GYM ETIQUETTE 101 - How to Properly Conduct Yourself at the Public Gym

 This was an epic sign I recently saw in a gym while visitng Napa

This was an epic sign I recently saw in a gym while visitng Napa

At home or away, and I’ve been all over the world, we use gyms. We use gyms with other people, and most people are generally pretty good about the shared space. However, some behaviours should be addressed.

Some gyms do actually post signage that clearly states some general guidelines, there is no written manual that someone first needs to read before getting a membership at a public gym….but maybe there should be.

These are just a few suggestions to help you make friends instead of enemies at the gym.

CLOTHING.

Call me old fashion or just old but since when is it acceptable for men to wear less or show more than the woman in the gym. Tank tops, fine - I can KIND of wrap my head around that - but full on gaps so we can see the entire armpit, chest, and stomach area is offensive. Also, what is the sleeveless hoodie? For when your head is cold, but your guns are cooking? Makes no sense.

Guys, trust me when I say this - LESS is NOT MORE when we are talking about what you decide to wear to the gym. We can tell under your sleeves if you are well built or not, a little modesty can go a long way.

When I worked at Lindsay Park Sports Centre, now known as Rexall, men were not allowed to wear sleeveless shirts. Mainly because they get sweat all over the equipment, but I also feel like it is more appropriate.

For women, you’re pretty easy. Tons of clothing options, lots of brands. Just wear something that makes you feel comfortable...and the only real requirement is a supportive sports bra.



weight room ettiquette.jpg

WIPE DOWN YOUR EQUIPMENT WHEN FINISHED.

If you are sharing a piece of equipment, wipe it down after each set.

A few weeks ago I was training at my local gym and asked a guy how many sets he had left. He replied “5 more" so I asked if I could work in with him. He agreed and got off the leg press he was using. It was soaked with his sweat and was not planning on wiping it. I was shocked and annoyed, so in my not-always-nurturing way, I asked him to wipe it down. So I can be a bit brash, and I know exactly what he was thinking, but what the heck??! I am not sure if he will continue with his new improved behaviour of wiping after each set, but I sure hope he does.



LEAVE PEOPLE ALONE & DON’T TALK TO PEOPLE IN THE MIDDLE OF THEIR SET.

For some, going to the gym is a social place to visit friends. For most, however, it is to workout - let them do that. Most people cannot concentrate and give their set 110% if they are trying also to listen to you. Wait until they are finished their set, then ask if you could work in or grab a piece of equipment.

DO NOT DROP YOUR WEIGHTS OR MAKE LOUD GRUNTING NOISES (OR WHATEVER THAT IS DURING YOUR HEAVY LIFT)

We all know you are doing it for attention - PLEASE stop it.


DON’T WEAR OLD STINKY WORKOUT CLOTHES TO THE GYM AND WEAR DEODORANT.

Believe it or not, this is a problem. I would say a general rule of thumb for most people would be after wearing an item of clothing to the gym it should be washed. Sweat is ok until it dries - then it becomes very gross and very smelly.

Deodorant is mandatory - especially in a gym setting. Also, it will be very embarrassing for you when the manager addresses it with you.


BE CONSCIENCE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS IN THE GYM.

Respect everyone’s space. Busy or not, it is up to every single person to respect the space of others. Don’t stop or walk in front of someone when they are in the middle of a set – I’m shocked to see how oblivious people can be when it comes to this. It happens all the time – you’ll be working out and someone will stand directly in front so you can no longer can see. I normally motion to them to move over a little and I would say 99% of the time, people at just that moment realize what they had done…clearly, people are not purposely trying to be rude, just beware of your surroundings.

Conversely, don’t be a space hog. Particularly in a busy gym (lunch time, after work, etc.), the gym can be a busy place – real estate is at a premium. Be conscious and respectful of others, don’t spread your $&!T all over the place and expect everyone else to dance around you. It takes teamwork people, nobody’s membership is worth more than anyone else’s. Period.

Consistent with my last point, and especially at busy times…a potentially contentious issue, but YOU DO NOT NEED 5 MINUTES REST BETWEEN SETS. Its usually the grunter, the one wearing the sleeveless hoodie, doing lat pull downs with a weight belt, wrist straps and knee wraps. You. Stop it. Condense your rest time, not only in the name of polite behaviour, but you’ll also get a better workout…I promise.

Tish Duffy