It’s only a couple of weeks until March! Time is flying so fast this year. The gym is always busier in January, but by February people start to drop off and by April most of those new faces have left. Did you start up at the gym this year? Fantastic! Don’t stop – just because you missed a day, or even a week, it doesn’t mean you should just pack it in. Keep pushing forward and it will become a part of your routine.
With newbies at the gym (and veterans too!) there are always some things that I wish they knew. Here’s my top 5 ‘do’s and dont’s’ (in no particular order). I think they are all common sense, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.
1. Park properly
Spaces are very limited at my gym and only a jerk would take up 2 spots – don’t be that jerk. Also, if you know someone is waiting for your spot then don’t be the person that takes 5 minutes to get going. You can reverse out and talk on the phone, set up your gps or fix your make-up. I know that it can get cold at this time of the year. If it’s -30 degrees outside then the person waiting will understand that you need to warm up your car, just don’t take more time than needed.
2. Wipe down your machine
Sweat is great right? You feel like you have had an AWESOME workout and you are ready to face the world again! I hear you – I feel the same. However, when I see your sweat on a machine I’m about to use it just makes me feel gross. It takes less than a minute to wipe down a machine – do it.
3. Put the weights back in the right place
I love to move quickly between exercises and I hate wasting the time to find weights that are scattered about the gym. There is a weight rack for a reason – not only does it make it easy for the next person to find the weight they want, but it also avoids the possibility of someone tripping on it. Put it back in the right spot – and if you found it on the floor that doesn’t give you the right to match the inconsiderate person that last used those weights.
4. Throw away your used items
The amount of empty bottles (shampoo, shower gel etc) in the shower area always shocks me, as does the amount of used paper towel in the changing area (yes, I love clearing your wet used paper towel that you stood on/sat on as you got ready). There are HUGE recycling bins at my gym. Please realize that others do not want to see/clear up your mess and use the bins. Additionally, you do not need 10 paper towels every time you shower at the gym. I’m not a fan of wasting reources – stop wasting resources and just bring an extra towel with you.
We’re all there for the same reason – to be as healthy as we can be, right? There’s no need to be a grouch at the gym. Yes, it takes focus, determination and hard work when you are working out. However, a smile as we walk past one another not only adds to the friendly energetic atmosphere (that should always be part of the gym), but will also put newcomers at ease. There is power in a smile. It’s tough to be a newbie – help make it less intimidating for everyone.
1. Take up the whole bench in the changing room with your stuff
If your gym is anything like mine then you have these short thin benches by the lockers. It’s fine for you to make use of the the whole space if you’re on your own in the section, but if someone else comes along then make some room for them – I shouldn’t have to ask you to provide a little spot for my bag.
2. Hog the machines between sets (or if you’re chatting to friends)
As I said in one of my ‘do’s’ I love to move quickly between exercises – it keeps my heart rate up and avoids boredom. A lot of people like to do a few sets on one machine and move on to the next. So, between sets they’ll take a ‘nap’ on the machine. You know who you are. You sit there, rest your head back and close your eyes. Alternatively, you sit there and chat to your friends. I got news for you – other people want to use that machine. If you’re not using the machine then open it up for others. This also means that you shouldn’t leave your towel on a machine so it’s free when you come back in 5 minutes. Be considerate – someone can do a couple of sets while you are not using it.
3. Throw around the weights
If you have to drop the weights for safety reasons (because you are tired/something goes wrong) then fine, drop them at your side – keep your hands near if possible so they do not bounce. It is not cool to throw the weights for no reason – it doesn’t make you look tough. It can damage them and there’s a chance they can bounce and hurt someone else. Also, the noise will distract other people from their workouts unnecessarily.
4. Disturb a training session
I have a personal trainer. This means that when I’m working out with him I am paying for his time. I do not appreciate you distracting him while he is training me. I want him to focus on me 100% and make sure I am doing everything correctly while completing my exercises to the best of my ability. When you are paying for his time you can waste it.
5. Sing in the steam room
I love using the steam room after all my workouts. I get a chance to relax and have some ‘me’ time before I hit the shower and get back to life’s routines. A couple of weeks ago another woman using the steam room decided to sing. She could not sing and it totally took away from any relaxation I normally get. You have to realize that some people are there to relax and not to chat, or listen to bad singing. Also, please don’t use exfoliants/oils etc in the steam room. There are so many women who do it at my gym (even when the sign says not to). Not only do the smells affect some people, but it makes the floors slipperier than they already are which is a definite safety issue.
Above all: DO have a productive workout!
The gym is not the only route for exercise. However, if you do go to the gym then work hard and also please take note of the ‘do’s and dont’s’ because the people who are not are driving me crazy!