From Bodily Functions to Weights – The Etiquette of the Gym
“Wait. Which fork do I use for my salad?”
“How do I place the napkin on the table when I am finished?”
Etiquette seems silly to worry about, doesn’t it? Until you realize that you don’t know the unspoken rules. There is proper etiquette for just about everything: in business, at school, when you are out on the town. There are unspoken rules everywhere, and when you don’t know those rules you can stick out like sore thumb. Gym etiquette is no exception.
Since most first time gym-goers are already nervous enough thinking that they won’t fit in, here is a hopefully amusing but truthful list of rules to help you mind your manners and get along with others at your health club.
Clean up your weights: “I pick things up and put them down.” …Then you should put them back where they came from. It is impressive when guys put four million 45 lb. plates on the leg press, but what is even more impressive is the person that cleans them up afterward.
Work with others: If you are using a machine or station for a prolonged time, be welcoming of people who would like to work-in. If you are the person waiting to get onto that machine, it is fine to politely ask if you can work-in. Most of the time, the answer will be yes. If the answer is “no” (hopefully a polite “no”) then walk away, secure in the knowledge that you exhibited proper etiquette and the person you asked did not.
Manage your odors. This is a topic unto itself, and nobody – nobody! – wants to discuss this with you.
- Ladies, go easy on your perfume. Too much perfume can overwhelm the weight room or especially a group fitness class.
- Guys, if you have manly job that makes you sweat all day, take a quick shower before you workout. Body odor is the enemy.
- Everyone, wear deodorant! It is inevitable that we are all going to get sweaty and perspire during our workouts. It’s best to come prepared. Clean shirts + strong deodorants = your dream team.
- Oh, and don’t fart. Really.
Wipe down machines One of the worst things someone can experience at a gym is walking up to a machine and seeing a pool of sweat all over the place. The towels and disinfectant sprays are there for good reason. Use them.
Get off your phone. You think you are “talking”. To everyone else, you’re screaming. Do you really want everyone in the room to know your dinner plans, who bothered you at work, and that you’re late with your car payment? No you don’t…and we REALLY don’t want to know. We’re trying to enjoy ourselves, too, and your self-important shouting into your phone invades our space. It is a workout killer. Step into the lobby to chat it up instead of fighting the gym volume and screaming into your cell.
Stop being creepy. Guys, this is for you. When there are a bunch of ladies in Butts and Gutts class and you are standing outside the room, looking through the window and “stretching your shoulder” for twenty minutes, we are not fooled. We are creeped out. Stop that.
Sprinkles are for cupcakes, not toilet seats Don't think this applies just to the guys! Your mother wouldn’t let you leave the toilet seat like looking like that, would she?
Don’t hog the water fountain. If you are planning to fill up your entire gallon jug, make sure there is no one behind you that just needs a couple of sips. Oh, and please do not spit in the fountain, or even worse, leave it there without a wash over. Nobody wants to see that.
I hope this list is useful, and I hope you have a great start to the New Year at the gym! If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put down my phone, put on some deod, and hit the gym.
*Kate is a Personal Trainer at Elevations Health Club.