One of the worst parts about heading to the gym can be interacting with the other exercisers in the room. It’s bad enough to deal with your own B.O. and sweat, but dealing with strangers’ bodily odors and bad habits is enough to make you want to stay home altogether.
Although there’s no right or wrong way to get active, there are improper ways to behave when sharing a workout space with other people. For instance, leaving your sweaty towel hanging on equipment you’re not using? Or not wearing deodorant, then running next to someone on the treadmill? Totally not cool.
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Although many of these points seem a bit obvious to most of us, it appears some people still need a reminder when it comes to proper gym etiquette. Here are the top 12 things you should never do when working out in public and sharing gym equipment.
1. Never Forget to Wipe Down Your Machine
There’s nothing worse than arriving at the gym, fresh and ready to begin your workout, only to find that the equipment you want to use is covered in a fine sheen of a stranger’s sweat. Researchers have found that gyms can be a perfect breeding ground for germs, especially during the winter with colds and the flu are circulating all around us.
Don’t just clean the machines you use because they’re gross to touch; clean them out of respect for the health and wellbeing of other exercisers around you. After all, you should hope that others are paying you the same respect.
2. Don’t Overestimate the Importance of Personal Hygiene
You might think to yourself, “I’m only going to the gym. What’s the point in putting on deodorant or wearing clean clothes?” Well, the issue isn’t your own personal comfort; it’s the comfort of others. No one wants to get stuck running next to someone who smells like they haven’t showered in days, and since you’re already going to get sweatier while working out, it’s smart to start your trip to the gym without funky smells accompanying you.
3. Stop Trying to Chat With People Who Want to Be Left Alone
Rom-coms and TV shows might make the gym seem like a great place to foster new friendships and romance, but in reality, most people just want to work out in peace. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be kind and conversational at points, but if someone has their headphones in and doesn’t seem to be open to chit-chat, don’t force it on them.
4. Quit Leaving Your Weights and Accessories Scattered Across the Gym
Feeling too tired to lug your weights back to the rack after doing your reps? Too bad. Don’t let your exhaustion make things more difficult for other people who come looking for the accessories you’ve been using. Not only is it rude to leave things out of place, but it’s also rather lazy. Use the clean-up period as a chance to get those last reps in and make your workout really count.
5. Don’t Wear Clothing That Makes Other People Uncomfortable
Although skimpier, skin-tight clothing is more acceptable in the gym than it is in most other environments, there are still limitations on what an appropriate workout wardrobe should look like. Keep your private places covered and locked in place so that nothing unseemingly slips out while you’re moving around.
6. Nix Bad Habits Like Spitting, Swearing, or Even Humming
This point seems relatively self-explanatory, and yet so many people still seem to miss the point. You wouldn’t start singing in a library or hock a loogie in a store, so don’t assume that those behaviors are acceptable in the gym, either. Make the space as comfortable as possible for others around you by monitoring your own behavior.
7. Stop Playing Your Music for Everyone to Hear
Headphones were invented for a reason. Not everyone wants to listen to hardcore rap or death metal while working out, so respect other people’s tastes and keep your tunes confined to your headphones.
8. Stop Getting in Other People’s Personal Space
Yes, that person knows you’re waiting to use their machine. You don’t need to hover over their back to let them know you’re next in line. Similarly, if you’re using weights or stretching, try to find a spot that doesn’t encroach on someone else’s setup
9. Never Use The Gym Locker Room as Your Personal Grooming Space
While we’re totally supportive of people who shower and change in the shared locker room, don’t make others feel weird by conducting all of your personal habits in front of the mirror. Tweezing, flossing, shaving, and other more intimate practices should be done in your own bathroom, not in front of other strangers.
10. Quit Tossing Weights Around to Flaunt Your Strength
Trust us when we say that no one is impressed when someone drops heavy weights abruptly, causing a startling noise. Distractions like that can be a hindrance to others, and for people who are new to the gym, the experience can be nerve-wracking. Just place the weights down quietly without attracting unnecessary attention.
11. Don’t Endanger Others With Your Crazy Antics
Whether you’re practicing jumps on the treadmill or lifting weights that are a bit too heavy for your current abilities, keep in mind that you’re not just risking your own health; you could be endangering others around you.
12. Don’t Assume That You Can Mark Your Spot0comments
Plopping your gym bag or water bottle down on a machine doesn’t save you a seat. You’re practically asking people to touch your stuff if you’re not with it, so stick everything in a locker and wait your turn for equipment like everyone else.
By just paying attention to these simple, straightforward tips, everyone can have a more enjoyable time at the gym. If others don’t seem to understand proper etiquette, try leading by example before you cancel your gym membership in annoyance. Sometimes people just need a good role model to pave the way.