As sure as snow will fall, January will predictably deliver a massive influx of fellow gym-goers. New faces, familiar faces, tentative faces, focused faces … there’s always a bit of a crowd come New Year’s day. With such an impressive population, it’s important to be considerate of those around you and adhere to a few basic courtesies. We asked Shawn Richardville, team leader, Parkview Health and Fitness Center, to clue us in to the basic principles for proper gym etiquette, and he so kindly obliged.
10 Rules of Proper Gym Etiquette
1. Return equipment to its original place. No one wants to search for that medicine ball left in a corner, re-rack plate weights left on a barbell or trip over dumbbells left on the floor.
2. Clean equipment after use. The thought of sitting or lying in a stranger’s sweat isn’t incredibly pleasant (or sanitary).
3. Share equipment. If you’re sitting or leaning on equipment while visiting with someone, you might not notice someone wanting to actually use it. If you’re resting on the equipment between sets, consider letting someone else work in a few reps.
4. Personal music should only be listened to through headphones. People don’t plan on attending a concert of your greatest hits, so try to keep your tunes to yourself.
5. Cell phone use should be limited to listening to music or using exercise apps. Try to keep personal conversations and text messages reserved for after your workout so you don’t block any walkways or equipment. And no selfies or pictures!
6. No perfume or cologne. Be kind to those with sensitivities, respiratory issues or allergies. A mixture of multiple scents in a confined area like the locker room or heavy cologne when breathing deeply on the treadmill can be very overwhelming. Wait until you get into your vehicle to apply your favorite scent.
7. Clean up after yourself in the locker room. Take care of your sweaty towel, leftover baby powder and toenail clippings (it’s happened!) and make an effort not to leave anything behind.
8. Mirrors are for watching your lifting form. There’s a time and place to check out your flexing, and it shouldn’t be when someone behind you is checking in on their lifting form.
9. Don't stare. Remember, many people are self-conscious about being at a gym to begin with. Focus on your workout and be respectful of others’ peace and privacy.
10. Protect the equipment. Use it properly and don't slam weights. If you can't control your weights then you’re lifting too much.