Just after New Years, my normally quiet gym is suddenly so busy, I have to wait for the elliptical machine I like best, and then wait for a shower. I’ve always thought there should be some sort of new member orientation program, where the staff shows the newbie how to turn on the treadmill and Jacuzzi, and maybe shows a video on why it’s important to always wear flip-flops in the shower (athlete’s foot, ick!). I’ve never been to a gym that does an orientation, so I thought I’d do it myself. Here are my top ten rules of etiquette at the gym. Please, read these and remember them! You’ll thank me later…
1 Don’t Hog the Equipment!
There is one girl at my gym who uses one elliptical machine to exercise on, and the one next to it for her sweatshirt. She just hangs it there, oblivious to the four people waiting to use a machine. It’s rude to hog the equipment, and I have a feeling she just does it for the attention. Also, if you’re done using a piece of equipment, and are just standing there talking to awork-out friend, look around to see if anyone else is waiting. If they are, wipe it down and walk away! You can catch up on the gossip in the locker room!
2 Don’t Parade around in the Nude
Really, this ought to be rule number one! This is more for the guys out there who think it’s totally okay to parade around the locker room with a towel slung over their shoulders, but their naughty bits exposed for the world to see. Women are usually a little more modest, but I’ve heard dozens of stories of boy parts that are best left unseen. Please wear some boxers, a thong, a towel, something! None of the other guys care how big, or how small, your penis is!
3 Don’t Spit in the Water Fountain!
I can’t believe I even have to mention this, but here it is: do not spit your icky goobers into the water fountain! There is nothing more disgusting then bending over to get a drink of cool water and seeing someone else’s snot. Gross! If you have to spit, do it somewhere else.
4 Always Clean up
When you’re done using a piece of equipment, wipe it down. Most gyms provide a squirt bottle and paper towels or a container of wipes. Wipe down the hand grips, and if possible, the screen or buttons where you’ve been pressing on them. In the locker room, please wipe down whatever you use, and if the gym provides towels, make sure the ones you use end up in the laundry bin.
5 Wear Shower Shoes!
Never walk around the locker room in bare feet or you will absolutely end up with athlete’s foot (which by the way is a more common foot problemthan you think it is), and fast. Wear flip-flops in the shower, and don’t stand on any surface with bare feet, even for a moment. Even if your gym is the cleanest on the planet, there is no other way to avoid athlete’s foot except wearing footwear at all times. And if you have athlete’s foot, for heaven’s sake, don’t spread it by walking around barefoot!
6 Don’t Stare
Most people come to the gym for one reason: to work out and de-stress. It’s not a meat market, or a parade, so don’t stare. Also, I don’t care how large that woman’s butt is in front of you on the treadmill, or how disgusting that dude looks in those spandex shorts — it’s rude to stare, so stop it!
7 Be Patient
If the newbie on the elliptical or rowing machine is taking a long time, or doing it wrong, offer advice, but please be patient. They are trying to make a healthy change, and are brave enough to try something new. Don’t huff and puff, just wait your turn with patience and understanding. You were the newbie once!
8 Don’t Just Come to Hang out
The gym isn’t a coffee shop, park, or community center. It’s not a club or a bar. The people in there, staff and patrons, aren’t there for conversation or gossip. Yes it is a great place to meet menbut if you’re not going to work out, if you’re just there to socialize, then you may want to consider going somewhere else. If you’re not working out, just hanging on a machine and chatting with everyone who looks your way, you’re probably making someone mad, someone who’s been patiently waiting to actually USE that piece of equipment you’re using as a prop.
9 Hold It in!
This is another one the men are the most guilty of. You know when you’re feeling gassy, and you can usually tell when you’re about to crack one off. Please, please, don’t start running on the treadmill in front of me, or next to me, if you’re going to be asphyxiating me with your rotten stench! There’s one group of guys at my gym who like to compete to see who has the nastiest gas… boys will be boys I suppose, but please do it somewhere without innocent bystanders!
10 Wash Your Gear!
You may not realize it, but after one or two workouts, your gear desperately needs to be washed. Take home your towels, shoes, socks, shorts, and everything else in your locker or gym bag and give it a good washing at least once a week, more often if the people in the gym pass out when you walk by!
I’m sure there are at least a dozen other rules of gym etiquette, but those are the most important, at least to me. What are your pet peeves at the gym? What do you think new gym-goers ought to know? Please share with me! I’d love to hear your stories...
Top Photo Credit: SashaW
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