Come January and the gyms and health clubs will be flooded with seasoned gym-goers who may have been on a break and many new enthusiasts who wait for the arrival of a new year to begin their fitness journeys. This article cannot be more aptly timed. Here are a few etiquettes to be followed at the gym. Though unwritten or unspoken, these etiquettes are no less than RULES that if broken earn you a bad reputation among your gym folks.
Well, for those who are feeling guilty right now for not having a fitness resolution, I’d say don’t be, for by the end of the first month of the new year, most of the newbies will hang their boots for various reasons ranging from not seeing earth shattering outcomes, lack of sustained motivation or injury. However, a small proportion of beginners will hang on to their plan and eventually become seasoned fitness enthusiasts, role models, influencers, and motivators. Once you become regular at the gym you will appreciate the rules and understand its sanctity more than before. Beginner or veteran, these rules apply to all.
Rule #1 Your sweat isn’t for all
Do not leave behind wet traces of your existence on cardio machines and benches. Be sure to wipe your fluids after you are done. And for heaven’s sake don’t use corners of your sweaty tee to wipe the bench, instead use a personal towel.
Rule #2 Stick to posted time limits on cardio machines
Your running 60 minutes on the treadmill during peak gym time can be extremely frustrating for those waiting for their turn. Schedule your marathon sprints on cardio machines for non-peak hours.
Rule #3 Re-rack your weights
Though our mothers taught us to keep things we use back in its place, we tend to forget this at the gym. Remember to re-rack dumbbells and plates after you’re done. Weights left at random places could cause serious falls and injuries.
Rule #4 Avoid talking over phone
We’ve all have had to grab that important phone call, personal or business, while at the gym. Walk out of the active zone or floor if you really have an urgent call to make or take, and keep it as short and soft as possible. If you’re in a group class, it is best to keep the phone on mute or leave it in the locker room. It’s never okay to take a call during a group class as it breaks the flow and concentration of the other participants as well as the instructor.
Rule #5 Respect privacy and space
Use restrooms, changing rooms and lockers only for what they are meant for. Do not spread your cosmetics, change of clothes, shoes and other accessories on the benches or floor of the changing room or restroom. Do not use the changing room as a place for exchanging gossip or for having phone calls. It is not a private zone.
Rule #6 Don’t marinate yourself in your fave perfume/deodorant
Your fave perfume may not be everyone’s fave. It’s ok to be in the gym smelling normal. An overdose of perfume, when mixed with sweat, could cause a stifling stench. Just smell normal. That’s good enough.
Rule #7 Wardrobe and accessories check
Inappropriate clothing is a big let-down. Dress appropriately and in comfortable active wear. Excessively tight or revealing clothing and/or excess of jewelry or accessories such as jhumkas, payals, and multiple bangles could distract your co-gymmers. Keep it simple.
Rule #8 Don’t be selfie-obsessed
You may be making great progress in abs and biceps, or may be looking great in the new gym wear but reserve the selfie for the dressing room, or for when the gym is not crowded.
Rule #9 Respect the instructor and his moves
In a group class like spinning, aerobics, yoga, boot camp let the instructor do his job. If you have any suggestions to make talk it out the before or after the class. If you have an injury. Let the instructor know about it beforehand. Running parallel class within a group class is in bad taste.
Rule #10 Don’t mark territory
Saving seats is not sassy. Don’t keep towels, water bottles, or gloves as placeholders for yourself or your buddy. The weights, equipment, and machines belong to whoever is present to use them at the moment.
Rule #11 Respect personal space
How much ever crowded the gym or studio maybe, there is always a personal space. Don’t get uncomfortably close to anyone. If you happen to brush accidentally, apologize instantly.
Rule #12 Remember you are not out for a musical evening
Usually, gyms have their own soundtracks and playlists for the floor. If you don’t like what’s playing, feel free to listen your personal playlist (using headphones of course), instead of asking for a change of track or worse still walking up and changing the music by yourself.
Rule #14 Don’t be a ‘know-it-all’
You may be the most sought-after fitness icon in town, or the babe with the best booty, or the fiery boot camper, but keep your unsolicited fitness advice to yourself unless someone asks you for suggestion or it looks like someone might be doing something dangerously wrong (especially when it comes to lifting) that could cause injury.
Rule #15 Don’t wash dirty linen at the gym
Developing close friendships with gym buddies is not unusual. In case of misunderstandings and disagreements, refrain from yelling and using profanity. Keep it personal and out of the gym.
How you conduct yourself at the gym should be as important as your fitness goal.