some people think that they are too overweight to workout in public (not true) and other people worry that they are going to make a fool of themselves (who cares if you do?!).
One of the things that new gym-goers worry about is the unwritten set of rules that more established gym-goers adhere to…gym etiquette. In this blog, I’m going to talk about that so that you have more confidence when you are making those first steps into the gym.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
The first piece of advice that I’m going to give you starts before you’ve even set foot in the gym…wear inappropriate clothing. By appropriate I mean practical, so wear trainers rather than brogues and make sure that your kit isn’t too revealing. Obviously, you should be comfortable and if you want to wear a crop top that’s absolutely fine (whether or not you are lean and toned). However,
Wipe down the Equipment
Make sure that you wipe down the equipment after you use it, it’s really gross if you don’t! This is something that is starting to slide in a lot of gyms which is just horrible! I don’t want to sit in your sweat and I’m sure that you don’t want to sit in mine so let’s agree not to follow this unhygienic trend. All gyms provide paper towel, or if they’re a bit fancy antibacterial wipes, so make use of them! If you’re going to get really sweaty, then take a sweat towel. You can use this to wipe yourself down as well as the equipment.
Tidy up after Yourself
Basically, this is the adult equivalent of putting your toys away after you have finished using them. Whatever you have used, be it dumbbells, barbells, weight plates, a mat put them away when you have finished with them. Unlike your mum, it is not the gym staff’s job to put your kit away and leaving equipment all over the gym causes a tripping hazard for other users. Even more frustrating is not being able to find equipment because it has been abandoned somewhere.
Also remember that just because you can lift something doesn’t mean that everybody else can. By not taking the plates of the smith machine you could be rendering it unusable for another person…be kind people! Even if the next user is capable of lifting your weights, they don’t want to spend 5 minutes of their workout time taking your plates off a barbell.
This should go without saying, but it’s important so I’ll say it anyway…play nicely. If somebody smiles at you, smile back, if somebody says “hello”, then say “hello” back. Let’s make the gym a supportive, positive environment because let’s face it, we’re all in it together. You never know what it has taken somebody to get to the gym that day and you never really know how anxious somebody is about going to the gym.
If somebody asks you for help, then help them if you can and if you can’t point them in the direction of a friendly gym instructor. Remember that the chances are that you will need help one day so treat others how you would like to be treated.
Don’t be an Equipment Hog
At certain times of the day, and all day in January, the gym can be a busy place. If you are at the gym when it is busy then don’t grab lots of different weights, kettlebells and whatever else you may need for that day’s workout. Even if you do circuits, people are going to resent you if you hog multiple pieces of kit. There are plenty of workouts that you can do with one kettlebell, one barbell or one set of weights. If the gym is quiet, then, by all means, feel free to take more equipment but just be mindful of other people.
Basically, if somebody asks you if they can work in, they are asking you whether they can use the equipment that you are using while you are on your rest period. Let people do this, the chances are that the next time you’re in you’ll say hello to one another and from there blossoms a beautiful friendship…or a least there’s another friendly face in the gym. I’ve often shared the bench press and I’m always happy because I get a spotter out of it.
Give People Space
As humans, we like our personal space. We feel uncomfortable if this is invaded so in so far as it is possible, keep your distance from people. Obviously, this can be difficult in a busy gym but be mindful of this and do your best.
Avoid walking in between another person and the Mirror
The mirrors are there for a reason, well maybe two reasons if you count peacocking, to check your form! If you stand between somebody and the mirror then you stop them from being able to check that they are doing the exercise safely. They are not going to thank you for it, it’s incredibly frustrating if you are using the mirrors for anything other than posing and checking your make up.
So I think that those are the main points, is there anything that you would add to the list?