So you've taken the leap, you've signed up to the gym and your bubbling over with motivation... but what now?
Joining the gym, bettering your health and fitness is a super positive thing, so we wanted to give you the inside scoop to a few universal gym rules that should be known when entering the gym.
If you want to know how to avoid stepping on anyone's toes, looking like a complete newbie, or getting yourself in an awkward situation...Here's our beginners guide to gym etiquette.
1. Wipe down your machines
Absolutely the number one rule of gym etiquette. Wiping down equipment you have used not only makes the gym a happier place ,but also keeps you safe and healthy!
After you finish using a machine or bench, wipe off your sweat using your sweat towel - some gyms will provide cleaning clothes or paper and antibacterial spray (if you drip on the floor wipe that up too... no one wants to slip into your sweat drops!).
Stale sweat is unhygienic for many reasons and just plain gross! This will also save the next gym member from having to clean up your sweat before using the equipment and prevents the spread of germs.
2. Avoid hogging machines
If the gym is busy this is an important one, there's nothing worse than the person who sits and text in between their sets, instead of letting other gym users work in between, while they are resting. Try not to be that person, be aware of other people and hopefully they will do the same for you. A great way to save time in the gym is to superset exercises (performing two exercises back to back) and if the gym is particularly busy it can get you in, out and done in efficient time.
3. Put your weights back.
Every gym users ultimate bug bear, if you can get weights and equipment out you can PUT.IT.BACK. If you're new to the gym you'll be unlikely to rack up 200kg on the deadlift platform...but you can guarantee there's someone that will and all too often they leave it behind. like a stamp of their ego. If you're unlucky enough to encounter such weight, you'll know what an inconvenience it is to try and de-load before being able to start your workout.
While there are staff that work at the gym to keep you safe and happy, it's not their job to tidy up after you, and no, leaving plates and dumbbells NEXT to the rack DOESN'T COUNT as putting them back.
4. Ask for help
If you aren't sure how to use something ask for a quick tutorial, there will be gym instructors that are more than happy to help. Using equipment, or performing exercises incorrectly will make your workout less effective, put you at risk of injuring yourself and even others.
Take advantage of your gym induction, it's the perfect opportunity to get to know an instructor or personal trainer, get a grip of how to use the machines and even pick their brain with any questions you may have. If you need extra help it's also a good idea to consider investing in 1-2-1 sessions, or a training programme tailored to you, they can be invaluable to your progress towards your goals.
5. Don't be a space invader
Peak times can be a challenge in the gym, no one wants to be stuck next to Mr. Sweaty, grunting and dripping everywhere about 2cms from where you're stretching. Be mindful of where you set yourself down, whether it be to stretch, lift weights or take part in a class, make sure there's enough breathing room between you and your fellow gym users to avoid any unnecessary accidents from a dropped weight or accidently rogue limb.
Similarly avoid hovering around someone while you're waiting for them to finish on the equipment you want to use next, it can be very off-putting. Politely ask how long they have left to go, or to let you know when they are finished. You could always switch around an exercise while your waiting, or fill up your water bottle, so it takes the pressure off them.
6. Respect the equipment
There will always be those guys who throw dumbbells down, release resistance machines with no control so the weight stack slams down and generally treat the equipment with less than the desired respect. While you can't control them and their lack of respect for the gym, you can learn how not to act.
By not doing those things you not only help the gym by preventing unnecessary damage, but you also keep others safe too, if you see a resistance machine with a broken cable, don't try and use it, notify a member of staff. They may already be aware, but if not they will be able to place an out of order sign on it, prevent any one injuring themselves on the damaged equipment and take the necessary action to get it fixed.
7. The gym is for exercising, the coffee shop is for gossiping
There's nothing wrong with a quick catch up with a friend at the gym, but for many gym users listening to someone discuss their private life within a few feet can be extremely distracting, not everyone will be wearing headphones...even worse if you forget to pack them, alas! Many exercises take a great deal of concentration, with so many things to think about just to execute them safely. If you need to make a call, try and move to one side form the equipment you're using, go to a quieter spot like the changing rooms. If there's a few of you chatting avoid blocking any doorways or machines by standing in a group. If you really need a good chat, head to the coffee shop for a natter and let other gym users crack on with their workout.
8. Hygiene and attire is everyone's business at the gym.
Most of us go to the gym with the intention of getting a good sweat on and consequently are likely to experience body odour of some kind. But we can take a few simple steps to be as considerate to our fellow gym users as possible. Wear clean gym wear each time you workout, use deodorant, give your trainers plenty of air time and maybe a odour eater treatment of some kind every now and again.
The changing rooms are still a public place, shower quickly, take your hair with you (eurgh), keep your personal belongings in a reasonable amount of space and remember not everyone wants to see you bare all within sniffing distance, be respectful of other's personal space.
We hope you've loved reading our beginners guide to gym etiquette, what would your top tips for gym etiquette be?
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