The gym can be a great place to work out, not just because they provide a safe environment with the best equipment – the community there can be very encouraging, empowering, and very helpful as well. Unfortunately, a lot of people are wary of going to the gym due to the reputation of certain types of people commonly found in gyms.
In short, people with a total lack of etiquette often scare people away from a place that, otherwise, could provide them with excellent facilities and community for their journey to health and fitness.
Is There Gym Etiquette?
One of the biggest problems with the world today is the fact that a lot of people forget something very important – there is, or rather should be etiquette for any public place, no matter what type of place it may be.
The gym is one such place where there absolutely should be etiquette. It may not be the same sort of “manners” we think of for places like restaurants or retail environments, but common respect and consideration of others is something we should consider gospel for every part of our public lives.
Today, we’re going to look at six very important facets of gym etiquette that, if we all start practicing in earnest, will make these places much more pleasant, and much more inviting to others. These are mostly common sense, as is the case with etiquette elsewhere, but for the sake of those new to the gym, and perhaps to enlighten those certain discourteous individuals every gym has, these need to be spelled out in no uncertain terms.
Think About Your Personal Hygiene
First of all, while we all get sweaty and “dirty” from an intense workout routine, this is no excuse to show up filthy and already stinking to high heavens. Before walking out onto the floor to begin your exercises, you should shower thoroughly, and wear clean workout clothes.
If everyone observed this common courtesy, gyms would not have that “funk” many people cite as their biggest complaint about these facilities. In all honesty, if everyone was freshly-bathed and in fresh workout clothes, a climate-controlled, sanitary environment would not accrue that horrid stench, no matter how sweaty everyone became.
Similarly, while antiperspirants and a little bit of body spray can further eliminate this problem, sometimes less is more. Excessive perfume, cologne or body spray can be just as much of a toxic punch to the nose.
So, rule number one is to always be freshly bathed, to wear clean workout clothes, and to know the right amount of spray to use. Everyone’s nose will thank you!
Don’t Hog Equipment
While larger gyms have quite a lot of equipment, there are finite instances of a given equipment type. There are many people over a period of time whom wish to use this equipment as well.
In all honesty, no session with any particular piece of equipment should take longer than 20 minutes, and really, sessions that long should be limited to lower-impact exercises such as treadmills. If people have to wait prolonged periods of time to use the equipment, they may have to completely screw up the order of their exercise routine, so to not “cool down” while waiting for you to move along.
Remember one of the golden rules that really applies anywhere you are – share and share alike.
Rerack Your Weights
This is a symptom of a type of discourtesy you can see in many places – a disregard for people having to clean up behind you. We see this with people not bothering to put shopping karts into their corrals, with people leaving things on shelves, out of place, they decide they don’t want, and of course, the rampant littering we see even far from developed areas.
In a gym, this takes the form of people not bothering to rereack weights after using them, leaving them sitting on benches, on the floor, or wherever else. Not only does this create serious dangers for people to trip over them or fall onto them, but it’s just plain rude and annoying.
Most of the time, gym employees are the ones who have to come and rerack these, usually at the behest of another patron who wishes to use them. When you’re done using something, put it back where you found it, the way you found it. You’d appreciate others doing the same, wouldn’t you?
Clean Up Your Sweat
This one really should go without saying. We all sweat, it’s part of human physiology, and an important part at that. But, it’s also very disgusting, and nobody’s going to argue with that. You’re going to get sweat on anything you sit or lie on, while you work out. When you’re done, clean it up.
Nobody wants to have to lie in someone else’s sweat and body oils. It takes just a moment of time to wipe it down with a clean rag. If you want to be extra courteous, you can carry a package of sanitary wipes, and give the surfaces a decent little rub down with these after you towel off the sweat.
Be Courteous When Asking for a Spotter
Some exercises are dangerous without a spotter. If you’ve come to the gym alone, and need a spotter, keep in mind that this is taking someone else’s time – even if it’s a gym employee you ask.
That said, be polite and respectful when asking, and if someone politely declines due to not having time to do so, or being too tired from their own work out at that point, simply thank them anyhow, and show some sympathy. If they cite they lack the physical strength to spot the amount of weight you’re working with, show similar understanding, and give them positive words of encouragement, such as “no problem, but you stick with it and you’ll get there”.
Condescending to someone for not having your own physical strength is … just not okay.
Be Respectful of Gym Employees
This is another thing we see symptoms of in all public places – a disrespect of employees. Yes, as a customer, you are entitled to quality service and help. Yes, as a customer, you’re entitled to respect and courtesy from the staff. This does not mean that they’re not entitled to common human decency and respect themselves.
If you need an employee’s help, or have a complaint, approach them in a friendly, conversational way. Cite your concern or complaint in a neutral, non-aggressive manner. More often than not, they’ll be far more eager to resolve the issue, after being treated with this kind of respect.
Barking orders, being aggressive, or being condescending to staff in any sort of environment is just uncalled for.
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