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How To Behave In The Gym

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Authored by Andy Chasse’ in Exercise
Published on 07-27-2009

Gym etiquette is a long lost ideal. Of course, so is etiquette in general. The days of waiting politely for a bench in use are gone – now we face the wrath of angry middle school kids hijacking our work area as we make a quick trip to the water fountain. On top of that, there’s the common macho man who doesn’t feel he should be required to clean up after himself because he has clearly marked his area with sweat and weights combined.

The above practices are appalling to say the least. With commercial gyms as packed as they are these days, the need to observe some level of gym etiquette is quickly rising. Believe it or not, no one is special. Each individual member of a gym is expected to follow the rules set forth by the management. These rules often require general courtesy to some extent.

Each and every gym member should possess the four traits listed below. These qualities encompass the idea of how to behave in the gym.

1) Cleanliness. Be sure to keep your area clear of stray plates, dumbbells, and barbells. Don’t leave something out for another member to trip over. This practice is neither safe, nor polite. In addition, remember that personal hygiene is extremely important in the gym setting. People are constantly changing stations and using areas that were previously occupied by another member. Rather than leave gallons of sweat covering the machine or bench, clean up after yourself. Carry a towel at all times and remember to actually use it. Wipe down everything you touch.

2) Organization. This ties into the above point of maintaining some level of cleanliness in your area. Keep your weights out of the way of others and don’t leave anything that could prove dangerous on the ground. When finished using the particular station, it is necessary to unload all of the weights and return them to their places on the rack. You should leave the station exactly as you found it. However, if it was dirty when you arrived, leave it cleaner than you found it!

3) Personal Courtesy. It is crucial to possess some level of courtesy and respect for your fellow lifters. Failure to do so often results in unnecessary conflict between members. This conflict may often involve the gym staff or management and that is something that nobody wants. Don’t be that guy that makes a scene because your squat rack was “stolen.” Act like a grown up and behave in the gym.

4) Patience. At peak hours, patience is clearly a virtue. Monday evenings are one of the worst times to make a trip up to the gym. Everyone feels bad about their eating and exercise habits over the weekend – and this means they are all at the gym attempting to make up for it. If you find yourself caught in the early week rush, just be patient. If you would like to bench press and there are no benches available, ask one of the lifters as politely as possible if you could work in with them. Many times the answer will be positive and the problem is solved. Don’t be afraid to ask.

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