January means packed gyms, queues for cardio equipment and those seemingly interminable searches for that one dumbbell missing from the set.
However, if more members do their part to ease the congestion and alleviate the frustration, the January gym experience can be more enjoyable for everyone.
The gym etiquette basics
The key is to follow basic gym etiquette. First and foremost, every gym has an established set of rules that aim to govern member conduct and behaviour. Make sure you read the rules and get to know them.
This will not only help you but can also serve to empower you should you encounter less considerate members. The rules are also there to ensure your safety and that of your fellow gym members, so don’t ignore them.
Bust our of your gym bubble
The gym’s going to hella busy so try be mindful of your surroundings and your fellow gym-goers. It’s easy to tune out when you’ve got your headphones on or you’re engaged in your workout, but this can become dangerous if you’re not alert.
Be particularly mindful while traversing the free weights section as there are often dumbbells and weight plates on the ground, which can be tripping hazards.
Pick up after yourself
And if more people replaced their weights after use there would be fewer obstacles to sidestep and there would also be far less frustration on the gym floor. And just because everyone else fails to do it shouldn’t justify your unwillingness to do the right thing.
Always place your dumbbells back in their designated (generally labelled) spot on the rack, unload your squat bar or leg press machine and place the weight plates back onto their pegs.
The same applies for stretching mats, stability balls, foam rollers and kettlebells. Everything has a place and should be put back where it belongs to make it easier for other patrons to find the equipment they want.
Don’t hog equipment
Performing giant sets using multiple moves and various pieces of equipment might keep your training interesting and effective, but when gyms are busy you may deny someone else the opportunity to complete their planned workout.
Keeping a bar, dumbbells and a bench aside and unused as you cycle through different exercise stations is certainly not acceptable gym etiquette. Reserve these workouts for quieter gym times or offer to share the equipment or exercise station.
On a similar note, using equipment or spaces for any reason other than its intended purpose can also be frustrating for other gym-goers. Certain sections are designed to accommodate specific exercises.
The squat rack, for example, is specially designed to make it easier and safer to perform this compound exercise under heavy loads. If gym members use the space for other exercises, it can inconvenience those who need these specific structures to perform their exercises effectively.
If you find a piece of gym equipment you need and it is close to another gym member, be courteous and ask whether they’re using before picking it up. Assuming that an idle bench or machine is not in use can cause unnecessary acrimony.
And don’t exceed the allocated time limits on cardio equipment. The imposed usage restrictions are there to ensure every member is able to get an effective when the gym is busy. Don’t rob your fellow gym member of their opportunity to work up a sweat.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.