GYM Etiquette

1. Attend an Induction

We Require you to attend induction before you are allowed to use our equipment and facilities, however some may let you skip this induction but we advise you to always attend one. You can always check out DS Fitness Centre checklist if you’re unsure of what to bring with you!

You might think you know how a gym works, but there are so many machines that could take you by surprise when you try to use them by yourself, even something simple like the leg press. Different branded machines operate in different ways, so you may even encounter issues with some of the most popular machines in the gym.

2. Gym Clothing Etiquette

First off as a rule of thumb, make sure to dress appropriately. This might seem quite basic, however a lot of people make the mistake of wearing clothes to impress rather than those that are comfortable. You should always be in comfortable clothes when working out, as it makes exercising smoother and you do not want to restrict yourself from doing any exercises.

We expand on footwear later on within the article, but flip flops in the weights room is not only bad gym etiquette, it’s dangerous. It’s a major health and safety hazard and unless you want to break a few toes, so it’s wise to wear cushioned sneakers to the gym.

3. Practising Good Hygiene

Tying this into the dress appropriately section, being clean is a must! Nothing is worse than people who stink out the gym, so make sure that you are clean prior to entering the venue and that you are using antiperspirant, as we all know it can get sweaty.

Also, make sure that you are using the anti-bacterial sprays provided in the gym to clean the equipment after use. This is essential for obvious reasons.

The spray bottles and paper towels provided at gyms are intended to keep you healthy, not to keep the cardio machines shiny. Before and after using a machine, disinfect the places that will be — or were — in contact with your body, such as elliptical handlebars or the bike seat.

That being said, if you don’t want to be spreading or catching any germs, be sure to wipe down the machines!

4. Make Yourself Aware of the Rules in your Gym!

These are normally in your contract or found online on the website, but if not, they most definitely will be posted all around your gym. Make sure to take time to read them!

They might seem boring or ‘over the top’ but most of the time these rules are there to keep gym goers and the workers safe.

Examples of gym rules include:

  • Food and drink is not  allowed to be consumed in the premises
  • Phones are prohibited whilst training!
  • No barefoot workouts? We require closed toe athletic shoes to be worn unless in situations such as Pilates classes.
5. Always warm up!

This is our own addition to these gym rules, but it’s more of a rule of thumb (and not technically set in stone by gyms themselves).

You should always make sure to warm up in the gym, as skipping this could be detrimental to your workout as it allows you to engage in intense exercises by gradually increasing the heart rate and circulation; allowing a quick blood flow to the muscles.

Performing a warm-up prior to performance significantly reduced the injury risk.

This is because stretching the muscles prepares them for more intense physical activity and helps in fighting against workout acquired injuries to your muscles, tendons and ligaments.

5. Use a towel!

You should always bring a towel with you. No one likes a sweaty puddle left on a machine or sweat marks on handles after a workout. Let’s be honest; we all sweat, but as long as you have a towel to wipe up after you it’s not a problem.

Clean up after yourself (and, if you have to, other patrons).
Related to the previous point, if you still manage to sweat through your towel or for some other reason leave sweat on a piece of equipment, grab some paper towel and disinfectant spray (hopefully your gym has some around — if not, hassle them about it) to do your fellow gym-goers a solid. And if you happen to approach a bench of piece of equipment that has some gross droplets of on it already, it won’t kill you to wipe them up yourself. (Though, shame on that other gym rat for being so disgusting.)

6. Be A Helping Hand

No one hates more than unsolicited advice in the gym, however some people are genuinely trying to help you out if they think you are struggling. If someone offers up valuable advice, then accept it, as no one would approach you if they didn’t know what they are talking about.

At the same time, if you ever find yourself in the position where you can offer someone valuable advice, you should give a helping hand. Again, only do this if you are trying to help, not in an ego-boosting way.

7. Wash Your Hands!

Sneezing into your hands and then proceeding to workout without washing/sanitising them is not acceptable!

