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Gym etiquette: 7 things to know

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As the new year is rapidly approaching and that means people will be making all sorts of resolutions. One of the frequent favorites is to go to the gym. Gyms are a culture of their own and there are some “rules of the road” that a new gym member (or one returning from a long hiatus) should be aware of. Let’s take a look at some of the do’s and don’ts of gym etiquette.

1) Do clean up after yourself: Chances are your mom doesn’t own the gym so you are responsible for cleaning up after yourself. When you are done using a piece of equipment, wipe it down. Most gyms now provide disinfectants to clean benches and machines. Even if they don’t, wipe it down with your towel. You don’t want to lie in someone else’s sweat and they don’t want yours. If you want to leave a bench covered in sweat, you can probably find a Bowflex pretty cheap on Craigslist.

2) Don’t stink: Sweat is good, stink is not. Don’t leave the same workout clothes in your bag all week. Think of the scene from Rocky II when Rocky tells Mickey that his pungent sweatshirt brings him luck and Mickey tells him “it brings flies.” Enough said.

3) Don’t smell like a perfume truck accident: As a corollary to #2, don’t go heavy on the perfume/cologne. It’s a gym, not a night club. Give the Polo a rest big guy.

4) Do put your stuff away: Don’t leave dumbbells or plates laying around. Aside from being a safety hazard, it’s just rude. Others shouldn’t have to go hunt down plates because you were too lazy to put them back.

5) Do leave the phone in the locker room: Unless there is some extraordinary circumstance, leave it in your locker. If you must bring it out with you, then excuse yourself from the work out areas to take the call. Nobody else wants to hear your conversation and if you’re talking, you’re not concentrating on your workout.

6) Don’t be an equipment hog: Some gyms place time limits on equipment. Even if they don’t, be courteous. Let others work in on the machine or use it between your sets. Likewise, if you are tying up equipment, don’t take 15 minute rests between sets. Take care of your business and get out of the way.

7) Don’t interrupt: Most people will be happy to show you how a machine works or spot you while you lift, but don’t interrupt their set to ask. It breaks their concentration, might cause them to lose count and it’s just rude.

If you have questions or suggestions, please email me.

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