It’s that time of year again. I’m not sure how the last year went by so fast, but I know that I’m ready to take 2015 head on!
I’m sure this year will be no different than all the others in the sense that 99% of the people who have made their New Year Resolution to lose weight and get fit will quit by the time the weather starts to change (if they actually start at all).
Hopefully I am wrong, though. As much as I love my space at the gym, I would much rather see more people there, making positive changes to their bodies and lifestyle.
If you’ve made the decision to workout and eat healthier in 2015, then you’ve likely either got to get yourself a gym membership or start using the one you already have. If this describes you, there are a few things I want to remind you of to help you avoid breaking certain rules of etiquette and making other gym members loathe your presence.
There are many unspoken rules of the gym. Most of them can only be learned by experience, though some are printed out and pasted on the walls (yeah, like anyone takes the time to read those).
So here are a few things you should know – or be reminded of – before hitting your first workouts. Don’t feel like I’m calling you newbies out. These mistakes are made by veterans every day, too.
1. RERACK YOUR WEIGHTS!!
Holy mother of annoying. All of the things on this list are annoying. But, seriously, put your weights up when you’re done. Even if there were already weights left on the bar from the guy or girl before you, take the time to put them back. The ignorance of others does not excuse you from being considerate and doing the right thing.
There’s nothing more annoying than having to walk halfway across the gym to get a couple of 25 pound plates because the last person was too lazy or inconsiderate to put them back where they got them. I’m sure you’ve been there and weren’t too happy about it. Don’t be that person.
2. CLEAN UP YOUR AREA WHEN YOU’RE DONE.
I know I’m sounding like a mom telling her kids to pick up what seems like the 1,673 blocks they left out on the floor, but it’s the same idea here. We all sweat at the gym. If you aren’t sweating, then it’s about time you start working out harder. That said, I believe I speak for all people when I say that other people’s sweat is gross.
So, when you’re done using a bench, grab the cleaning solution and towel and clean it up. The same rule applies to the treadmills or any other piece of equipment your sweat winds up all over. I don’t want to lay in your sweat and I certainly don’t want your cough, flu, or strep throat. So get some sanitizer and clean that filth off when you’re done!
3. NO HOARDING EQUIPMENT.
You will see this eventually, if you haven’t already. There will be ONE person who has multiple sets of dumbbells (or barbells) in all different sizes. Every gym has one or more of these peeps.
Keep in mind that you’re not the only one who needs those weights, so put the ones back that you don’t need at that moment, and only keep the ones you’re actively using.
Let me share a real life experience that has happened in similar fashion several times over the past 3 weeks to give you a better idea of where I’m coming from…
I’m needing to do 40lb straight bar curls. I’m looking around for the barbell, and I finally see it, but someone is using it. I think “Okay, I’ll wait”. But next to the bar, is a set of 20, 25, 30, AND 40lb dumbbells the same dude is using!
I calm myself down. After all, he’s probably supersetting. So I figure I’ll just do the next exercise on my list, which is seated dumbbell curls. But what do you know?!? I need the 20lb dumbbells and there aren’t any, so I decide to do a lighter weight for my warm up hoping someone will be finished by the time I’m done.
But now I find that there’s not even one single adjustable bench available! And why? Because ONE person is using three. For what reason, no one knows. But she sure wasn’t willing to let me use one, which brings me to #4.
4. SHARE EQUIPMENT AND LET PEOPLE WORK IN.
There will likely be times when you’re in need of using more than one piece of equipment at the gym. It happens. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still be considerate of others and let someone work in on the equipment in between your sets. There’s no reason they can’t get their sets in while you’re taking your one minute rest.
Actually, this rule applies even if you’re only using one machine at a time. Gyms are crowded these days. Be a good sport and let others work in if they ask. Who knows? You might even make a few new friends in the process.
One last thing… If you are the person getting in on someone else’s set, try and remember the weight they were using and put it back for them when you’re done with your set. It’s the little things that go a long way – even in the gym. Other lifters won’t be so bothered by your asking to work in when they know you’ll be considerate of them and their time. And they’ll likely return the favor when they ask to work in with you.
5. DON’T BE A DOUCHE.
I know this sounds a little harsh. I must have had these things happen to me a few times too many. 🙂
Anyway, be kind. If you aren’t sure if someone is using a bench or some weights you need to use, just ask. It’s perfectly cool to ask how many more sets someone has if they’re using something you need. Not only will this give you an idea of how long you’ll have to wait, but it’s also a great opportunity to ask if you can work in in between their sets if they have too much longer to go.
They might tell you no, and that’s okay. You don’t have to be rude just because they are. Let the haters of this world revel in their own anger and self-induced misery. There’s no need to join them.
I get that these rules may sound trivial and comical, but they are easy to forget and important to make your experience at the gym (and the experience of others) a positive one.
Don’t worry, even if you don’t follow the rules, the chances of anyone calling you out on it are slim to none. (Unless I’m there… Then you’d better watch your back! 😉 )
Ultimately, if there’s one message I can give you as you start this new year, it would be this: NEVER GIVE UP!
Quitting does nothing but guarantee that you’ll be in the same situation (or worse) at this time next year. Don’t quit and I promise results will come.
And be sure to let me know about all the progress you make in 2015 by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you.
Happy New Year!
– Coach Amber