Whether it's day one of the New Year's resolution rush or day 264 of the year, you should always follow good gym etiquette.
Some things are good ole' common courtesy, but others may be something that you didn't really think about.
If you're new to the gym you may be intimidated, but if you follow these simple guidelines, it will ease your transition from couch potato to gym rat.
Even long-term gym veterans may learn a thing or two!
Gym Etiquette Rule #1 -- Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
Imagine going into a conference room at work and you sit down for your meeting and the arms of the chair are all wet from the sweat of the last person in the chair. Gross, right??
Even though you're expected to sweat in a gym, you shouldn't treat the environment any different.
Chalk this one up to common courtesy, but worth a reminder. If you're a big sweater (you know who you are...) then its an absolute requirement to carry a towel with you and wipe down the equipment when you're done.
Along these same lines... wash your hands after you go to the bathroom. I'm appalled to see the number of women who go to the bathroom and then walk on out on the gym floor.
Uh, hello? No one wants you touching your business and then grabbing a set of dumbbells. Got it?
Gym Etiquette Rule #2 -- Everyone Loves a Nice Rack
Today I was at the gym and wanted some weights for the leg press. There wasn't any on the rack on my machine. Or the one next to it. Or the rack next to that.
I looked around and there were piles of 45s (45-pound weight plates) next to a different leg press machine.
If you're strong enough to put 12 plates of 45 pounds on a leg press, then you're strong enough to carry them back to where they belong!
It's a trip hazard, an inconvenience, and an eyesore.
Your mom's not around to pick up after you, so you're on your own big boy. (And IF your mom is there, she's a badass and too busy with her own workout to pick up after you!)
Gym Etiquette Rule #3 -- Know When to Yield
Benches in the weight room are kind of like ATM machines... there is an invisible 2-3 foot radius of assumed privacy.
This allows the exerciser to utilize the bench in the way that they see fit.
If you're walking between the benches to go get some weights and there is someone on the bench exercising, give them space or wait for them to finish their set.
Exercisers have the right-of-way!
If they have to pause or move suddenly to avoid you walking into them, there is a good chance of injury. Maybe yours.
Gym Etiquette Rule #4 -- Be Mindful of the Mirrors
If you're doing dumbbell curls one foot from the dumbbell rack so you can see yourself in the mirror, then you may as well be using six sets of dumbbells because no one else can get in there to grab some dumbbells.
I promise you that your "guns" are going to look JUST as big if you step back a few feet from the mirror.
Also, when you walk up to the dumbbell rack, be mindful of who is exercising around you and make sure that you're not blocking their view of the mirror.
When you're lollygagging around trying to decide which weight to use, it can be incredibly distracting.
There is a Sanskrit word called "drishti" that comes from yoga. It is a gazing technique that develops concentration and means "outward vision and inward awareness."
Weight lifters practice a form of drishti with the mirrors as well and your backside doesn't normally enhance inward awareness.
Gym Etiquette Rule #5 -- Safety First!
No matter what you are doing in the gym, you have to always be alert.
Last week I was in the gym and heard a huge crash!
When I turned around, I saw that this guy had put three 45s on each side of a weight bar high on the rack (as if he were doing squats).
He mistakenly removed all three 45s off of one side of the bar.
(Let me introduce you to my little friend... GRAVITY.)
Yep, you guessed it! The bar flung up in the air because the three 45s on the other side crashed to the ground. 180 pounds of metal flying through the air!
Fortunately, there was a wall on that side, so the bar hit the wall and no one was hurt. It definitely could have been deadly!
Take a moment to double check the setup of the equipment. Put weight clips on the barbell to hold your weight still and prevent them from sliding off.
THINK about what you are doing.
And NEVER, EVER be afraid to ask for help or a spotter. You may be intimidated to do so, but people don't mind at all because they may need it some day too!
Give Better Gym and Get Better Gym
We are all in this together. When you bring a little kindness to everything you do... even the gym... everyone benefits! Practice these gym etiquette rules and everyone will silently thank you!
When you give better gym, you'll get better gym. It's a win-win!
TAKE ACTION NOW! Tell me in the comments below about a gym story or a gym etiquette pet peeve that you have. We can all learn from each other!
Congratulations to your commitment to fitness! I'll see you in the gym!
This post originally appeared on tamimcvay.com.
Tami McVay, CPT, CHC, CCP is a Wellness & Lifestyle Coach who helps overwhelmed women who don't have enough time or energy to focus on their wellbeing. She teaches strategies to make health approachable without giving up their favorite foods, so they can do more of what they love feeling confident and stronger. Tami is an American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer and health coach, certified coach practitioner, and United States Marine Corps veteran. She left her 20 year corporate career in Information Technology to follow her passion of helping women with their health. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
To learn more about Tami, click here.