With the new year come New Year’s resolutions and many of us are trying to get into (or back into) an exercise routine. For gym rookies, that means learning how everything works – from the equipment to the etiquette. For gym regulars, it means a lot of new faces and crowded conditions for at least the next few weeks.
We took the matter of gym etiquette to Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist Jessica Mathews with FMH ProMotion Fitness+ and our Facebook and Twitter followers and got some great tips you can use if a gym membership is part of your resolution.
Here’s a favorite, which was also Jessica’s number one tip:
Yes, please! Take a look around the gym and locate the towels or wipes. Then be sure to use them whenever you leave a piece of equipment. Don’t make the next person grab on to a set of wet handles or sit in a puddle of your sweat. It’s unpleasant, to say the least.
Julie makes three excellent points:
- Not only is talking on your cell phone at the gym rude to those around you, but it will also keep you from getting the most out of your workout. If you’re breathing easily enough to carry on a conversation, you can work a little harder.
- Be aware of your gym-mates. Don’t sit on a piece of equipment if you’re resting in between sets. Get up and let someone else work while you recover. If someone is sitting or resting on the equipment you need, Jessica says it’s completely appropriate to ask if you can squeeze in a quick set. Be polite, it’ll go a long way.
- Clean up after yourself. If you picked up a weight from the rack, make sure it’s returned to the rack when you’re finished. It’s the responsible thing to do and it keeps others from tripping over your discarded weights.
Resident exercise expert Jessica adds these tips:
- Keep your germs at home. Don’t go to the gym if you’re sick or contagious. If you simply must work out, take it easy and do it at home.
- If you don’t know how to use a piece of equipment, ask for help. You’ll enjoy a safer workout and keep the equipment in working order for the next user.
- Unless you’re asked and have the proper educational background, don’t give other people exercise advice. You probably don’t know their medical history or limitations they may have. If you see someone doing something potentially harmful, tell a member of the gym staff so they can step in.
Over on Twitter, Deidre shifted our focus from getting the most out of the gym and workout to being respectful of everyone’s abilities:
This tip may be the most important. Everyone at the gym is there to improve his or her health. All of us will start from different points and ability levels, but everyone who’s with you in the gym has at least taken the first step — showing up. That’s worth your respect.