It’s workout Wednesday again, and this week we’re talking about gym etiquette. Now that you’ve hopefully been exercising regularly and eating healthy, it’s time to start thinking about getting a gym membership (if you don’t already have one).
There is no doubt that the gym is an intimidating place for newcomers. There’s the pack of creepy muscle heads that take way too many mirror selfies, and then there’s the group of ridiculously fit soccer moms that spend two whole hours on the treadmills. Both of these cliques are notorious for breaking gym etiquette and annoying everyone who is just trying to fit a 30-minute workout into their day. This list of rules will help you to 1) avoid falling into these categories, and 2) become a regular at the gym of your choosing.
- Rule #1: Don’t Be a Creep
As previously discussed, there are always people at the gym that are either intentionally or unintentionally creepy. Whether they stare at you for just a little too long or try to engage you in an unsolicited conversation, there is no escaping them. The best way to avoid the majority of these interactions is to constantly keep headphones in your ears. It doesn’t matter if you are listening to music or not; keep those headphones in your ears, and most people won’t bother you. There may still be some awkwardly long stares, but use that as a confidence boost! Obviously you are looking good!
If you find, however, that certain people at the gym purposefully avoid you, then you’re probably the creep. Just make sure you don’t zone out on any one person while you’re lifting weights, and use your best judgement when engaging in any kind of communication. There is nothing wrong with being flirty at the gym. However, if someone is working up a sweat on the stairmaster, then they probably don’t want to talk to you at that moment.
Rule #2: Don’t Hog the Equipment
There will almost always be time limits posted near cardio machines that say, “At high volume times equipment usage should be limited to 30 minutes or less.” Also, as previously noted, there will people who don’t abide by these rules.
As you become a regular at the gym, you will find yourself falling into a specific schedule. For example, you may want to do 30 minutes of cardio and an ab circuit on Monday’s and then maybe focus completely on your legs on Tuesday’s. So it can be very irritating to change this schedule because someone else wants to spend over 30 minutes on the leg press machine. To avoid this, simply do what you need to do at each machine, clean the machine when you are finished and then leave the area.
- Rule #3: Dress Appropriately
I’m not trying to shame anyone or anyone’s body, but there are a few dress codes at the gym that everyone should follow. First, wear an actual shirt. Crop tops don’t count, and cut off t-shirts should stay in the 80s where they belong. Second, make sure your shorts are long enough. No one at the gym wants to see your butt cheeks. Third, please don’t show up to the gym in a full face of makeup. Who are you trying to impress with your winged eye-liner?
Again, I’m not trying to shame anyone or tell anyone how to dress themselves. Being inappropriately dressed is just distracting to everyone around you, and the odds are that you’ll be more comfortable in appropriate gym clothing anyway.
- Rule #4: Put the Weights Back
This isn’t kindergarten, and there isn’t someone at the gym telling you to clean up after yourself. So just be responsible for the weights that you take off the rack, and put them back when you are finished using them. It’s a simple rule, but it’s amazing how many people can’t follow it.
The majority of people at the gym listen to music, and there is nothing wrong with turning up the volume to get amped up for a workout. However, you should be conscious of how loud your music is. If someone chooses not to listen to music while they workout, then they probably don’t want to hear yours.
There’s an easy way to test if your music is too loud. Simply take your headphones out of your ears with the music still playing. If you can still hear the music, then you should probably turn it down a couple of notches.
- Rule #6: Wear Deodorant
This is the most important rule. Please make sure to wear deodorant. You are going to a gym to workout. You are hopefully aiming to sweat at least a little, so please make sure you wear deodorant.
With the help of these simple gym etiquette rules, the gym isn’t such a scary place. Of course there is still the frightening task of figuring out how to use of the equipment properly, which is why I suggest getting a personal trainer. Especially if you have never set foot in a gym before, a personal trainer (or maybe even a gym-savvy friend!) can show you how to use all the equipment and motivate you to stay on track with your new healthy lifestyle.