Exercise is great. My favourite place to exercise is in a gym. However, it is important to remember that commercial gyms are a space that you share with hundreds of people, mostly strangers, who all pass through at some point during the day.
There are some essential gym etiquettes we all need to be aware of.
- Bring a towel, but also use it! There is nothing worse than getting on a machine only to find the person before you has left an intimate outline of their sweaty behind on the seat. Lay your towel down on the machine as a barrier between you and the vinyl and when you are done, make use of the anti-bacterial gym wipes. If your gym does not have wipes, perhaps you should suggest they get some.
- Whilst we’re on the subject of hygiene, your personal hygiene becomes everybody’s business when you’re sweating together in a confined space. Wear deodorant. If necessary, reapply it. Use your towel to wipe down your body if you are working hard. No one wants to slip in your sweat puddle.
- It’s lovely to say hello to the other people in the gym, but if they are in the middle of an exercise, don’t interrupt them mid-set.
- When you are finished with an exercise, put your weights or mat away and tidy your area before moving on. This includes wiping down your machine as I mentioned above. Re-rack your weights in their storage area.
- If someone is using a machine you would like to use, it is fine to ask how much longer they will be, or if you can share, but it is not okay to stand over them and make them uncomfortable until they leave and free it up for you. If there are still weights on a machine, in an ideal world, someone is likely to still be using that machine, so ask those around you before you start using it.
- When working out, remember to breath. Exhale with the part of the exercise that is the hardest. Breathing is essential. Grunting and screaming is not. Put down your weights in a controlled manner, being mindful of the safety of those around you. If you are doing free weights, the mirrors are there to allow you to monitor your form and ensure correct technique. Be mindful of standing in front of other people in the mirrored areas, as they may be using the mirror to help them do an exercise properly. On the contrary, the mirrors in the bathrooms are where you should go if you want to do an ab check.
- Bathrooms and locker rooms should be left clean and tidy.
Hygiene, communication and common courtesy should be part of every gym routine. Most importantly, enjoy your workout and train well.