The Gym 101: P9: Gym Rules
New to a gym? Or maybe you are getting a lot of shade at the gym and you don’t know why. Either way, read through this list to make sure you are getting the most out of the gym experience and to make sure that the gym isn’t stuck with a sloppy creep for a member.
Perverts and Haters Prohibited
All kinds of bodies frequent the gym. Keep your eyes and your judgment under control.
While it is totally normal to take a few extra glances at someone bodacious doing squats, don’t linger. This creates an air of distrust at the gym. And if you see a slightly bigger bodies struggling on the beginning of their fitness journey, don’t mock or giggle. People come here to feel safe and be a better version of themselves. Respect the gym and respect others.
Claim Your Space
You are here and you have a right to be here – own it. This advice is especially directed towards women.
If you are using a machine or working in a particular area, claim your space. Put down your water bottle and towel, shoo people away who are working on top of you and get your business done. Don’t be so “nice” that you end up working in a dirty corner with mismatching weights and no equipment. Use this place to get STRONGER, not get stepped on more.
Respect Everyone's Space
If someone is working in a space, don’t walk through it or take equipment without asking. Don’t stand in front of someone who is using the mirror. Don’t walk next to someone pushing heavy weight over their head. Respect others. You are not the only one there and not everyone is trying to assault you.
Did you re-rack your weight? Although the gym is fun, it isn’t a toy box. Put your things away. I started lifting in a military gym and you can bet your ass everything is squared away. I make it a point to put my things away and put at least one or two other pieces of equipment away.
Because I like coming to a clean gym where it is easy to find the equipment I need. If one other person picks up my habit, the gym will be so much cleaner. Do the same. Oh ya, and gross and unbelievably rude sweat stains where others sit and lay.
You don’t have to engage in conversation but a nice smile and nod when you make eye contact will go a long way for good karma and the overall gym atmosphere. Especially if you are single or looking to become a part of the community. Gyms are a great place to network and find good, like-minded people.
Wear Proper Footwear and Gym Clothes
Wearing the proper foot wear is extremely important. People drop weights in the gym, things fall. If you are that dumbdumb in flip-flops in a weight room and gravity rears it head on your foot, you are going directly to the hospital.
Also, reconsider your gym clothes. Some gyms are family friendly and have kids and teens walking around. Avoid walking around in sexual suggestive clothing. This goes for men too - they cut their shirts and have nipples hanging out. Save the booty shorts and sports bras for a gym when the culture is a little more liberal. You'll know what I'm walking about when you see it. The point is, don't wear stuff that is a distraction to yourself or others.
But also seriously consider the amount of exposed skin you want to have at the gym. Unless you walk around with a towel and lay it down on everything that you sit and lay on, you are opening yourself up to some serious skin ailments. Jock-itch, ring-worm and staph infections are pretty common in places where lots of sweat is mixing. Don't risk infections getting that close to your lady bits.
Are you checking your email? Engaged in a textual conversation with someone other than your trainer or swolemate? Are you checking Instagram, Facebook or Twitter? Are you actually chatting away on the treadmill? On the PHONE???
Go back to the locker room because you are obviously NOT ready to work, respect others or be aware of general safety practices when people are quickly moving weighted objects.
Stay off you devices and respectful of others.
Don’t hog a Machine during Peak Hours
Examples of Hogging equipment:
Practicing for your marathon the treadmill at 19:00 on a Tuesday
Doing a full body circuit or drop sets using 5 pieces of equipment
Checking your email for 35 minutes on the bench press
60-minute routine on the ONLY squat rack is a bit rude when the gym is full
GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. Even for just 10 minutes.
Free up the machine so someone else can get in there quickly. Take your time when the gym is a bit emptier. Anything more than 20-25 minutes on one piece of equipment is excessive.
On the same note, if someone is taking up just one machine that you have been eyeing for more than 20 minutes, SAY SOMETHING. It is NOT a problem to work in or let someone know that they are spending too much time on a machine. I've asked plenty of people if they were done. You're not offending anyone - it's just part of the dynamic at a busy gym.
Treat this Time as Important
For some, this time is sacred:
CEO of a company that has only 45 minutes free of his 16 hour workday; Single mom of three kids who works
Recovering addict or alcoholic who uses exercise and a tool to stay sober and alive
Person who just lost 50 kg and is trying to lose another 20 to not die of heart disease
the person with arthritis who has to workout just to move the next morning
Fitness model or trainer who’s job it is to stay fit.
It’s not always about 6-packs and booty. Some people are in the gym for important reasons. Recognize that and respect it.
Grunting, Yelling and Sex Noises
Save excessive noises for Crossfit gyms and football with your buddies. You don’t have to be quiet at the gym but grunting on every rep is pretty lame.
We all know you are trying to get attention weather consciously or unconsciously. I struggle and make a bit a noise when I lift but I don’t bellow across the gym 10 times in a row. You don’t need to grunt or moan the weight up on every repetition. It’s too heavy if you can’t control the weight or yourself. It’s not a library - we expect some noise.
But like all social situations, just do your thing and try not to make a circus of yourself.
Safety is Sexy
Why? Because you can take bigger risks when you are safe. Wear close toed shoes. Use clips on the barbells when lifting ANY amount of weight in ANY exercise. Walk wide away from people working. Don't jump on wobbly boxes. And use a spot when bench pressing. Just be safe.
Learn all the basics and insider knowledge
Check out The Gym 101 Series
Part 1: Exercise Selection
Part 2: Set and Rep Schemes
Part 3: Training Splits and Organizing Your Week
Part 4: Creating Fun Workouts
Part 5: Training Around Injuries and Imbalances
Part 6: Menstruation and Muscle
Part 7: Finding New Gyms
Part 8: Navigating the Gym
Part 9: Gym Rules
Part 10: Fitness and Pregnancy
Part 11: Postpartum Exercise, Birth to 4 weeks
Part 12: Postpartum Exercise, 4-16 Weeks
Part 13: Recovery