1. Pay attention to other gym-goers
Social awareness is a fundamental aspect when attending a gym or fitness club. When entering the locker room, say hello to fellow gym-goers and be mindful of their presence. Avoid occupying the entire bench with your belongings and make an effort to leave ample space for others to change comfortably. If you carry your gym bag with you, put it away to make sure you don’t inconvenience other gym users.
2. Take good care of your hygiene
Some might be surprised that such self-evident things even need to be mentioned. However, if you go to the gym regularly, it’s fairly likely that you’ve come across someone with a strong body odor preventing you from having an enjoyable and effective workout experience. Consequently, in addition to wearing deodorant, make sure that your clothes are washed and fresh. When it comes to odor issues, there’s nothing more unpleasant than working out in clothes that were already soaked in sweat and then left in your gym bag. After your workout, always empty your bag and chuck your clothes straight into the laundry basket.
3. Change your footwear
The prospect of not having to carry shoes in your gym bag can be tempting, especially in the warm, dry months. However, changing footwear after getting to the gym is a good practice to make a habit of. The shoes you normally wear for walking or working out outdoors often have bits of dirt, sand or even small pebbles stuck in the soles. If you don’t change into dedicated footwear before entering the gym area, you leave all this dirt and grime on the floor. As a result, other gym-goers who want to perform their exercises on the floor, need to find a clean spot, and the cleaning staff have considerably more work to do. Consequently, it’s a good idea to keep at least one pair of shoes exclusively for indoor use and wear them during your fitness workouts.
4. Tidy up after yourself
A few years ago, a popular quip among gym staff was “If you can’t put away the weights, ask the girls at the reception desk for help.” Time goes by, but the problem with putting away weights still persists. Whatever gym equipment you use, if you have the strength to do a set with a certain weight, you should be able to put it away after you’re done with it. Leave the workout area as you'd like it to be when you enter the gym.
5. Use a towel
Using a towel is a very good practice to adopt by gym and fitness club users. The main use of a towel is to place it on the gym equipment or exercise mat before you start your workout routine. In this way, you protect your skin from direct contact with the equipment used by other gym-goers and you don’t leave behind a sweaty stain. In addition, you slow down the wear and tear of gym machines, improving the comfort of all users. However, make sure not to wipe sweat off your body or face with the towel you put on the machines, mats or the floor during your workout. For this purpose, we advise disposable paper towels, which are readily available in all fitness clubs. This is the most hygienic option for the skin.
If you plan to take a shower at the gym after your workout, take two towels with you – one for your training and one for the shower. If you don’t have a towel for your workout or you can’t use one because of the exercise you’re doing, make sure to disinfect the machine or mat after use. Use a disinfectant and paper towel available at the gym.
6. Keep it quiet
Many a story have been told about gym grunting and panting, but the truth is that most gym-goers see it as an annoyance. Even the biggest personal bests lose some of their appeal if the record breaker shouts at the top of their lungs during the attempt, instantly drawing the attention of everyone nearby.
Proper breathing during exercise is important, and the rule of thumb is to exhale during the greatest effort (e.g. when performing a squat, exhale while standing up and inhale in the lower portion of the squat). While some people believe that groaning, grunting or screaming helps with lifting weights, remember that you typically don’t have the gym all to yourself. Try to avoid making excessive noise and stick to controlled exhaling instead.
7. No weight slamming
One of the common undesirable gym behaviors is slamming the weights on the floor. Of course, when your health is at risk, you should drop the weight for your own safety. But before you do this, make sure that the barbell or dumbbells don’t hit anyone in the immediate vicinity. However, at the gym, it is common to see heavy weights being dropped... for no reason whatsoever.
The noise of a heavy barbell being slammed to the floor may grab someone’s attention, but in most cases, it will leave a negative impression. Also, bear in mind that after a lot of weight slamming the gym staff will have to close the training area for floor maintenance.
Whenever you have the chance to put the weight down safely and in a controlled way, do so. As for heavy exercises, such as deadlifts, you can do them on a dedicated platform. This is bound to make a far better impression than banging the weights on the floor.
8. Learn to share
Fitness clubs, particularly during peak hours, can be quite crowded, resulting in reduced availability of machines, weights, and workout equipment. Everyone wants to have a smooth and uninterrupted training. Keep this in mind when somebody asks if they could take turns using a piece of gym equipment, and always try to share training machines with other users.
This is especially true for those who take extended breaks between sets to use their phones without getting off the exercise equipment. The same rule applies to circuit training. If your workout regime requires booking several exercise stations at the same time, it's definitely a better idea to do it during less busy gym hours.
9. Make life easier for gym staff
Have you spilled your drink on the floor? Is the lock in the locker room broken? Is the gym equipment you use out of order? Report it to a staff member! Issues don’t get resolved unless you tell someone that something needs fixing. Among other tasks, receptionists, trainers, and cleaning staff are responsible for handling reported problems. If you draw their attention to issues, no one will accuse you of vandalizing property. In fact, you’ll probably hear ‘thank you’ for your quick response!
10. Help out
While in the gym, other fitness enthusiasts may ask you for help, for example about how to use a piece of equipment. Help them out if you can. And if you can’t, get them to ask the gym staff. In your fitness club, you can also come across people for whom working out is an opportunity to engage in interpersonal contacts and make friends. Such people are usually quite sociable, so if you’re not in the mood for chatting on a particular day, a good strategy is to put on your headphones and exercise to the beat of your favorite music.
By consistently following these unwritten rules of using sports facilities, you’ll greatly improve your gym or fitness club experience, making your workout enjoyable for you, other gym users, and the staff. And who knows, if you have a good chemistry with a fellow gym-goer, your friendship might extend beyond the time spent working out together. Best of luck!