While the importance of personal safety has always taken precedence at a gym, most people forget about the importance of general gym rules and etiquette. Here are a few general tips that everyone can benefit from knowing when going to the gym.
Hygiene: While this may seem like a no-brainer, some forget that gyms can host lots of bacteria and germs. The machines and weights may look immaculate, but they accumulate a lot of sweat over the course of a day. If the gym has wipes or towels, be sure to use them and be courteous to others by wiping down your station before the next user. Also, avoid going to the gym if you have a cold. While you may think you’re fine, coughing or sneezing around the machines gives germs an easy way to spread quickly and can affect other gym members.
Timing: Be mindful of the busy times of day at a gym. Usually after-work-hours are when gyms become the most crowded. If that’s the case with your gym, be sure to observe any time limitations or alter your workout so you won’t run into congested areas of the gym. If the machines you want to use have a line, alter your workout or complete another exercise in your routine while you wait so that your body doesn’t go into a state of rest.
Space: Whether your or another gym member are doing a movement that requires a lot of space, including burpees or dead lifts, it’s important to know how much space you and others need. Be aware of others working out when moving throughout your gym. If you need to access an area across the room, make sure to walk around stations and not through them, especially when others are using the stations. Don’t wander around the gym aimlessly, as this can agitate other users and you might end up getting in someone’s way.
Reset: When using weight machines, be sure to place the weights back at a neutral position for the next user. If you use more freehand weights, always place them back in the rack or designated area where they belong. Free weights lying around can become a serious tripping hazard. This also applies to personal belongings like towels and water bottles. Store these items safely out of the way or keep them in a locker during your workout to avoid creating a hazard.
If you are ever unsure on what the gym rules are, don’t be afraid to ask a trainer. It is better that you know the rules rather than risk hurting yourself or others around you.