Proper Gym Etiquette



You may be asking yourself, why a topic on proper gym etiquette? Well, in my opinion, this is a topic that has been overlooked for quite some time, or just simply taken for granted by most. Whether it’s a feeling of entitlement, or simply that the rules don’t apply to everyone equally.

Whatever the case may be, every commercial gym or fitness facility may have their own rules for their facility. Whether you are a member paying a base rate for a membership or a VIP paying client. Neither is more important than the other when it comes to rules and regulations of your facility.

I have put together a list of the most common but still very important rules to follow that, of course, may vary from club to club.

#1: Wipe Up After Yourself

A) wipe annoying sweat from your forehead, forearms, neck or anywhere else it tends to collect and

Our gyms have towels available at the front desk, as well as small rags and disinfectant spray available on or somewhere near all the exercise equipment. These towels are not there just in case you spill a big cup of soda, or need to teasingly towel-whip a workout buddy. They are there so that you can.

B) wipe up any nasty, stinky wet puddles that you leave on the exercise equipment or floor.

When you wipe up the sweat, you are expected to use disinfectant spray which is made readily accessible in the workout area.

#2: It’s OK to Spot and Be Spotted

Often, when lifting heavy weights, you or another exerciser may need a “spot,” which is assistance or a helpful hand when performing the exercise. If there are absolutely no personal trainers or gym employees available to help you, it is OK to ask someone else for the help provided that:

A) you are 100% confident that they have the physical capability to help you

B) you will politely understand if they say no

C) you do not have to interrupt their exercise routine to ask. In other words, if you are about to attempt a new personal record bench press, do not go tap a scrawny teenager on the shoulder as they are deeply involved in an exercise with their headphones attached.

Similarly, if someone asks you for help, it is fine to politely decline if:

A) you do not feel physically capable

B) you are busy with your own exercise routine

C) a personal trainer or gym employee is obviously available in the workout area.

#3: Give Others Space

Often, dumbbells, barbells and other pieces of equipment are on racks or shelves. For example, when you pick up a set of dumbbells from the rack; back away from the rack so that others may get their own equipment while you’re doing your exercise. Do not have your client or yourself perform exercises in the way of these storage areas.

This also applies to open floor space to perform exercises. There are designated walking paths that people can use instead of walking in-between machines or over people exercising in these designated places.

#4: Leave It How You Found It, Usually

If you are using weight machines or equipment that has weight stacks or special settings and you are not completely sure whether someone else was using the equipment or is in the process of using the equipment, then you must leave it how you found it. If nobody appears to be using it, it is fine for you to change the adjustments and to do your sets or your exercises, but once you are finished, leave it how you found it. That means that you should return the stack to its original weight, seat height to its original height, and make any other necessary adjustments unless you are 100% confident that nobody else is in the process of using the equipment.

If you notice someone else that has finished using a plate loaded machine or left equipment out, it’s acceptable to approach that person and ask if they are finished using that equipment. If their response is YES it’s also acceptable to ask them to please re-rack their weights or pick up after themselves. However, if a trainer is with a client then ask a co-worker to help out.

#5: Have Good Hygiene

Nobody likes to smell sulfurous cigarette residue, heavy body odor, or stinky farts while they’re exercising. Please shower or use deodorant prior to exercising in public areas. When it comes to gym etiquette, Pigpen is not a good role model.

#6: Clean Up After Yourself

You’ve already learned that you need to wipe up your sweat. You also need to be sure to remove hats, towels, sports drinks or any other clutter from equipment that you’re done using. You also need to pick up debris from the floor, crumbs, papers, wrappers etc.

#7: Don’t Monopolize Equipment

If you are using a piece of equipment or a weight machine and set up a circuit of equipment and you need to briefly go mix in a set on one other piece of equipment, it is OK to leave a towel or clipboard as a sign that you are temporarily reserving that piece of equipment. However, if:

A) Someone is obviously waiting to use the equipment or

B) You plan on being gone longer than just a couple minutes, then do not reserve or attempt to monopolize it

You’ll simply need to share and let someone else “work in a set” along with you, which means you’ll also need to wipe down that piece of equipment after each set that you do. In the same manner, if you want to use a piece of equipment that someone appears to be using for an unreasonably long period of time, simply politely ask whether you can work in or share that area with them. If they say no, then trust me, it’s not worth the fight; although you can, if you really want to, approach your personal trainer manager to voice your complaint.

#8: Read the Clothing Rules or Ask

Guys, in most cases, nobody really wants to see your nipples or copious amounts of chest and back hair during the workout. And ladies, unless you are thoroughly confident that nobody at the gym will complain about your butt hanging out of your gym shorts, then wear something that keeps body parts relatively contained.

– wear a shirt – wear closed-toe shoes – don’t wear jeans (they can destroy the vinyl on the equipment)

In most cases, it’s best to err on the safe side and not wear clothing that you suspect may offend or nauseate others.

#9: Don’t Try To Solve Conflicts Yourself

If any of these rules that I’ve mentioned appear to be being broken, or you have a bone to pick with another gym goer, then do not attempt to resolve the conflict yourself. In almost every case, the appropriate step to take is to locate a personal trainer or gym employee and use their services to mediate the situation. People can get aggressive, grumpy, and downright mean when they’re exercising.

My name is John LoDrago and I have been a certified personal trainer, fitness and nutrition coach for over 25 years. I hold many certifications and have created a number of team training group programs, such as Little Champs Core Camp summer program. I was the owner and operator of a nutrition and retail café called Re-Fuel, “Nutrition that Drives You” for over 10 years, and have competed as a natural bodybuilder, winning the 2001 NYS Masters overall championship. I write customized menu plans for sports performance athletes, and stage competitors, and was a regular guest speaker on the radio talk show Forever Healthy in Syracuse, New York. A little over seven years ago my family and I made the move to Clermont, Florida where I started working for Fitness CF, formerly Gold’s Gym. While in Florida I have been involved in helping build a team of trainers at the Mount Dora location and have had the pleasure of working with some of the most knowledgeable and amazing people in the industry. My goal in life is to pass on the knowledge I have learned to those who seek a healthier way of living and to always remember that life will take on purpose only when you bring purpose to others.

I am currently The Senior trainer at Fitness CF of Clermont FL. And hold certifications by the National Sports Conditioning Association, N.S.C.A. C.P.T., CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach, PN Lv.1 Nutrition Coach, Neurokinetic Therapy, A.F.A.A. P.T./ Fitness Counselor and Resistance Trainer, APEX Nutrition Certified, Power Plate Lv.1, and Golf Academy, PiYo, Silver Sneakers M.S.R.O.M. Less Mills Grit Coach, Total Gym Gravity Coach.

If you have a question and/or topic you would like me to discuss please e-mail me at [email protected]

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