// Written by Mark David –
Unless you have the luxury of owning your own private gym, chances are that you will be working out alongside other members. Unfortunately, gym etiquette is not a subject taught back in high school. Spend enough time in the gym and I’m sure you’ll find yourself wanting to throw a weight at someone’s head (and that’s not just the pre-workout working). So let’s take a moment to discuss a few things on gym etiquette, because nobody wants to be THAT guy (or girl).
Put your weights back where you found them. I know it’s impressive that you can fill up the squat rack with 45lb plates, but if you can lift the weight, we know you are strong enough to strip the bar and carry the plates back to where you found them. You should not make putting away your weights a part of someone else’s workout, your mother does not work at the gym, and even if she did, you’re an adult. You should be capable of picking up after yourself. Speaking of, put the weights back where they belong. When returning plates, be sure to stack them over the correct weight. 45lb plates don’t belong on top of 10lb ones. Also, believe it or not, the 25lb dumbbells go between the 30s and the 20s. Not sure why they always seem to end up next to the 40s…
If you missed the simple math and matching part of kindergarten, maybe you’ll remember the part about sharing. On a crowded day, you most likely won’t be the only one working out a certain body part. Try not to hog the machines. If it’s a busy day at the gym and you’re sitting on the bench press bench writing an essay on Facebook while others are waiting to get on, then you are a dick. While resting in between sets is important, make sure that you are not resting too much. Better yet, if you see someone waiting to get on a machine, offer to let him or her work in with you. Who knows, maybe you’ll even make a friend.
Speaking of sharing, some things are not fun to share, like germs. If you happen to be a sweaty person, wipe up the bench when you are done. If you are worried about the environmental impact of wasting too many paper towels, bring your own towel to clean up your mess. No one wants to sit in your sweat.
It’s always good to be aware and considerate of others. If you’re doing dumbbell exercises, take a nice big step or two away from the rack. Make sure that you are giving others adequate room to get by or grab the weights they need. If it is busy, try to avoid doing curls in the squat rack. It’s easy to do curls without a squat rack, but it is next to impossible to do squats without one. If you’re the only one in the gym and you have to take a phone call, cool. Otherwise, I assure you that no one wants to hear half of your conversation while they try and focus on his next lift. Either talk quietly, or step out. Also, I doubt anyone wants to hear your music. Wear headphones. Bringing portable speakers with you is just a whole new level of douchebaggery. Avoid dropping or slamming your weights. This is another audible offense, as well as a sign of bad form. Not only will you irritate your fellow gym goers, you’ll probably hurt yourself too. If you can’t lift quietly, you’re probably not lifting safely.
An article on gym etiquette would not be complete without a section on consent, I know some of you queens out there use the gym as more of a place to cruise than to get huge. No judgment. But unless you are sure that someone is in to you, keep your comments and your hands to yourself. Also, don’t be a creepy weirdo and take people’s pictures without their consent. That’s really gross.
Finally, remember that we are all here for the same reason. We are all trying to become a better version of our prior self. A gym is not the place to mock or laugh at others. No strength is shown in putting others down, instead, we should try and lift each other up.
Mark David is a NASM certified personal trainer. He advises that you talk with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements or starting a workout regime. You can find him at New Orleans Athletic Club, Downtown Fitness Center, Anytime Fitness at Lakeview, or behind the bar at Oz. He can be reached at MarkDavidFitness@gmail.com.