By Nate Whitten, April 9, 2015.
No matter which type of gym you work out in – your apartment complex exercise room, the big chain-gym or the local independent gym – there is proper etiquette involved when it comes to sharing the space with other gymgoers.
And, just as you share the road with other drivers or share your cubicle with a co-worker, you have to learn how to peacefully co-existence with others in a way that doesn’t make you end up looking like a jerk.
There are pages and pages of gym etiquette tips and advice online, but here are five of the basics to get you started:
1. TAKE A TOWEL WITH YOU
Most quality gyms offer their members some sort of towel service. Take advantage of it. You may think your sweaty back outline on the bench is a sexy way to mark your territory, but that really only applies in the bedroom. The gym equipment is not your tree to pee on when exerting your masculine dominance. So, for everyone’s sake, wipe that equipment down when you’re finished. And please don’t wipe down the seat with the same towel you sop up the perspiration from your body. That’s kind of like washing the kitchen counter with your sandy beach towel – so maybe take two towels.
2. DON’T DROP THE WEIGHTS
Everyone has dropped a weight a time or two; it’s unavoidable. But there’s that guy who drops his weights to show off how hard he’s working and then walks away with his lats spread so far apart that the slightest breeze could take him into the sky like a kite. Don’t be that guy! If you can’t control the weights enough to set them down with ease, then they are too heavy for you. When you are unable to utilize negative resistance that is part of the full range of motion of your exercise, you aren’t strong enough to perform the routine correctly. So, now you look like an amateur.
3. DON’T BE A DISTRACTION
This means stop using your boobs to distract from your inactivity in the weight room and stop gawking at the other bodies, forms, techniques, etc., around you. Similarly, just because you own your own yoga mat and can do a sun salutation without instruction, doesn’t grant you exclusive rights to the 10-foot diameter space around you. And, while yoga is a great physical practice, don’t use your downward-facing dog just to get attention. Just like the sweat puddles, leave that stuff at home or in the spacious yoga studio.
4. DON’T BE A “BRIDESMAID”
If you haven’t seen the movie, you must turn in your gay card immediately. Of course, this is calling out the gym-goer who stealthily follows a personal trainer and their client around, mimicking everything they do. You’re stealing. Everyone sees you doing it, and you look creepy. Stop it!
5. WATCH YOUR MOUTH
I’m all for lots of cussing and swearing, but keep in mind that not everyone has the same sense of appropriate when it comes to language. Also, if you sound like you’re having an orgasm while maneuvering the weights or equipment, you should stop that too. Most people appreciate a good orgasmic vocal response – in the bedroom. Again, keep it at home. Lastly, gyms are full of gossip, business conversation and social commentary. Not only do people not want to hear your conversations, you actually may not want to be overheard speaking your mind to your neighbor on the treadmill because this isn’t Vegas – what happens in the gym, does not stay in the gym.
3 Tips for Fixing Your Gym Etiquette Faux Pas
If you slip up and forget to implement these rules of public engagement at the gym don’t beat yourself up, there’s even etiquette for fixing your faux pas.
1. ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR SCREW UP
Be aware when you blow it and simply own up to your flub. You won’t be excommunicated from the gym community if you accept responsibility and move on.
2. APOLOGIZE WITH A SMILE
Apologize to those around you who may be affected by, or have witnessed, your blunder – and do with a sincere smile. If you make a light joke out of it, you may seem charming and get that guy with the superman pecs to offer to spot you on your next attempt.
3. DO UNTO OTHERS
You’re not the gym police, so rather than scowl or make uncalled for comments to someone who doesn’t know the rules of the gym yet – much like yourself not so long ago – be gracious and offer to assist, with your superman pecs, on their next attempt.