Gym Etiquette 101

Now that we’re back to school and into the swing of things, it’s time for the most important intro class: Gym Etiquette 101. Plenty of people go to the gym to get a good sweat, improve their fitness and relieve stress. The worst thing that can happen on a trip to the gym is leaving and feeling frustrated because of something that happened during your workout — whether it was a frat boy who wouldn’t get off the machine you wanted or an unsanitary yoga mat experience. To help avoid problems like these and more, here are the most important gym etiquette tips you should keep in mind the next time you visit.

  1. 1. Self-Awareness

    Please, especially if you’re male-identifying. That person lurking around near the machine you’ve been camped out on for the last fifty minutes isn’t into you — they just want to get their reps in. Ask them if they'd like to work in with you, because sometimes it can be nerve-wracking for her to approach you and ask outrightly. It’s rude to park yourself on the only Smith machine on campus; the other person may only have an hour to finish their workout, and now they have to skip certain exercises in their plan because you find your phone more interesting than your workout. Peter, a Weinberg freshman, echoed this frustration. When asked about his biggest gym pet peeve, he replied, “Sitting on the machines and not using them. People sit there and sort out music or something.” In between sets or when adjusting your playlist, kindly step off to the side of the machine so others can take advantage of it.

  2. 2. Sanitation

    Most establishments (including SPAC) supply wipes throughout the gym. You, as a visitor at the gym, are expected to clean your machine after you are finished using it. (That is what those little metal stands with wipes poking out the top are for! Convenient, right?) Locate the stands near you and put them to good use. Gyms are a petri dish of germs — no one wants to get sick!

  3. 3. Personal Space

    Dori, a Weinberg freshman, said it best: “My biggest pet peeve at the gym is when people take up too much space. You don’t need to spread out into my personal space. You’re sweaty, and I don’t like you.” Pay attention to where your space ends and someone else’s begins. Enough said.

  4. 4. Locker Room Privacy

     “I’ll tell you what really bothers me. When I go in to change and people are FaceTiming while sitting on those benches. It makes me very uncomfortable,” said Coni, a 51-year-old community member. The locker room is a place for people to change and shower; it’s important to be mindful of where you are. Additionally, you will get kicked out of some gyms for using your camera function, so there’s that.

It takes the community’s collective and sustained awareness of these common gym etiquette guidelines to ensure that the gym is a place where everyone can feel empowered to do what they need to do and finish feeling better than when they showed up. There should be no circumstance that prevents or discourages someone from using the gym. We all play a part in making the gym a place where everyone feels comfortable to pursue their fitness goals.

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