The gym can sometimes be intimidating for newcomers and even regular attendees.
But no matter what your skill level, it doesn’t take much to get the ins and outs of proper gym etiquette.
So what should and shouldn’t you be doing when hitting the weights?
Jennifer Nicole Lee, a trainer, author and life coach, offers some advice below for how to be on your best behavior at the gym.
Below, Lee shares the obvious -- and not-so-obvious -- rules of the gym.
Use a towel
Always use a towel to clean off machines after you use them. No one likes sweat on a machine. Sweat carries bacteria from one person’s skin to another surface and can cause viral infections, such as colds, the flu and even herpes. Be sure to sanitize your equipment after sweating on it to lower the chances of spreading illnesses.
Put your weights back
Please re-rack your weights after you use them. One rule of thumb: if you move it, put it back. It shows respect for your fellow gym members and also consideration to the gym’s management team. Plus, it’s a safety issue. If weights are strewn all over the floor, someone could trip and fall. Also, it can become quite a disorganized mess if the dumbbells are not in order, from smaller weights to heavier, making it quite a pain to find the right set of weights when you need them.
Save the conversations for later
It’s nice to socialize, but chatting too much on the training floor can be very distracting. Be aware of those around you who are focusing on their workouts. Many veterans go to the gym to release stress from the day. They often get into a zen-like workout state where they are connecting their breath to their movements. Chatter and busy-body talk can be very distracting and also draining to someone who is trying to focus on their wellness program.
Don’t interrupt anyone
Don’t talk to someone while they are mid-set. They are focusing on their workout, and if you ask them a question, or talk to them while they are working out, this could lead to injury. Remember, the further someone is in a set, the harder it gets, and it can take all of their focus to push through to give it their all.
Put away your phone
No cellphones on the training floor. If so, only for your music to your headphones. Gym time is for training time. Outside the gym is where you can enjoy texting and chatting on the phone.
Or filming. There is a time and place for everything. Many who go to the gym on the regular don’t want to be accidentally caught in your selfie and/or video. So please film outside the gym where there are no other people around you.
The meaning behind headphones
Here’s a good rule of thumb that everyone should know. If someone has headphones on that means "leave me alone." If they have one headphone off the ear, it means, “yes, you can talk to me, but just not too much.” Headphones off means it’s OK to approach me, just not while I’m in a set. Remember, always err on the side of consideration for your fellow motivated gym-mates.