I don’t know about you, but it seems like the gym is a breeding ground for rude behaviour in a lot of ways (much like the internet… I digress). People act differently than they would in, say, the grocery store. Let’s say you are looking for just the right cake mix and in the process you pick up several different containers. After you are finished looking at a mix you let out a loud grunt/yell and then slam the container to the ground. In the end, after you have finally made your selection, you leave all of the other ones that you looked at strewn across the floor. This kind of person would be asked to leave the store pretty quickly right? Well somehow, this is behaviour that can be pretty normal in gyms. Except instead of cake mix boxes, there are 45 lb plates, or 100 lb dumb bells that cause a significant hazard to gym users. Here are some tips to make sure that you don’t become “that guy” at your gym.
1. Re-rack Your Weights
As was mentioned with the cake mix example, you wouldn’t do this in the grocery store, so don’t do it in a gym. If you use a weight put it back. Try to put it back in the right place, but if you’re not sure exactly where it goes either put it back where you got it from or ask someone who works there. If we all put our weights back, this will cause a culture where everyone puts their weights back which will inevitably lead to more efficient workouts for you because you won’t spend half of your gym time looking for the equipment that you want to use. My strength training coach in high school used to make us do one push up for every pound out of place. You can bet that place was in order. My gym has not let me implement that policy…yet.
2. Consider the Beginner
We were all there once. No matter how much you squat, bench, or dead-lift, no matter how fast you run or how many Zumba classes you have taken, there was a time when it was all new and coming into the gym was a scary place. The goal of gyms (for the most part) is to help EVERYONE reach their fitness goals. That’s why there are 1 pound weights and 110 pound weights. So when someone leaves 200 pounds on the calf raise machine, Grandma, who is wanting to get stronger so she that can play with her grandbaby, is going to walk away feeling intimidated and maybe not reach her full potential. Don’t intimidate Grandma.
3. Be Quiet
Not library quiet. But like, grocery store quiet (to further the analogy). If you and your friend are both listening to music, and then trying to talk to each other, it can be pretty loud as you are both trying to talk over each other’s music. Maybe pull out an ear bud if you are wanting to chat. Also, please refrain from excessive grunting. Not every single rep should be your max, so there is no real need to yell and grunt through the whole workout. It is distracting and annoying to fellow gym members. Also, to further point number 2, imagine you were someone new to the whole fitness thing, you walk in hoping to learn a few things and get in shape and in the far corner you hear a bunch of people yelling. That is going to intimidate the heck out of you and you may leave and fail to pursue a healthier life for yourself.
4. Wear Shoes
Not only shoes, but proper shoes. This is important for safety and hygienic reasons. Wearing improper shoes like flip flops (or slippahs as they are called here in Hawaii) could be a tripping hazard especially on cardio equipment or in group exercise classes. Also, going around barefoot can spread some diseases like athlete’s foot. And who wants that? I am aware of all of the muscular benefits of walking around barefoot, but let’s leave the foot strengthening of that nature to your home and the beach.
5. If You Have an Appointment, Show Up
Or at least call in advance to say that you won’t be able to make it. Most trainers have really broad hours. I regularly have appointments scattered throughout the day ranging from 5 am to 7 pm. If you are meeting with a trainer, they have planned in their schedule to take care of you during that time. The least that you can do is show up. If you are new to the gym and a little bit scared about doing a consultation, that’s ok. But there is a reason that you came into the gym in the first place and trainers can help put you on the right track (even if you don’t end up working out with them).
6. Do Not Sit on Machines and Text
There are usually other people waiting for the machine that you are using, especially if you go during peak hours. Letting other people use the machine during your rest period is good practice. It helps both parties get an effective and efficient workout in. If someone else is on a machine that you want to use, it is also appropriate to ask people how many more sets they have or if you can work during their rests. Most of the time they will either say “Oh sure” or “I just have a couple more sets” and start the exercise again. Either way they will get off the machine faster so you can use it.
What other things do you see in the gym that you think should be discussed? Comment below!
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