January the time of renewed gym memberships and new resolutions to get fit. It's also th time that regular gym goers dread as their beloved church to fitness is swamped with newbies who don't know how to behave. So we've complied a simple guide to gentlemen's gym etiquette.
Read the rules at your gym!
This seems so obvious, but when you step into the gym, take a look around at any rules that are posted on the walls. They are there for a reason! And if you’re not sure about a rule, ask a staff member. Some things that are 100% perfectly fine for one gym may not be okay for another gym. Is chalk (for your hands on moves like deadlifts or pull-ups) allowed or not? Some facilities don’t want to have to clean up the mess, while others allow you to coat the place like a scene from Scarface. Are you allowed to drop weights? Some facilities in office buildings won’t allow this, as it makes a ton of noise for other work spaces. So be sure to check the general rules before slapping on your headphones and annoying everyone.
Wear Clean Workout Clothes
I know some people who will do a sweaty work out and then stuff their sweaty clothes in their gym bag and then let them sit there and marinate until their next workout. After a few rounds of this, the clothes are likely to smell to something akin to a dead cat. Gym shorts might be able to go for two workouts in a row, but shirts usually made from more absorbing materials and thus soaked up some armpit sweat should go straight from the gym into the wash.If you’re not sure this rule applies to you, this rule applies to you.
Use a Towel and Wipe Down the Equipment
Cleanliness should be a given when sharing equipment, but we’ve probably all seen the person who doesn’t use a towel and leaves a big salty puddle on the bench before they move on to do the same to another piece of equipment.
Don’t be that person!
Use a towel, bring one with you if you're unsure they aren't provided, and be sure to wipe down all surfaces your skin touches when you’re done with the equipment. Any gym should have wipes or a spray bottle with disinfectant at stations throughout the gym that you can use to spray and wipe down a piece of equipment.
Step Away from the Dumbbells
It's all too common a sight. Someone grabs a pair of dumbbells, then proceeds to stand directly in front of the whole rack and curl, shrug, or flap their arms up and down – like a swan protecting its eggs from predators.
95% of the time though, it’s curls. Whatever exercise you chose to do, please just get your dumbbells and take a step away so others can use the dumbbells too! I know some people want to use different weighted dumbbells back to back, but I swear you won’t lose your pump if you take an extra 10 seconds to walk the dumbbells back to the rack.
Check The Equipment Is Free
If you're approaching a squat rack, a bench, a lifting platform, or anything else that someone may be using, look for signs that another lifter may be in the area. Is there a towel laid out on it? (Usually a sign something is being used)
Are there other pieces of training equipment laying around, like a notebook, backpack, or weight belt? (Also a good sign something is still being used). While it's poor etiquette to reserve equipment for prolong amounts of time, it is commonly agreed that you can hold a piece in the manners above while visiting the toilet, getting a water refill etc.
Don’t Do Curls In The Squat Rack
This rule is comically universal. So well known it is an inside joke amongst gym regulars. The point of it that the squat rack should be used for squatting, overhead pressing, perhaps benching, and for doing all these other barbell exercises that are often hard or impossible to do elsewhere. If you’re curling (or doing anything else) in the squat rack that could easily be done elsewhere, then people WILL call you out on it. This goes for many exercises. If you can do that movement somewhere else, but you’re taking up the location of a place where only specific exercises can be done, you might be tarred and feathered by the natives.