Here are a few golden rules to follow when in the gym!
While being in the gym or any gym setting it's important to be respectful to those around you. Be mindful of others personal space and the equipment they are using, as well as your own space and equipment. Avoid exercising in places that start to work into someones personal space, especially if they have already been there. Don't try to interfere with another persons routine because you want that specific area, out of the entire gym. Working extremely close to someone is an accident waiting to happen. SAFETY FIRST! Give yourself and everyone a little space, sure, gyms can get busy, it's okay to adjust your program to accommodate for space and equipment availability. When the gym is busy, make sure to look before you start to move. This will allow you to avoid getting hit or kicked, or you even hitting or kicking someone on accident. In regards to equipment, again, be respectful about what other people are using. If someone is using a specific piece of equipment that you also want, don't go and take it away from them or jump in and and start using it. Communication is key! Ask before you take or use someone else's equipment. They might just be finishing up or would be happy to work in with you. This is again is for everyones safety and also cleanliness. Additionally, avoid exercising in front of specific locations, for example, directly in front of the dumbbell rack. You risk getting injured or injuring someone, and it's not courteous of others. People are trying to get dumbbells and or return them.
Going hand in hand with our first rule, some gyms can be limited in specific pieces of equipment. Before you rudely go and snatch it from someone else, ASK! On the flip, don't be the person who is an equipment hog. Depending on the busyness of the gym this can start to become a problem. Avoid being on one specific piece of equipment for long durations, especially during busy times. If you are using a popular piece of equipment and you know the gym only has 1 or limited be mindful of your time. Let's be honest with ourselves, you know when you've over stayed. Take a look at your program and make appropriate judgement calls to be respectful for everyone. Use your time appropriately, especially if you know you've been using a piece of equipment for a longgggggggggg time. Don't get mad either if someone gets to a piece of equipment before you. Everyone is trying to accomplish something! If you do find yourself sharing equipment with another, please clean up after you use it, example, a simple wipe down.
Re-Rack Weights and Other Equipment:
Everything has a home! If you take something and use it, put it back where it belongs! Key word, back where it belongs, not just where you found it. Don't be the person who leaves their mess for someone else to clean up. That's not the job of the staff and it's certainly not the job of other gym goers. You are an adult, put things where they belong. This helps the staff to keep the gym looking presentable and allows other gym goers to access the equipment they need. Staff and others shouldn't have to go a wild goose hunt to locate and return equipment. If you go to put something back where it belongs and notice something else is in its place, be the grown up and do a quick rearrange, it'll take 30 seconds. Don't leave the dumbbells in front of the dumbbell rack, don't leave the plates on the side of the cage/rack, don't leave weight on the barbell, don't leave boxes in the cage/rack, don't leave physioball to roll all over the gym, the list goes on. Be mindful and respectful of the equipment you use. Also, don't steal equipment, this is just as bad as not putting it back in its home. Yes, you pay for a gym, but that doesn't give you the right to deliberately take something. Things cost money and it's a privilege to have equipment, and if you take something for yourself you are ruining it for everyone else.
Wear Clean Clothes:
This is for your and others health. Body oder can be a pretty distinct smell if you've been wearing the same attire to the gym all week. Personal hygiene is an important part of daily overall health. Those old wet and sweaty gym clothes that keep getting shoved into a gym bag start to build mildew and other potentially harmful bacterias. Plus, you just got done rolling around the gym equipment and potentially the floor. Even though fitness centers keep their facilities clean, you still don't know what is lingering on your clothes. No matter what time you workout, and you know you can't put your clothes into the dirty hamper or wash, bring a separate bag to store them for the time being. Take a shower at the gym or right when you get home to remove any extra sweat or germs from your body.
Anything you touch, clean it! This is out of respect for yourself, other gym goers, and staff. Facilities will either have spray bottles and paper towels or wipes. It's important to disinfect the equipment after each use, similar to the last topic, sweat, bacteria, viruses, and other germs start to build up as more and more people come into contact with equipment. Do everyone a favor and clean up after yourself. It's also a good idea to wipe down your equipment before you use it as well. Again, let's be honest, some people are not respectful and don't clean up after themselves. Do a quick wipe down before you start and when you finish using your equipment. Gym staff should be doing regular cleanings too, as well as deep cleanings. Some people will bring a specific towel to lay down on the equipment acting as a sweat absorber or barrier, but still make sure to do a wipe down after as sweat can seep though or the towel moves around. Don't use your towel to wipe equipment down either, you're just spreading and mixing all the germs. Cleaning is common courtesy, everyone needs to do it.
Be a Supporter:
Everyone walking into the gym is there for a reason and we are all on different journeys. Do not judge a book by its cover. Just because they don't move, act, or look like you or what you think they should, does not give you the right to judge them. Like everyone else in the gym, people are there to accomplish something and each has their own personal "why". Do not take pictures or videos of someone in bad form or someone struggling through a movement. It is 100% disrespectful and hurtful to that individual. Someone is trying and putting in effort into their journey, be a supporter, even if it's internal. People should not fear walking into the gym, the gym is and should be a haven for many. If you see someone struggling maybe ask to help or inform staff on duty to help. Ask to spot someone, just be a good human! People wrongly use social media and give negative portrayals of the gym and fitness industry. Be the change.
Remember, these are just a few of the golden rules! Each one can be expanded upon. When in doubt, use your best judgement and be mindful of yourself and others. The gym is a place for many to get away for what ever their reason is. The social aspect, the fitness aspect, the stress reliever, or what ever other reason, it's personal to them. Be the positive energy!