We have a selection of hand sanitizing stations scattered around the gym, but it’s even better to bring your own. You wouldn’t want to pick up a dumbbell knowing that someone has just sneezed into their hands and trained with it… it’s unsanitary and downright gross.

8. Proper Cell Phone Gym Etiquette

It’s an unspoken rule , the gym is meant to be an anti-phone space. Essentially, you should not be using your phone for anything other than listening to music or to aid your workout. Otherwise, you could be breaking proper cell phone gym etiquette.

There is nothing worse than people sitting on equipment and scrolling through their socials or texting, especially if they’re taking up a popular piece of gym equipment. You’re at the gym to achieve something, and doing anything other than that is plain right rude to those waiting to use the equipment.

Selfies: Try to be discreet about them.
Look, we know you want to take them and you should be able to. If nothing else, they’re a good way to track your progress. But there are limits. Keep it to the change rooms or on less busy days when you’re not getting in the way of other patrons. The general rule of thumb here is: do what you want — just don’t infringe on anyone else’s gym experience.

9. Territory Claiming

This is a thing that is rife in the gym. The gym is not your personal workout studio, and leaving your towel or other items or benches and other equipment is bad gym etiquette.

Remember; this is not Benidorm at 8am and you’re not claiming your sun lounger for the day, so allow people to use equipment in between your rests even if you are only going to fill your water up or use the bathroom.

Additionally, claiming multiple pieces of equipment to facilitate your circuits or superset is unacceptable at times when the gym is busy with other members.

Always ask.
If someone is using a machine or piece of equipment and you need something nearby, ask if you can. Don’t walk up and grab a weight plate from the rack when someone is squatting. Besides being extremely rude, it can be dangerous: you might knock the person squatting or bench pressing while they’re under a heavy weight, which could be disastrous.

10. Give People Space

It is so off-putting for people if they are on a treadmill and the whole row is empty, only for a person to decide to workout on the free one right next to them. Unless they are your gym buddies then give people their own space.

Be mindful of your surroundings.
Gyms can be dangerous places if you’re not alert. On busy times of day in particular, you have to be super-mindful of the other patrons; don’t start doing dumbbell kickbacks without checking behind you, for example. Also, sometimes gyms have machines with their plate-loaded arms swinging out into a thoroughfare and if you’re not looking where you’re going, you might be in for a headache.
If you want to be a real champion, look out for your fellow gym-goers and help them out if you see them struggling; maybe offer to spot them.

Weights Room Etiquette

11. Hogging Equipment

This is for those who need to be told it’s not okay to stay on the same machine for over half an hour. Of course, if the gym is empty this can be okay, but if you use popular equipment during peak times, expect to use it briefly. There are normally set times for how long you can occupy machinery, so take note and adhere to this!

A given sign of you overstaying your welcome is piercing eyes aimed in your direction, or several people hovering nearby. If you see this and you have been on the machine for a while then this is your cue to get off or at least share in between rest gaps.

Keep the equipment where it belongs.
Have you ever walked into the weights area of a gym only to see a sit-up bench blocking the dumbbells? That’s a big no no. To wit: Don’t drag a bench onto another area  Don’t leave weights boxes in the smith machine. Don’t try to dead lift in front of the dumbbell racks. Don’t try to do any weightlifting movements anywhere except the dead lift mats or another designated area.

12. Put Your Weights Back.

The biggest bane of any gym goer’s life is going to a machine and finding several loads of weights left on it, as it takes time out of their workout to return these and load up with their own.Not only is it impolite, but some people may not physically be able to move your weights off the equipment if it’s an insane KG, and this is unfair. Again, the gym is not your home, so don’t treat it this way!

This is probably the most broken rule in the gym, and one of the most important rules to take note of considering the fact that proper gym etiquette is to always leave the place as you found it.

