Every gym is home to a colorful cast of characters. Some are inspirations, many are there just to get the work done, and then there are a few who make you cringe every time they scuttle out onto the gym floor.
What makes these guys so unpleasant is their complete lack of gym etiquette, which renders them a nuisance, or even a danger to themselves and others. If you think you might be one of these folks, here are some basic rules you can follow to avoid the most obnoxious gym habits.
Share. Don’t treat the gym like your own personal property. Remember that you share the equipment, the locker room, juice bar, even the parking lot with every other paying customer. Stop hoarding the weights as if they belong to you exclusively. If you’re on the phone, surrender the machine you’re working on to someone else who is waiting.
Keep it clean. Return dumbbells, barbells, and other equipment to their proper places when you’re done using them. Wipe down benches and machines after your sets. Don’t spit in the drinking fountains. Toss trash and recyclables into the proper receptacles.
Keep in mind that the locker room is a public space and not your home bathroom. Sweating is healthy and natural, but make sure your gym clothes are freshly laundered before each workout. Courtesy is something you teach by your example, and it is contagious.
Hold the pointers. Refrain from giving unsolicited advice. Even if you’ve got the best intentions, a know-it-all busybody is an annoyance to other members. Most gyms employ certified trainers who are there to assist clients who want expert advice and supervision.
Unless someone asks you for friendly pointers — or you see somebody in imminent danger of hurting themselves or others — you’re better off attending to your own workouts. Chances are your own routine could use a little tweaking and a few adjustments.
Limit the jaw workouts. Stop talking so much and get down to work. The gym is full of Chatty Cathys. They chatter on the treadmill, they engage the instructor during spinning, and they’re not even quiet in yoga class.
Too much talking can lower the intensity of a workout by pulling focus. Excessive yakking can even be dangerous if lack of attention leads to injuries caused by poor form. Socializing is fantastic, and you want to catch up with your buddies at the gym, but save the bulk of the chitchat for in between exercises or after your workout.
Pipe down. Drop the sound effects. By far the most annoying character in the gym (for me) is the boor who’s constantly grunting and yelling, either by himself or with others. While a little groaning, huffing, and puffing is just a part of the weight training process, excessive noise and yelling is just a bad–boy cry for attention. Be more considerate of your fellow gymgoers who would definitely prefer you keep the Neanderthal sound effects to a minimum.