Follow the rules of etiquette while working out at the gym. There's much more to a gym subscription than paying your monthly dues and showing up regularly. Your manners at the gym are important – they form the impression others have about you! There are some unspoken rules anytime you’re in an area with other sweaty people around you. These rules may not be posted but using proper behavior will ensure that you have a satisfying experience at a shared facility such as the gym. The guidelines of personal and equipment protocol below will enhance your gym experience:
1.Adhere to personal protocol. The way you carry yourself at the gym affects those around you. Whenever you are in a public place you are being watched and judged, which is all the more reason that you project a respectful and courteous behavior towards others.
2.Don’t be a “gym-tourist” and try to work the room. The gym represents so many things to different people. For some, it is a getaway from the stress, a place to blow off steam or a safe haven from the daily grind. For others it may be a place to socialize or network, meet friends and even find a mate, or find some business clients. But for most, the gym is a place to burn off the extra calories and get in shape. If you are the type of person who goes to the gym other than to work out, be respectful of people’s time when socializing in the gym. Don’t strike up a conversation with someone while they are concentrating on their workouts.
3.Dress in appropriate clean gym attire and wear a deodorant. This sends a positive message that you care how you look and smell. Leave your pajama pants, hugger shorts, torn, dirty or smelly clothes at home. Wear a T-shirt instead of a tank top to circumvent sweat running onto the machine.
4.Avoid taking business or personal phone calls unless you’re waiting for an important call. As with most public places, it’s recommended that you switch off your mobile phone at the gym. Considering the smart phones today have integrated cameras, nobody wants their butt the main attraction on a public website.
5.Minimize the sound level of your headphones so your music is not blasting into other people’s ears or annoying them.
6.Be considerate when you fill up your large water bottle or start chatting with someone around the fountain area. If you are chewing gum and need to spit it out, remember the water fountain is not the right place to do so.
7.Don’t offer unsolicited advice or go around correcting other people’s training unless you are a certified personal trainer. You want to avoid the risk of a lawsuit against you should the person get injured by following your “correct way of training”!
8.Minimize what you bring to the gym floor. Don’t tote around your gym bag from machine to machine. Store your gym bag in the locker. Leaving stuff around and on equipment creates safety and confusion issue even if you are exercising right next to it.
9.Always bring a towel with you to the gym if your gym doesn’t provide one, and then use it. Towels help you keep your sweat to yourself, and they help you avoid the sweat of others. There’s nothing worse than using a piece of gym equipment with someone else's sweat all over it.
10.Be on time for an exercise class and don’t barge into one that is already in session. Coming to class late disturbs others. Don’t reserve space for your friends for the class they say they will attend. What if they don’t show up? “First come, first to participate” is the protocol.
11.Learn to share the equipment if the gym is busy. Allow others to use the equipment when you take short breaks between sets of reps. If you are waiting to use a machine, don’t pressure users by constantly asking them if they’ve finished using a machine, when they’re still exercising on it. Don’t just stand there and continue tapping your foot either. Instead wait for them to stop before asking or simply go find an unoccupied machine to work on.
12.Put back all equipment after use where it belongs in order to avoid any tripping hazards and for others to find the equipment easily. Pick up after yourself. Your gym membership fee is for use of the facility and equipment; it's not a maid service.
When you follow proper etiquette you provide others the opportunity to form a favorable impression about you. Next time you go the gym recognize that not only are you building a great body but you may also be building powerful social and professional connections through your courteous persona, good manners, wit and charm!