This should go without saying but it’s the number one rule broken in the gym. For extra points, if you found a weight somewhere it shouldn’t have been, put it back where itshould have been. Related to this, don’t leave your weights on the ground. Again, it’s rude as well as dangerous — ever tripped on a lazy 50 kilo dumbbell lying in the middle of the floor? — and makes you look like a giant tool. If you can pick it up, you can put it back.
Similarly, don’t leave machines loaded up with hundreds of kilos of weight. So you can leg press 500 kg? Great! Don’t leave it on the machine so that someone weighing one tenth of that has to unrack it just because you’re inconsiderate.

13. Nesting

This goes hand in hand with the point on hogging equipment. Accumulating a tiny pile of weights and dumbbells around you like a bird’s nest can cause a hazard for people trying to get around you, or can cause confusion when people try to locate a certain weight of dumbbell and they are scattered across the gym like an easter egg hunt.

14. Partner Up

If you’re planning on lifting heavy you should always have a spotter just incase something manages to go wrong. We know not everyone has a gym partner but if you see someone who looks approachable at the gym, ask them to spot, or even better, offer to spot for them. We’re sure they would then feel inclined to return the favour.

15. Stop with the Excessive Noises

We recognise that sometimes you can’t help a little noise and it is normally allowed in gyms to let a little noise out sometimes, but letting out screams and loud grunts in a communal gym is a no go, and some gyms even have anti-noise policies.

The gym itself can be too much too handle with the clanks and noises of machines, so you shouldn’t be adding to it with unnecessary sounds as it can become very distracting to other people working out.

Avoid the chitchat.
The gym is a place of solace for many people and, although it can be a great social setting, try to keep the gossip to a minimum. If you run into a gym mate or someone you know, don’t stand around chin wagging all through someone else’s session.
And, of course, if someone is wearing headphones, it probably means they don’t want to be disturbed.

16. Hovering

Nothing is worse than someone who has been eyeing up your equipment when you’ve just jumped on it, or keeps staring over as you are about to finish. It’s okay to come up and ask instead of glaring over, but it’s not a good look to circle around like a vulture, and it’s better to just ask and then sit and wait or come back over.

17. Show up on time

The number one rule when it comes to gym class etiquette is to be on time! There is nothing more disruptive to the class than latecomers.

18. Don’t show up without booking in

In addition to our number one rule is the number one pet peeve for class trainers. This is people not booking onto classes and just showing up regardless.

The system is in place to accommodate for a certain amount of spaces, not only to ensure that there is a fair amount of people for the room. It also shows the popularity of the classes.

For instance, if a fight class keeps filling up quickly then a gym will add more classes. If people turn up and make the class overbooked, people will be turned down who have actually booked onto the class.

19. Put Equipment on the floor at the front at the end of the class

It is not in the instructor’s job description to tidy away after people in their classes. You are not a child and you’re expected to clean up after yourself. Simple gym etiquette rule; if you’ve grabbed the equipment you can put it back. So we can sanitise it, so it’s safe to use n teh next class

This only does not apply if the instructor has asked for equipment to be left for the next class, in which they have normally set up the classroom themselves.

20. Don’t Be Afraid To Stand At The Front

The front can be daunting if you are a beginner at the class, however the front is usually the best place to learn. Being so close to the instructor means you can see and hear instructions for the exercises more clearly. If you are struggling with some of the exercises, then chances are the instructor is going to come over and help you to correct your form, meaning you’ll gain the most from the class.

21. Give People Space

Always a staple in class etiquette, give people room to move. Not only is it polite, it’s to be expected.

For people to be able to fully participate in the class, they might be holding back from executing certain exercises just because they might bump or hit into you. Believe us, even if you are always polite when being bumped into, there’s nothing more aggravating when it’s down to the person next to you for standing too close. Even if the class is full to capacity there is still a structure for everyone to have an adequate amount of space.

In the end, all these boil down to the same concept ‘be considerate of other people’. If we could all do that, the gym would be a much friendlier — not to mention tidier — place to visit.

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