Bodybuilding: Gym Etiquette

Most people who work out do so in public gyms. To be respectful of others and help to make the gym experience a positive one for everybody, there is a particular etiquette to follow. Most of this gym etiquette come down to common sense and courtesy yet needs to be mentioned because anyone who exercises in gyms sees ongoing infractions.

First of all, return your weights to the rack and strip the plates from bars and machines after use. There is nothing worse than a gym with dumbbells lying all over the place. It’s messy and it makes it hard to find what you are looking for. There is also nothing worse than a bar left on the floor with five 45-pound plates aside or a leg press machine left with ten plates aside. You’d think that someone strong enough to use such heavy weights has been around gyms long enough to know better.

It’s just plain lazy and ignorant to expect others to come along and clean up their mess. It also makes it difficult for some individuals who are smaller and weaker to have to remove a ton of plates from a machine when they want to use it. This would have a negative effect on their experience. Make putting your weights back part of your workout.

Put towels down on benches or machines or clean up after yourself. It is totally disgusting to approach a bench that you want to use and find it covered in sweat. Not to mention unhygienic. Be polite, bring a towel to the gym and use it. It’s a great habit to get into and you will find that you like having a towel to mop up your sweat as you train.

Leave your cell phone in the locker room or your car. Unless your wife is pregnant and due any second, surely you can go an hour or so without a phone call. Spend your time in the gym focusing on training and use it as a break from your everyday life. Talking on the cell phone is distracting to others around you in the gym who are trying to concentrate on their workout session. Leave the outside world behind and just train. You’ll get better results as well.

Try not to make excessive noise by dropping weights, plates and dumbbells. This can also damage the equipment, especially dumbbells. If you are using heavy dumbbells for pressing, learn how to return them to the floor without just letting them fly form your hands. Use a spotter if necessary. There are plenty of people who would be happy to help you out.

Be aware of what is going on around you and pay attention to what others are doing. You may learn some things this way and it prevents you from getting in someone else’s way. It’s very annoying to turn your back for a second or go get a drink of water and find that someone has taken your dumbbells or is using the machine you were on.

Another big annoyance is body odour. Make an effort to wear clothes to the gym that are fairly fresh. It also portrays a poor image of yourself if you are wearing a yellowing, sweat-stained t-shirt that just plain stinks. By the same token, avoid drenching yourself in perfume or cologne before you hit the gym floor. You may think you smell great but chances are that others will find it downright offensive.

Here are some quick ones. If you want to sit and read, go to the library. Don’t do it while you are sitting on a machine at the gym. Don’t do curls in the squat rack. Don’t wear flip-flop style sandals. Try not to yell too loudly. I can understand some reasonable grunting (after all, training can be intense) but not screaming like a banshee. Also, come to the gym to train, not to socialize. A little small talk in between sets is natural, but spend your time exercising your body, not your vocal chords. Its great to meet new people at the gym, but don’t treat it like a meat market or a singles bar.

These seem to represent the most common things that bother people at the gym. Everyone has their own pet peeves or things that they have witnessed at the gym that they find irritating. That is the price you pay for being out in public. However, you have to realize that what goes around comes around. So if you make a little effort to be respectful of others while at the gym, it will come back to you in a very positive way.

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