Having trained in literally hundreds of gyms around the globe, (and even in some of the more infamous ones here in LA), I’m constantly amazed at how ill-informed so many members are about basic gym etiquette. Do they not know? Have they not been told? Do they not care?
Most health clubs will have most or all of the following rules posted somewhere. But here are what I consider to be the four most important, universal rules that will apply anywhere you go, on the road or at your hometown gym. These four rules should be temporarily tattooed on the forehead of every new member.
By the way, why do I care so much? Because in the same way that there’s a sanctity to the dojo for the martial artist, there should be a sanctity to the health club for anyone who views it as a non-negotiable component to the holistic lifestyle experience. I’ve never set foot in a dojo where this kind of behavior would be tolerated and, in fact, the seasoned martial artist will even bow before entering or exiting any martial arts school…even if they’re just visiting. Bowing aside (as this is more of a nod specifically to the martial art’s deep roots in Asian culture), I would love to see more of this kind of reverence at every gym around the globe.
So – please – for you, for me, and for everyone else at the gym, commit to the following (even as so many others will not):
1. Always put your weights away – When using barbells, always return the weights to the appropriate rack…even if there were already weights on the barbell when you got to it. Same with dumbbells. Put them back when you’re done!
2. Always allow others to work in between sets – After you’ve completed a set and are resting before your next one, never remain lying or seated in position. This prevents someone else from jumping in and grabbing a quick set (while you’re waiting) and makes you look like an inconsiderate newcomer.
3. Always wipe your nasty-ass sweat off the equipment – You should have a towel or sweat rag with you as you train so you can wipe down the seat or bench after each set. Little else is as disgusting as going to use a bench or machine and find it saturated with someone else’s sweat (unless, of course, it was someone with whom you wouldn’t mind exchanging sweat!).
4. Always be quiet – Unless you are training in a true powerlifting/knucklehead kind of gym (which are among my favorite!) where others regularly make noise as they lift, please, don’t yell, grunt or slam your weights around as you train. You might think it’s endearingly barbaric to do so, but it’s really a distracting, eye-rolling imposition to everyone else around you.
Lecture’s over; see you in a couple days.