Have you ever been at the gym and needed a pair of dumbbells, only to find them being hoarded by one person? Worse yet, have you ever had to suffer through the grunts and moans from the guy across the room who wants everyone to know that he’s benching his max weight? As summer draws near, gyms will be filled with new members trying to make the most of the remaining weeks before swimsuit season. This means you may be sharing the weight room with people who don’t know the proper protocol when it comes to cleaning up and wiping down—among other things.
No fear! If you (or someone you know) are guilty of bad gym etiquette, I have the solution! I call it ‘Wes’s Weight Room Rules’--- 10 rules that every fitness enthusiast should swear by.
Rule #10: This isn’t an episode of hoarders.
Let’s start with a simple one. You don’t need to gather two sets of dumbbells, a kettlebell, AND a medicine ball while you’re claiming the right to use the TRX bands. Be conscious of how busy the gym can be and only grab the equipment you need to perform two back to back sets.
Rule #9: Put your equipment back.
Everyone wants to use and find the equipment they need quickly, so make sure to put away all your free weights, plates, mats etc. when you are finished. Not only is this considerate, it helps out those people who are unable to lift heavy weights. If you leave your 45 pound plates on the squat rack, a new member may not be able to take them off and utilize the machine.
Rule #8: Wipe down your equipment.
If you’re having a great workout and dripping sweat, be courteous and wipe it off the equipment! There is nothing more unsettling than walking over to a bench and seeing the remnants from someone’s sweaty head.
Rule #7: Keep chatty Cathy quiet.
I love catching up with friends, but not while I’m in downward facing dog. It’s distracting not only to me, but to those around me who are trying to focus. Save the social hour for the café and keep your mind on your workout.
Rule #6: Why are you working out your thumbs?
Technology has made it easier than ever for us to get a good workout. We can track our calories, check our heart rates, even download personal training videos—all from our smart phones. If you’re quickly scanning your phone checking how many calories that kickboxing class just burned---cool! But please don’t waste everyone’s time sitting at a piece of equipment texting or taking selfies. Try to dedicate one hour to yourself, unplug from the world, and listen to what your body needs!
Rule #5: Don’t stare!
Whether you are admiring someone’s physique or trying to learn a new exercise, be careful not to stare. Remember, you are there to transform your body, not pick up a date or make someone feel self-conscious. The last thing you want to do is make someone feel uncomfortable around you, so keep your eyes to yourself!
Rule #4: Dress appropriately.
This goes along with Rule #5. You’re at the gym to work out, so dress appropriately for your body and for the activity you’re doing. In other words, don’t show up looking like you’re going to the club. Also, make sure your gym clothes are fresh—you don’t want to look and smell like yesterday’s sweat. Keep it classy and clean.
Rule #3: Save the grunts and moans for the bedroom.
We have all heard them---the men (and women) who want EVERYONE in the gym to know they are working harder than anyone else! Let’s get real, not every set can be that exhausting! If you MUST make a sound, please keep in mind I shouldn’t be able to hear you if I have my headphones on!
Rule #2: Don’t drop it like it’s hot.
The same person who likes to abuse Rule #3 usually abuses this rule as well! There is no need to slam down a barbell stacked with plates, or a pair of dumbbells that could bounce and brake your wrist. Not only is it dangerous it is a distraction to others around you.
Rule #1: Give people space.
This is just as important in the locker room as it is in the weight room. Be conscious of personal space, and extend the same courtesy to people that you would expect them to extend to you. If someone is changing at a locker, for example, don’t try and cram into the locker right beside or below it--even if that’s the locker you ALWAYS use. Be considerate and find an available locker that will give both of you adequate space and privacy.
Bonus: The Golden Rule
It can be frustrating dealing with new members who interrupt your routine, or being the new member who forgets to re-stack the weights. Regardless of how irritating these things can be, however, the key is to be respectful and courteous of others around you. Remember, we are all there for the same reasons, and we all have to start somewhere. Set the example by being the person who inspires, motivates, and treats your fellow members the way you want them to treat you.