Whether you've decided on some New Year’s Resolutions or have wanted to just get back in the gym recently, it can be a bit intimidating for the first while. There are a lot of new faces at the start of each year and it's always so exciting to see them succeed and become comfortable in the gym. Here are a few gym etiquette tips for anyone that is new to the gym or just hasn't been in for a workout in a long while:
1. Everyone is welcome at the gym! No matter your history, shape, size, or goals, everyone should feel like they can and should be there. Everyone had different goals and reasons for coming to the gym, so make sure you don't judge others just by their appearance. I know some may have a mean/concentrated (a.k.a. resting b*tch face), but I've found that a lot of people in the gym are actually really nice and just trying to better themselves, like you! Don't feel embarrassed if you need to ask a stranger to spot you while you're weightlifting or ask if they can make sure you have good form. I feel like we should all be comfortable helping each other out, even if it's just as quick as a form check. You should also feel comfortable asking someone, “How many sets do you have left?” if they are using some equipment that you’re also planning to use for your workout.
2. Most gyms have sanitary wipes available and it is SUPER important to use them! You should be wiping down the equipment you use throughout the entire year, but it is especially important now during the winter months. There are so many people in the gym sharing all of the equipment, grabbing weights, wiping off sweat if not dripping sweat...It's best to keep yourself safer from germs by wiping the equipment down. I personally like to wipe the equipment down before AND after, just in case. The gym is available for all of us to use, so we should all pitch in and clean up after ourselves too.
3. Please put things back where they belong! If you don't know where it goes, feel free to ask a friendly gym-goer or one of the gym staff. If you take weights from the dumbbell rack or weight plates from a machine or rack, then just make sure you put them back where you found them after you're done using them. No one enjoys trying to find the equipment or weights that they need only to find that they have vanished to the far corners of the gym or can't be found at all. This is also important so that people know when you're done using the equipment or weights since most people might assume you are still using them if they are just left on the floor.
4. If you don’t know where to start or what to do at all in the gym, try asking the staff if they offer any kind of free new member training session! You are not obligated to purchase more training sessions after the initial fee one unless you really connected with the trainer, and it’s a great chance to ask them to show you how to use specific equipment or to get a general idea of a good workout to start out with. Also, sometimes all it takes to feel more comfortable in all areas of the gym is to have someone knowledgeable show you around and take you into those more intimidating areas.
5. Please invest in a simple lock to use in the locker room. I know we’ve all seen it before but bringing you entire duffel bag and nick-knacks onto the gym floor can be a hazard to everyone. It could get tripped on, weights could accidentally fall onto it, and it can also make it confusing to others if you accidentally leave your back at some equipment that you’re not using anymore. Use a locker in the change rooms for your jacket/coat, wallet, change of clothes, deodorant, etc. Making sure to lock everything up is also extremely recommended, because not only does this prevent theft, it also helps you find your locker quicker. I currently have a bright green lock and I can find my locker with ease every time!
I hope you are still coming to the gym and working on your goals! Don’t give up, keep fighting for what’s important to you, and make sure to always have fun with it too.