The 10 commandments of gym etiquette part 1

The 10 commandments of gym etiquette: Part 1

The 10 commandments of gym etiquette: Part 1

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The gym can seem like a daunting place, especially if you find yourself new to the environment altogether. Depending on the gym, it can be loud and full of sweaty, scary people.

You want to find an environment that suits you and your needs, but you also want to do your best to adhere to the written and unwritten gym policies and unwritten rules of gym etiquette.

In this article, we will go over ten rules of etiquette to adhere to when you are in the gym. I’ll warn you now that not everyone in the gym follows these rules, which can get a little irritating when it begins to affect your experience.

However, if you do your best to follow these rules, you will quickly establish yourself as someone who adds positively to the environment, leading to a reciprocating respect and friendship from the other gym-goers around you.

So, here are 10 rules of gym etiquette to follow.

1. LEAVE EQUIPMENT READY FOR THE NEXT PERSON TO USE

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This rule means putting any weight plates back on their holders and returning the bar or equipment back to its original position.

Also, take the time to put plates and other equipment back in the right spot. There is a tendency for people to put forty-five pound weight plates in the place meant to hold the ten-pound plates.

This may seem inconsequential, and at the time more convenient for you, but doing this means someone who may not be strong enough to move that forty-five pound plate to get at the ten-pound plate behind it will find themselves in a difficult situation.

In short, don’t let someone else’s workout be negatively affected by your laziness or hastiness to get to the next exercise. Take the time to clean up after yourself and everyone will thank you.

2. SPRAY DOWN ANY EQUIPMENT YOU USE AFTERWARD

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Have you ever gone to use a piece of equipment in the gym only to find a puddle of sweat pooled on the bench cushion waiting for you?

No one likes having to clean up after people, especially when it involves bodily functions. It doesn’t matter if you are barely breaking a sweat, it’s the common courtesy extended by all good members of a gym to spray and wipe down the equipment after they use it.

This includes all of the cardio equipment and free weights as well. Cleaning up after yourself this way also helps to keep you and the other gym members at a lesser risk of spreading the flu, something for which unclean gyms become have become well known.

3. MAKE YOURSELF AWARE OF OTHERS AND GIVE THEM SPACE

MILO WAS A 6 TIME OLYMPIC CHAMPION IN ANCIENT GREECE. HE IS MOST FAMOUS FOR A MYTH THAT HE WAS ABLE TO LIFT A FULL GROWN BULL OVER HIS SHOULDERS! HE ACCOMPLISHED THIS BY STARTING IN CHILDHOOD, LIFTING AND CARRYING A NEWBORN CALF AND REPEATING THE FEAT DAILY AS IT GREW TO MATURITY. THIS IS THE SAME FITNESS CONCEPT WE KNOW TODAY AS "PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD".

Most exercises when being performed require only a few square feet of real estate on the gym floor. That being said, it’s good to think of an invisible buffer zone of at least five feet around the other gym members for you not to cross through while they are exercising.

If your gym is small, there may be times when a person is using directly in your path as you cross the gym floor. Allow the person to finish their exercise before moving past them rather than awkwardly shimmy around.

Waiting a few extra seconds will have almost no consequence to the quality of your workout whereas invading the person’s space could negatively impact their form and cause them to become irritated.

4. TRY TO AVOID GETTING BETWEEN MEMBERS AND THE MIRROR WHEN THEY EXERCISE

MILO WAS A 6 TIME OLYMPIC CHAMPION IN ANCIENT GREECE. HE IS MOST FAMOUS FOR A MYTH THAT HE WAS ABLE TO LIFT A FULL GROWN BULL OVER HIS SHOULDERS! HE ACCOMPLISHED THIS BY STARTING IN CHILDHOOD, LIFTING AND CARRYING A NEWBORN CALF AND REPEATING THE FEAT DAILY AS IT GREW TO MATURITY. THIS IS THE SAME FITNESS CONCEPT WE KNOW TODAY AS "PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD".

This seems like it shouldn’t matter, but it does. It’s no secret that most people look at themselves in the reflection of a mirror while exercising. While I’d like to say this is so, they can keep on top of their form, and in some instances, I’m sure this is the case, a more likely reason is one of vanity.

That’s fine.

We go to the gym to feel our best about how we appear, so what’s the harm at looking in the mirror for all your hard work?

I’ve seen people get downright upset when another member steps between them and their reflection while they are performing an exercise. I can empathize, as I would prefer to look at myself, or even a random spot on the wall, than someone else’s sweaty back a few feet in front of me.

Try to pick a place for your workout that is not disrupting the eye line of another gym member, whether they are looking in the mirror or not.

5. DON’T EXERCISE DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE DUMBBELL RACK, OR ANY OTHER PIECE OF EQUIPMENT

MILO WAS A 6 TIME OLYMPIC CHAMPION IN ANCIENT GREECE. HE IS MOST FAMOUS FOR A MYTH THAT HE WAS ABLE TO LIFT A FULL GROWN BULL OVER HIS SHOULDERS! HE ACCOMPLISHED THIS BY STARTING IN CHILDHOOD, LIFTING AND CARRYING A NEWBORN CALF AND REPEATING THE FEAT DAILY AS IT GREW TO MATURITY. THIS IS THE SAME FITNESS CONCEPT WE KNOW TODAY AS "PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD".

I know this is a pet peeve for a lot of gym members. You need to grab the twenty-pound dumbbells from the rack, but someone has picked up the twenty-five pound dumbbells and decided to start doing their lateral raises without stepping back a few feet.

All of a sudden the entire rack of dumbbells is inaccessible until this member finishes his workout.

Don’t be that guy. When you take a set of dumbbells from the rack, move back at least six feet to allow other members access to the other sets. This doesn’t just apply to the dumbbell rack either.

Depending on your gym’s equipment you will need to familiarize yourself with high traffic areas and equipment that needs to remain accessible to other members. Try to avoid exercising in these places.

Thanks for taking time out of your day to read this article! If you enjoyed it and know someone who'd also enjoy it, feel free to share it with them! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment below.

You can also check out part two of the 10 commandments of gym etiquette by going to this link.

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Taylor Patterson

Certified Personal Trainer
Certified Nutrition Coach
Certified Behaviour Change Specialist

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