Some people may feel a little out of place when they enter the gym for the first time. It feels as if there are certain unspoken laws amongst the trainers, staff and regulars. Of course, you can easily deduce this from common sense. Though to help you fit in with the others who are working out, below is some basic etiquette to keep in mind.
Regularly clean your sweat
No one wants to work out beside someone who is sweating all over the place. Although the gym doesn’t provide free towels or require people to have them, you still need something clean to wipe away the sweat. It is incredibly rude if someone left equipment all sweaty. Avoid being this type of person by bringing a dry towel or cloth with you before working out. Make sure to wipe away the bench, sit or handles off of your sweat with your towel.
Let others use the equipment while you rest
A public gym is where everyone is entitled to use any of the available equipment in the floor. During peak hours when there are more people using the gym, people wait for their turn to use a certain machine for their workout routine. It is alright to do one set of strength training on an equipment and rest beside it if there are no other people around. If someone is waiting on you to finish using the machine, it is polite to have them work in their own set while you take a minute or two to rest before doing the next set.
Avoid staring at others
It’s common sense for almost anyone that staring at others can be offensive for some people. Doing so might also distract someone while they workout. It is understandable for first timers to watch experienced gym users as they do this to either get a feel of what they should be doing there or how to correctly do a certain exercise they’ve been hearing about.
You don’t need to watch how other people exercise in order to do something productive in the gym. You can list down what type of workout you plan to do at the gym before going there. There are a number of resources online which can show different kinds of exercises and what you need to perform them.
Watching and copying someone else’s exercise routine is not only rude, it can also be dangerous. Certain workouts performed by some of the regulars may contain complex movements. Performing these exercises the wrong way could lead to injuries. If you happen to be interested in doing the same workout being performed by someone else, it doesn’t hurt to ask them if they can instruct you on how to do it correctly after they are finished.
Exercise in silence
People who visit the gym are there to improve their body or burn calories. Some of the activities they do require a certain degree of concentration. It can be offensive for them if a person is playing their tunes from a speaker or if they are conversing on the phone without lowering their voice. Respect others by exercising quietly. If you need to take a call, step outside or in a quiet area. If you want to listen to music, take headphones.
Return the free weights after using it
Dumbbells, or free weights, can be used by anyone within almost any part of the gym. It is ethical to return them to the rack where you picked them up after you are done. Not only is this done out of respect for others who intend to use them, it is also to avoid putting anyone else in danger from leaving them on the floor. Free weights are quite heavy. Anyone can accidentally hit their toes on them or trip. The same principle also applies to yoga mats if the gym lends them. Although not as dangerous as weights, it is still a good practice to put any strength training or cardio machine in its original state before you used it.
Wear the right clothes
There is a reason why people wear shirts, shorts and athletic shoes when they visit the gym. These types of clothes could bring down the performance level of your workout as they might restrict your full range of motion. Long sleeved shirts or pants can also be hazardous as they might get caught in something during your workouts. This could result in injuries caused by trips. The right clothes should allow you to perform squats or arm raising exercises with ease. Loose and fitting shoes is also recommended to provide circulation to your feet.
Knowing these etiquettes should help you know what to do and what to avoid when visiting your local gym. Always remember, the staff and instructor in the gym are always there to help you anyone, including first time visitors.