Whether you’re a seasoned gym enthusiast or a newcomer at your local community centre, adhering to a set of do’s and don’ts is common knowledge. Most likely, you’re aware of the importance of wiping down equipment after use and being considerate by not monopolising a machine when others are patiently waiting.
To enhance your experience, and that of everyone else, employing common sense and courtesy in a public gym is key. However, if you ever find yourself uncertain about gym etiquette, consider these seven rules as a helpful guide to navigate your workout space effectively.
1. Sanitise and Wipe Down
One of the cardinal rules of gym etiquette is to sanitise equipment after use. Most gyms provide sanitising wipes or sprays – make good use of them. This not only preserves cleanliness but also helps curb the spread of germs. Always have a towel with you at the gym and make sure to utilise it. Place the towel over the bench or seat of the equipment you are using to maintain cleanliness and hygiene for the next person.
2. Be Mindful of Others
Recognise that you’re not the sole user of the gym. If someone is waiting to use a piece of equipment, be considerate and offer to let them work in between your sets. Efficiently manage your rest times to keep the flow going. Promote fairness by sharing equipment at the gym. If someone is waiting for a piece of equipment you are using, be considerate and share it between sets if possible. This practice not only maintains the flow of the gym but also ensures everyone has an opportunity to use the equipment they need.
3. Re-Rack Weights
It might sound basic, but re-racking weights is a crucial aspect of gym etiquette. Whether it’s dumbbells, barbells, or plates, returning them to their designated places maintains order and ensures a safe workout space for everyone. Exercise caution and avoid dropping weights at all costs. Not only can this behaviour cause damage to the equipment, but it also poses a safety risk to others in the vicinity. Be sure to lower weights carefully and gently, steering clear of any unnecessary dropping.
4. Limit Phone Use
While it’s tempting to stay connected, try to limit your cell phone use in the gym. Not only does it keep you focused on your workout, but it also prevents hogging equipment while engrossed in a call or text. If you need to take a call, find a designated area away from active workout sones.
5. Mind Your Space
Respect the personal space of others working out around you. Avoid walking through someone’s exercise area and be mindful of where you place your belongings. Keep gym bags and water bottles in designated areas to prevent tripping hazards.
6. Follow Proper Hygiene
Besides wiping down equipment, maintaining personal hygiene is equally important. Wear clean workout attire, use deodorant, and be conscious of body odours. A fresh-smelling gym is a more enjoyable place for everyone.
Selecting the right attire for your gym session is crucial, as inappropriate clothing choices can impact your workout negatively. Here are some items that you should avoid wearing to the gym:
- 100% Cotton Clothes: While cotton may seem like a comfortable choice, it absorbs sweat and can lead to bacterial growth. Opt for sweat-wicking materials like spandex and polyester to keep yourself dry and comfortable during your workout.
- Worn-out Sneakers: As your athletic shoes age and lose tread, they provide less shock absorption, potentially affecting the alignment of your feet, knees, and hips. If the patterns on the shoe soles are fading, it’s time to invest in a new pair for better support and safety.
- Jewellery, Especially Rings: Wearing jewellery, particularly rings, while lifting weights poses a risk of injury if you lose your grip. Additionally, the metal or stone of your ring might get scratched. Leave your jewellery in the locker room or consider wearing a silicone ring as a safer alternative.
- Ill-fitting Clothes: Clothing that is either too tight or too loose can lead to various issues, from chafing and leg cramps to breathing difficulties. Find a middle ground with workout clothes that fit well and flatter your body, allowing for comfortable movement during exercise.
- Used or Moist Clothes: Always wear fresh gym gear to each workout to avoid bacterial growth. Moist, sweat-filled clothes left in your gym bag can become a breeding ground for bacteria, which may lead to unpleasant odours and hygiene issues.
By choosing appropriate workout attire and following these guidelines, you can enhance your overall gym experience, ensuring comfort, safety, and effective performance during your workouts.
7. Avoid Loud Distractions
Keep the volume down on your headphones and avoid making excessive noise while exercising. Not everyone shares your taste in music, and loud distractions can disrupt others’ concentration.
8. Educate Yourself
Familiarise yourself with the gym’s rules and policies. Each facility may have specific guidelines, and adhering to them contributes to a smoother workout experience for all members. Opt for using the lockers provided for your bags and personal items instead of leaving them on the gym floor. This practice not only contributes to maintaining a tidy gym environment but also ensures the safety and security of your belongings.
9. Group Classes
Attending group fitness classes not only provides an opportunity to meet fellow gym-goers but also fosters a sense of community. Punctuality is key when participating in these classes, and arriving on time, or even a bit early, is a gesture of good manners. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:
- Be Timely: Arriving on time is courteous and respectful to both the instructor and your fellow participants. If possible, aim to be a few minutes early to settle in and prepare for the class.
- Choose Classes Wisely: If you anticipate being late, consider skipping classes with a serene atmosphere, such as restorative yoga. Late arrivals can disrupt the quiet ambiance. For more dynamic classes like cardio, entering a bit late is generally more acceptable.
- Minimise Disruption: If you find yourself running late to a cardio class, enter quietly from the back and set up without drawing unnecessary attention. This allows you to catch up with the class without causing disruption.
By making a conscious effort to be on time and choosing classes that align with your schedule, you contribute to a positive and respectful group fitness experience for everyone involved.