By Kyle Finneron
Welcome to the gym. This may be your first time in the weight room or you may be a seasoned pro. Unfortunately, people tend to forget that the gym and the weight room are shared spaces. This being said, there are a few unspoken rules of proper gym etiquette. Let me explain:
It’s okay to ask for a spotter
First, let me applaud you for wanting to push yourself to a point where you think the weight you are about to lift might be a struggle. If you are not 100 percent confident that you will be able to lift the weight in front of you, ask for a spot. This is where gym partners come in handy, but if you like to lift alone, don’t be afraid to ask. If you ask and the person does not feel comfortable spotting you, honor their wishes as they might be fatigued and unable to properly assist you. (This is why I always encourage people to work out with a partner.)
Put them back, properly
If you are using dumbbells or plates, when you are finished, put the weights back in the correct space. As a general rule of thumb, the heavier plates go on the bottom of the racks and the lighter weights go on the top. Also try and keep the weights together. No one wants to dig through a random assortment of 5s, 2.5s, 3.5s and 10s because the 2.5s are on the bottom of the stack.
Wipe down the equipment
There was a sign that I always saw at the ski club that has stuck with me throughout the years, “Your mama doesn’t work here, clean up after yourself.” Unfortunately, I don’t think many people have seen this sign. For general hygiene purposes, any equipment that you have sweat onto or has touched you should be wiped down for the next person to use. This means everything, not just that which was touched with your bare skin. If you sweat through their gym clothes, please be contentious. I’m sure you don’t want to lie down on a dirty bench, and neither does the next person.
Share the equipment
If you happen to be working on a machine and in between your set you see someone standing closer than normal that keeps trying to make eye contact with you, chances are they would like to work in with you. The right thing to do is to share. While you are not on the machine, let them use it. Also, if you are working in with someone and they have a machine or bar set to a specific weight or position, put it back to the way they had it set up before you walk away. They were nice enough to play fair and share; don’t make them regret their kindness.
Can you hear me now?
In my opinion, cell phones should only be on someone when they are working out if they are listening to something. If you do happen to receive a phone call while you are at the gym, move to the lobby or away from the gym area and answer your phone. It is rude to start having a loud conversation while you are on a piece of gym equipment. There are even some gyms which sport signs that say (I’ve edited the profanity out): “This is a gym, not a Starbucks, get off your phone.” This does not only apply to phone calls. If you are working on a piece of equipment and in between sets you decide this is a perfect time to check your Twitter or Tinder or anything else that might preoccupy you, please, just move away from the equipment and let anyone else who would like to work in with you do so.
The water fountain
Hydration is very important while you exercise. That being said, if you finish your water bottle mid-workout and need to refill it, feel free to use the water fountain. However, if there are other people that would like to use the water fountain, take a step aside, let them take there drinks and once everyone is finished continue filling your bottle. And please, don’t spit in the water fountain. Please don’t.