Gym Etiquette 101



We all have habits in our daily lives, good and bad, that we may not be aware of. Sometimes we float through our days without realizing that our own personal mundane and routine habits can sometimes be considered rude, or even downright inappropriate. And these habits don’t magically disappear when we hit the gym.

UK Health Firm, Nuffield Health, states, “out of 2,000 people, 74 percent of people polled said they had noticed that their fellow gym-goers committed a gym faux pas.” You know the person who spends hours on the treadmill talking loudly to their mom, or the vein-popping hulk, growling in terrifying vengeance at the amount of weight he just threw down. Or, how about the disgusting drencher that didn’t wipe down his mat or weights − leaving them smelly and sticky, just for you. Fantastic.

According to IBIS World Market Research, The Gym, Health and Fitness Clubs industry has seen a consistent increase in the number of gym memberships that have been purchased over the past 10 years. “Rising from 36.3 million in 2002 to more than 43.6 million by 2012.” While this may be great news for our society, the fact is that you will more than likely experience one or more of these types of people while at the gym. You may even take part in some of these behaviors yourself. But whether or not you can admit to experiencing or carrying out one of these habits, being properly educated about gym etiquette is important.

Web MD states, “when people are rude, gross, or downright annoying, it can be frustrating because they can distract us from our fitness goals, or worse, can hurt us.”

Tone it down

So, you can lift weights like a boss. Cool. But in reality no one wants to hear you grunting like an untamed beast. Not only is it annoying, it can be dangerous. Others in the gym are focusing on their own workouts and your excessive noises have the potential to startle or distract, potentially causing someone to suddenly drop their weight or even simply lose form. Exercise physiologist Salvatore Fichera, suggests that those who think they need the extra boost while lifting should try a loud breath instead. He theory concludes that a forceful exhalation should provide the same benefits as a noisy grunt.

Bottom line: be aware of others and use your inside voice

Take your conversation elsewhere

Nothing could be more annoying than having to listen to someone next to you relay the entirety of their day to a friend on the phone, or even worse, to you. When you make the decision to head to the gym, it should be a time to relax, detach and focus on your workout. While it is always nice to see a friend, it is not the time to catch up. As Web MD states, “people whole stand idle and simply hang out with one another on the workout floor can ruin a positive, serious workout atmosphere.”

A good habit is to keep your phone tucked in your gym bag and if you must take a phone call, head to designated social areas.

Bottom line: Gyms are for workouts, and not hangouts 

Cover your bases

A gym can be the perfect environment for bacteria growth. Some of the most germ-infested sports can include cardio equipment, public mats, weights and weight machines, locker rooms and, you guessed it, the drinking fountains. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should avoid these areas but be smart and bring flip-flops and your own towel to the locker room. Laying a towel down on the gym’s mat, as well as sanitizing fitness machines are other smart moves.

A study conducted by the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine found that 51 percent of cardio equipment tested was infested with bacteria and viruses. Rhinovirus, also known as the common cold, was the most prevalent virus. If that is not enough to peak your awareness, New York University Hospital found that staph aureus, klebsillea (pneumonia, UTIs), eterobacter (skin and respiratory tract infections), and E. coli were also found on frequently used gym equipment. Yuck!

Bottom line: clean and sanitize every machine before and after you use it, stick to your own equipment, invest in a water bottle and take a shower.

Be patient and respectful

While you may be working out on your own, it is important to remember that you are sharing space and equipment with others. If there is a wait for your machine, offer it up between your sets and if you’re on a cardio machine, try to limit your workout to 30 minutes. Vice versa, if you are in need of a machine, do not hover or rudely rush the person off. Try something different. Fitness centers usually have trained personnel on the floor who can guide you with appropriate exercises. For a simple question or two, there is usually no charge.

Lastly, make sure to put all the equipment you use back where you go it. This is an incredibly simple but surprisingly overlooked action.

Bottom line: Don’t be a hoverer; it’s not cool.

One of the best things you can do in your daily routine, as well as in your fitness routine, is to develop clean and conscientious habits. These will not only help to improve your overall gym experience and well-being but help to maintain a safe, healthy and motivating place for others.

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One Comment on “Gym Etiquette 101”

  1. April 12, 2013 at 6:17 am #

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