Five simple rules to make the gym experience more enjoyable
It’s a new year so we’re all back on campus, and that means one thing: lots of new people in the gym. Whether you’re a veteran athlete getting back into shape for the season or someone who is starting their fitness journey for the first time, it’s never a bad idea to refresh yourself on proper gym etiquette.
The gym can be a very crowded, confined space, and it only takes one person stinking it up to ruin the space for everyone. Of course, it’s normal to get sweaty and to start smelling a bit while exercising intensely. No one is going to blame you for that. However, it’s up to you to do everything you can to minimize your scent.
Wear clean clothes, put on deodorant, and shower regularly. Keep in mind, this definitely doesn’t mean you should spray yourself into oblivion with cologne or perfume. That can be just as bad as any BO!
Also, those spray bottles of cleaning solution and towels are also placed strategically around the gym for a reason. Leaving your sweat all over equipment isn’t just gross — it’s rude.
Dress for success
Dressing “appropriately” can mean a lot of different things to different people. Anything that is clean, comfortable, and makes you feel confident in the gym can be appropriate. With that said, is it really so hard to change out of your jeans and street shoes?
On the other end of the spectrum, social media has given us the impression that going to the gym should be a fashion show. Like most things on social media, this can be ignored. So long as you are comfortable throughout your workout, anything goes.
Don’t be a creep
Anyone going to the gym should feel safe and respected, and unfortunately it only takes one creepy experience to ruin that. People are in the gym to exercise, not to be hit on.
No matter how discreet you think you’re being, everyone can tell when you’re staring at someone. Cut that out; no one deserves to feel uncomfortable for simply existing in the gym. If someone doesn’t want to talk to you, don’t talk to them.
Respect the space
There is no worse feeling than starting your workout and realizing the piece of equipment you need is out of order or broken. If you want to throw things around to the point where you’re damaging equipment, then maybe it’s time you invest in a home gym.
You should also never hoard multiple sets of dumbbells, no matter what you’re doing. Likewise, laying claim to more than one machine at a time is unreasonable. The social aspect of the gym is important for a lot of people, but you don’t need to take up equipment while you’re chatting to your friends.
Just because you’ve been working out for years and know exactly what you’re doing doesn’t mean you have any more right to be in the gym than a newcomer. Being respectful to others is literally the bare minimum standard of gym etiquette.
If someone’s using equipment that you want to use, don’t stare at them from two inches away waiting for them to finish. Giving people a proper amount of space is not only a matter of respect, but safety. Having people walking too close to you while you’re lifting several hundred pounds of metal can be scary.
Finally, some rookies appreciate getting advice from experienced gym-goers, but you should never assume that anyone has to hear what you have to say. Asking permission to give unsolicited advice in a non-judgmental way can be a great way to help people new to the gym feel respected.
So whether you know the weight room like the back or the hand or are just stepping onto a treadmill for the first time, creating a positive environment in the gym isn’t hard. All you can do is put the right intentions and energy out there, and hopefully others will reciprocate.