New at your fitness center? Set yourself up for success with these six gym etiquette tips designed to create a positive experience right off the bat.
Committing to becoming more active and fit can be a daunting goal for a new gym user.
Besides having to familiarize yourself with the machines and workouts, nine times out of ten there’s also a social aspect to consider. By this, we mean all the different gym users, all on different levels, all with different backgrounds and goals working out in the same area as yourself. Navigating this landscape and finding your place takes effort and intention.
Why is gym etiquette important?
I know that not everyone always plays a role in making newcomers feel welcome. So it’s perfectly understandable that this can sometimes trigger a little social anxiety. While there’s nothing you can do about innately unwelcoming people, you can be intentional with the first impression they form of you.
Just like at a new job, there is a process of familiarizing yourself with the gym’s environment and culture. And just like at that new job, there are certain unwritten rules of engagement and etiquette that others expect you to abide by at the fitness center.
If you’re new to the gym, these six gym etiquette tips will help you enjoy your workout without having to worry about curious or disapproving looks from others. They’ll also help you create effective habits to stick with the inside of the gym.
1. Don’t hog the equipment.
There is nothing worse than going to the gym to find that you can’t follow the workout plan you’ve prepared for yourself because someone else has everything you need.
In today’s busy world, no one has time to wait for you to get done with your five machine circuit. Keep in mind that you are not alone on the journey to your elite self. Respect other’s time when you’re in the gym and you’ll find they’ll be much more willing to share the equipment with you.
2. Don’t be that obnoxious weight lifter.
Ok, we get it, you are putting in work. But does it have to be broadcasted to the entire gym?
It’s understandable to breathe a little heavily, but outright screaming and grunting just makes you look like you’re itching for attention. And you’ll likely generate unfavorable attention with people questioning whether you can lift your current weight amount.
The bottom line is that you’re not impressing anyone so just forgo making obnoxious noises.
3. Don’t be a creep.
Whenever you have a large group of people in one setting trying to accomplish a similar goal, it’s only natural and a question of time until someone hits it off with someone else. We’re all about forging new friendships but any further and you risk creating a negative situation for yourself and others.
Remember why you are in the gym in the first place. This time is to be focused on your fitness goals, not gawking at the guy or girl through the mirror. This is not only an important gym etiquette tip, but it’s also a rule because it borders so closely on sexual harassment. Creating a safe environment for everyone should be every gym’s main concern.
Staring and making unwanted advances are bound to make the other person uncomfortable, so don’t be the culprit who does this to others.
4. Be mindful of people with headphones.
Wearing headphones is an unwritten message that you should come to hopefully understand. You are bound to see other gym users working out with their headphones on. They might as well have the message, “Working out. Focused. Don’t Interrupt Me.” stamped on their foreheads.
There is nothing worse than trying to focus on your gains and getting interrupted by someone - whether it’s a chatty Cathy or simply someone asking for help. My advice? Find someone without headphones that can help you.
But of course, there are exceptions to this rule. You can always say “hi” if the person’s not wearing headphones. If they greet you but put their headphones back on right away, it’s probably a good sign that they are done with the conversation. Take the hint and go back to focusing on your routine.
5. Wipe down the equipment you use.
This should be a self-explanatory gym etiquette rule but unfortunately, people still ignore it. When you work out, you get hot and sweaty, which then transfers to whatever you’re holding or sitting on. Even if you don’t tend to sweat, you’re still spreading germs from point A to point B.
No one enjoys coming into contact with other people’s germs, especially in a gym where you’re more likely to get sick from touching so many surfaces. Every fitness center you visit will provide an antibacterial spray or sanitary wipes for its users. Please be courteous to others and wipe the equipment down ... you’ll be doing them a big favor!
6. Re-rack the weights.
There have been occasions when I was at the gym getting a good pump in, only to be slowed down due to an unforeseen treasure hunt for weights. I think it goes without saying how frustrating that was.
Not only are you now stuck searching for weights, but you’re also losing valuable time that could be spent on your workout. It can also break your focus and make you look lost in the gym.
The simple solution here is to re-rack the equipment from where you got it. Make this be a part of your workout. Trust me when I say that people will be grateful for it.
The bottom line.
Gym etiquette is all about thinking of others and not just yourself. At Pure Elite Fitness, we expect everyone to help in welcoming newcomers. However, we know not every other gym holds their members to this and some might lose interest in playing an active role in this process. Whether you’re a seasoned gym-goer or someone new to the fitness industry, these gym etiquette tips are vital for ensuring a positive experience for yourself and others.
Next time you walk into a gym ask yourself, “how would I like to see my weights? What will make my gym experience better?”
Make it a habit to think of others and not just yourself and you’ll be well on your way to becoming one with the community.