These 12 Actions are Gym No-No’s

Many already know the no to cellphones, the need to re- rack weights and the likes. Such etiquette is needed to get everyone smiling, not scowling, whenever they see you at the gym. However, there’s more to it than that. To refresh everyone’s gym etiquette, so everyone has a great time working out, we give you 12 more.

1) DON’T USE A MAT OR BENCH WITHOUT CLEANING IT

Dirty stretching mats and exercise benches sometimes contain viruses, bacteria and fungi. If your cut or scrape touches these germ-infested surfaces, you could get a severe infection.

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Every commercial gym offers a variety of sprays, wipes and sanitizers you can use to disinfect surfaces quickly. Always clean them before and after using.

2) DON’T SHOWER WITHOUT FLIP-FLOPS

I used to work at a fancy gym where, at least once a month, someone would defecate in the shower.

This really does happen—as well as many other disgusting things—and you must protect yourself from the bacteria present in shower stalls, regardless of your gym’s sanitation standards. If you shower at the gym, buy some cheap sandals and keep them in your gym bag.

3) DON’T GIVE SOMEONE UNSOLICITED ADVICE

Avoid giving unsolicited advice in the gym for two reasons. Number one, they will tend to act defensive and reject your criticism. Number two, your advice could be wrong.

Unless their technique is threating themselves and others, avoid giving advice. If you really want to help, however, become their friend first.

4) DON’T EXERCISE IN A HEAVILY TRAFFICKED AREA

Areas like entrances, walkways and aisles should be reserved for foot traffic, not walking lunges, kettlebell swings or jumping rope. You can hurt passersby or hurt yourself.

Always exercise in proper areas, free from people walking by.

5) DON’T PURPOSELY MISUSE A MACHINE

Use a shoulder machine as a shoulder machine—not as a complex glute exercise.

First, it takes the equipment away from someone who actually wants to use the machine correctly. Second, you could break it and hurt yourself. (I doubt the manufacturers will be liable.)

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12 Things You Should Never Do in a Gym

 

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6) DON’T LIFT WITHOUT WEIGHT COLLARS

I once saw a gentleman use an incline bench while the plates slid off one end. Before I could reach him, the plates dropped, the bar flew up, and everything crashed on the other side. Fortunately, aside from his bruised ego, he was fine.

“Maybe you should use this,” I said showing him a weight collar.

You must attach weight collars when using barbells. Regardless of the weight, the plates will slide and ruin your balance.

7) DON’T WALK CLOSE TO A PERSON WHO’S EXERCISING

Give everyone exercising a cushion of a few feet. You never know if they will lose control and dump the weight or if their exercise involves a lot of movement.

For example, I’ve seen people almost lose their faces because they squeezed past a person doing an Olympic lift. Bad idea. Instead, wait a few seconds until they finish. Also, if someone is doing a heavy lift (like a squat, deadlift, overhead press, etc.), never walk right in front of their line of sight. It’s distracting and rude.

And if someone is doing pushups, please avoid walking over him.

8) DON’T BORROW EQUIPMENT WITHOUT ASKING

Crowded gyms are a free-for-all: all the benches are taken, everyone wants to use the same dumbbells, and everyone asks you, “How many more sets do you have?”

Always maintain etiquette, especially during peak hours. If you see an open bench with someone standing nearby, ask before using it; if it’s occupied, however, they’ll almost certainly let you work in.

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9) DON’T SPIT INTO A WATER FOUNTAIN

No one wants to see a loogie or a piece of gum floating in the drain. Use the trash can.

10) DON’T TEXT WHILE WALKING

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You risk injuring yourself or someone else by walking aimlessly throughout a crowded gym. You could walk into someone doing an exercise, interfere with someone’s lift, or—quite easily—walk into a machine.

This should be obvious, but it still happens. Wait until you stop moving before you text.

11) DON’T STEAL A TRAINER’S EXERCISES

Sometimes a trainer will teach their client an awesome exercise that grabs your attention. Never spy on them and try to (poorly) mimic the exercise yourself. It’s far better to ask them what they’re doing—odds are they’ll gladly teach you the movement so you can do it correctly.

Instead, eavesdropping to take a trainer’s exercise—and trust me, we notice—is disrespectful to both the trainer and client, especially because the client paid to learn something that you snatched for free.

12) DON’T TAKE YOUR SHIRT OFF IN PUBLIC

This, for some odd reason, happens. Please respect other gym patrons and keep your clothes on for the duration of the workout.

As for guys trying to “show off,” the truth is that taking off your shirt and flexing only reveals approval-seeking insecurities.

 

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