Gym Etiquette 101

Like us, most of you see the gym is a place to escape the stress, and for just an hour or so find a bit of physical and mental healing. Whether that is through throwing around heavy weights, or soul-crushing cardio, it is important to have that time. No question about it.

Now, every once in awhile, it is important to take a step back and make sure that you aren’t being THAT client. The client who perhaps unintentionally ruins a little bit of that one hour of happiness in the gym for somebody else. Don’t get us wrong, we know sometimes things are forgotten, there are situations outside your control, or you’re in a hurry to get to work or to get home after a long day and are just not thinking clearly. However, it’s always good to have a little reminder to keep the peace in the gym. Many of these are common sense, or general safety precautions, but for the most part, it’s a whole lot of respect for others and for the equipment at the gym.
So we have outlined our top 7 Gym etiquette rules in hopes that we can all workout peacefully and happily at the gym together.

Put your equipment away
You would think this would be one of those common sense things. If you use it, put it back where you found it. This goes for barbells, plates, resistance bands, KBs, DBs, jump ropes, etc. As a general rule, if you took it out, put it back where you found it when you are done. Obviously there are times when your coach might say leave it out – in which case, you don’t need to battle each other to see who will put it away. Just know that if you use something and do not put it away, it does not magically transport itself back to where it should be stored, somebody else is picking up after your workout. Of course as your coaches, we will do this if things are left out, but we are all adults and part of the responsibility of the gym is to put your equipment away when you are finished with it.

Wipe up your sweaty mess
This is one of the least-followed rules of the gym. So picture this…you just finished a workout, and are all sweaty, and feeling fantastic. You wipe your off your face, give your coach a high-five for being a total badass during that workout, and head out of the gym to get to work. HOLD UP. Think about this for a second. What exercise were you doing? Using a bench? Wall ball? Box? Rower? If you are that sweaty, isn’t there a slight chance your sweat is all over everything? Well, it is. And it’s pretty gross. Butt sweat, head sweat, back sweat…just sweat everywhere. This is one of those basic hygiene concepts that should really not be ignored. What if you went to bench press and you put your head down into a pool of someone else’s head sweat?? I’m cringing just typing this. If you need help finding a cloth to wipe it down with – just ask your coach. Nothing would make us happier than to have more people asking us how to wipe their own sweat off the equipment. So if you have a couple minutes after class – please please please don’t make us wipe up your butt sweat.

Show up early
I know this one is a little tricky. Sometimes you are coming right from work and are sprinting just to make it 2 minutes late. Here’s the thing. You all work so hard in the gym. We want you to make progress and get stronger. Part of that is to have healthy bodies to get those big numbers on the bar. Arriving a few minutes early will allow you to take down the workout, and figure out your lift percentages before class gets started. Time to foam roll, or work out that knot in your back, or do a little extra mobility before the warm-up starts. Showing up late to class means that you are missing some of the warm-up, then starting your lifts late because you haven’t had time to figure your your lift percentages, then you’re playing catch up! We know traffic is a monster in Boston during rush hour, so this is one of those “do your best” things.

Do not cross in front of another lifter mid lift

blogpicWhile we sometimes cannot help but cross in front of someone’s path (or try to sneak behind them – this is equally distracting), it is something to be aware of.  This is not just out of respect for the lifter, as distractions like someone crossing their field of vision can completely throw off their focus and their lift, but it is also a matter of safety for both you and the lifter.  The general rule is…while someone is lifting -especially an Olympic Lift or going for a lift that is heavy for them, just wait.  Wait off to the side, cheer them on if they need it (and if they want it), and just wait.  Once the lift is done, and the bar is on the ground or re-racked, you may walk.

If you have ever seen someone bail a lift you know that that bar is going where the bar wants to go. The lifter will not compromise their physical well-being by trying to control the bar on it’s way down to protect you if you are walking too close to them. You will get hit with the bar and it will be your fault. So please. For your safety, and the lifter’s sanity, please. PATIENCE. JUST WAIT.

Be mindful of your surroundings
Spatial awareness. Are you jumping rope right in front of the door when the circuit involves running? Are you standing staring into space right behind someone trying to squat? Are you looking around you as you go from station to station in a circuit so you don’t LITERALLY run someone over? I think we all at one point have encountered this. Just be mindful of where other people are, where you are, and we can all get through class without swinging a KB into someone’s face.

Respect the equipment
With the exception of barbells with bumper plates on it, nothing should be dropped to the ground. Ever – unless you risk your safety by trying to control it to the floor. This goes for dumbbells, KBs, barbells (empty without any plates on it), etc. While the equipment can withstand a lot of wear and tear, and looks durable, everything has it’s breaking point (literally). This point also ties into the first one regarding putting equipment away. When things are returned to their rightful place, they typically stay in better shape.

Talk to your coaches
True story: A new client came into class a couple years ago, and didn’t say that she had any medical issues or recent injuries. When I asked her to confirm, she said no. The scheduled lift for the day was Deadlifts. After a couple sets, she grabbed her back and was complaining of back pain. I was a bit confused as the weight was not heavy at all. Turns out, she had multiple herniated discs and has had back pain for the past 6 months. I asked why she didn’t tell me – she said she didn’t want to trouble me. WHAT????? If I had known that, I would not have had her deadlift. Never saw her again after that.
We want to know what’s going on with you. Yes, in your lives, but more importantly, your physical state. Is something sore or hurting? Did you roll your ankle, do you have a stiff neck, have minor surgery, were on an airplane for 18 hours the day before and are feeling a bit dehydrated and tight, had blood taken, feeling dizzy. You get the idea. Whatever it is – we will modify exercises if we need to, and we want to be aware of how you are feeling. We should be able to both decide if an exercise is appropriate for you to be doing if you are working through any type of injury. Always better to tell us than try to push through something that you THINK will be fine but is not at all and then you have to take a couple weeks off. Your coaches are pretty great at reading you and knowing when something is off, but just talk to us. It’s easier that way.

This post is on the longer side, but each one of these contributes to overall success of your workout, and the success of the gym. SO, read them, and remember them, and please try not to be THAT client.

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