ATLX PSA: Gym Etiquette

By: Sarah McWilliams

FeaturedImageWhether you are a seasoned gym vet or an entry-level trainee, once in a while everyone can use a friendly reminder that we workout in shared spaces.

It may be that you’re new to the gym, it may be that you just don’t know, or it may be that you’re downright inconsiderate (maybe work on that), but at one point or another you’ve probably committed a fitness faux pas. It’s ok, we’ve all done it.

But, no need to fret, competitive crime committer, you don’t know what you don’t know! We’ve put together a quick refresher course for some, and an introductory crash course for others, on proper training etiquette.

In the Gym

One of the biggest pet peeves of gym goers is waiting for a machine. Although you shouldn’t rush your workout, don’t take your precious time either. Don’t relax and chat while sitting on the machine. Don’t pick up your phone and text between reps. Don’t let the next guy in line tap his foot vigorously, trying to make a passive aggressive point. Get your work done and move on to the next one – but not until you’ve wiped it down, of course.

If you’re using free weights, make a mental note of where you picked them up and make sure that’s where you put them back down. Nothing is more frustrating than commissioning a search party for weights. Even if it’s the end of the night, have a little respect for maintenance and don’t make them tidy up your mess. Same principles we learned in kindergarten, kids. “Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere…” You know how it goes.

And while you’re using free weights, be cognizant of those using the mirror. Check your surroundings to see who is using their reflection to workout, and don’t block their view. Also, check your surroundings to see who is using their reflection to check themselves out, and block their view. No time for vanity glances! We’re only kind of kidding.

Finally, please wear deodorant. Sure, you can’t help it if you monsoon sweat. And since you’re wiping down the machines, sweating is okay, but please don’t be smelly while you’re at it. Nothing is worse than spending an hour on the treadmill next to someone who is stinking up the place. We share the air, so care! Or something like that…

In the Pool

gymetiquetteWhether it’s your first time or you’ve been doing it forever, perform an honest self-evaluation of your capabilities and make sure you’re swimming in the correct lane. Many pools have lanes marked for speed, but if not, find a lane with similarly skilled swimmers.

If there are only two swimmers, then it’s customary to stay on your own side. But if more people dive in, then swim like you’re driving a car. Stay on your right side on the way down and your left side on the way back.

It’s also polite to rinse off before getting in the pool. Never, ever – ever … ever, ever – jump into the pool straight out of the sauna or when you’re covered in sweat. The chlorine isn’t ultra-strength, and most people don’t like to swim in sweat. Some may (to each their own), but we aren’t holding our breath until we find them, you know?

In the Locker Room

When you’re in the locker room, you owe it to everyone to be respectful of the shared space. Don’t empty your gym bag and take up the whole bench.

Don’t have your phone out in the locker room. Of course, you would never take pictures! But don’t give anyone reason to think you are. Text messages and calls can wait.

Finally, you may not be modest, but that doesn’t mean other people aren’t. Yes, it’s okay to be butt (or is it buck?) naked in the locker room – it’s a space for changing clothes, after all. But no, it’s not okay to strut around naked and make everyone else uncomfortable. We get it, you’re not shy and you’re proud of your body. Now cover it up.

On the Track

When you’re on the track, like in the pool, you need to be aware of other runners, and let the faster ones take the inside lanes. Head to the outer lanes if you’re walking or jogging.

If you’re running with a friend, decide whether this run or walk is going to be a gossip sesh or an intense workout. Talkers on the track should be un-intrusive and stay on the outside. And if you’re not addressing a friend or acquaintance, don’t try and converse with others during their workout.

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