Saturday, May 8, 2010

Using proper gym etiquette

I have been working out since early January. As mentioned in one of my Facebook posts I had an encounter at the gym. I started excising on my doctor's advice in order to balance out my cholesterol. I had just jumped on the treadmill when I get tapped on the shoulder by a girl, "Me and my girlfriend would like to use that treadmill so we can run together." There was another treadmill available right next to the treadmill I was using, so they would have been able to run together. I gladly obliged since I was on the treadmill less than a minute. I figured it was the adult thing to do, although some of my friends and colleagues gave me some mixed reviews on my actions.

According to Ask men .com they have a list on "How to master gym etiquette."

Handling equipment

The main reason we go to the gym is to use the sophisticated gear. While exercises can be performed at home, it's often easier to rely on machines that were specifically designed for the sole purpose of making us look better. Are you using all the equipment adequately?

Return the weights
Whenever you use dumbbells or plates, be considerate enough to put them back where they belong when you're done. The other gym members are here to train, not to participate in a scavenger hunt.

Don't hog machines
A gym being a community of sorts, sharing is mandatory. Do your sets the way you have them planned, training efficiently. Rest, repeat, and move on. Should you be doing supersets, notify the others and let them use the machine while you're busy elsewhere.

Wipe the machines
Can you imagine walking to a machine and finding it covered with the previous guy's sweat? You want to avoid being that guy. If you happen to drip all over a piece of equipment, wipe it down using the disinfectant provided by the gym. Also, use a towel to separate yourself from the machine while you make use of it.

Limit yourself
Working out the cardiovascular system, people are expected to spend 20 to 30 minutes on a machine. Try not exceeding that time limit and let other users benefit from the equipment. If no one is waiting for your spot, feel free to keep going. Whenever applicable, put your name on a reservation list.

Don't drop the weights
While a gym is not a church, do try to respect the peace and quiet of your fellow members. Don't drop weights from a high elevation for no reason. You certainly don't want the elderly gentlemen on the treadmill to slip and fall because he thinks Armageddon is here.

Proper behavior

Once you know how to handle the equipment, you need to hone your social skills. There are things you must and must not do to be regarded as a member the others won't try to dodge.

Don't pressure users
One thing you don't want to do is constantly ask people if they've finished using a machine when they're obviously still exercising on it. Wait for them to stop before asking. Don't tap your foot impatiently while waiting either.

Spot those who need it
You may be deemed annoying if you start going around asking everyone if they need a spot, monopolizing their time. If you see someone who is in dire need of a spot, risking injury without one, only then should you offer your services. Furthermore, when you do spot someone, make sure you're not the one doing all the lifting and that you can handle the weight. The latter is especially important since, if you're not strong enough, your spot will be useless and dangerous for the weightlifter.

Don't offer your advice to others
You might have a Ph.D. in physical training from Harvard with specialized experience with the national Olympic team, but no one cares. The advice you give should be limited to when you notice someone who's going to hurt himself. Keep in mind that you may not be the most knowledgeable person in the room. If you feel compelled to critique someone's training method, do so in a constructive manner, being polite and acknowledging what they're doing right first.

Talk sparingly
A gym isn't a social club; you're not there to shoot the breeze with its members. Conversations should be kept brief and limited to resting periods in between sets. These short discussions must be held out of the way so people can train without interruption. In addition, don't initiate conversations with people wearing headphones; they obviously don't feel chatty. Finally, while you're taking a break, don't sit on a machine -- others may want to use it.

Don't hit on every babe
It's true that a gym is one of the best pick up spots, but that doesn't give you a hunting license. Don't go around asking every woman out. They became members to get fit, not to be hit on by every dude in the room. In the same vein, try to avoid staring at those beautiful women in skimpy clothing. They know they're hot and they don't need your ogling them to figure it out. If one of them happens to catch you staring, smiling, look away, and move on.

Common courtesy

No cell phones
As with all public places, unless you're waiting for an important call, it's recommended that you turn off your mobile phone at the gym. As well, bringing your phone into the locker room and using it will make other guys feel uncomfortable; especially considering the latest models have integrated cameras and, well, nobody wants their butt being the main attraction on a sketchy website.

Pick up after yourself
Leave your training space as clean as the way you found it. Don't leave any food wrappers, water bottles, towels, or any other items behind. Keep your locker clean, orderly, and don't leave anything lying around for the next guy. Your membership fee is for use of the apparatus; it's not a maid service.

Dress appropriately
Don't wear torn clothing, but don't wear a tuxedo either. Go for a T-shirt instead of a tank top as to circumvent sweat overtly running onto the machine. Stay away from jeans; shorts or track pants are a much better choice.

Don't grunt loudly
Unless you have tiger genes, try to minimize your yelling while exercising. Of course, it's natural to emit little noises when doing strenuous lifts, but remember that the others around you are concentrating on their own work out and don't need to hear "the loud guy" screaming for attention.

Smell good
Exercising makes you sweat and perspiration causes body odor. Can you see in your mind's eye how badly it would stink if no one at the gym did something about it? Arm yourself with an effective deodorant and use it adequately. However, don't douse yourself with cologne; overcompensation can be just as unpleasant for fellow members.

Be considerate of the water fountain
A water fountain's purpose is to drink, not spit or throw away your gum. Moreover, if there's a huge lineup at the water fountain, don't be disrespectful of others by filling your huge water bottle.

No foul language
As with any other social venue, be respectful of your surroundings and of the fact that people of all ages might be present on the premises. Don't use foul language or insult people who are less proficient in their training.

Don't walk in front of mirrors
Well, you can walk in front of mirrors as long as you don't pass in front of someone who is using it to get their stance right. By the same token, if you're looking at yourself in a mirror from across the room, don't get mad if someone passes in front of you. If you must use a mirror, it's better to stand close to it so that your actions are unambiguous to the rest of the crowd.

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