How to up your personal gym etiquette.
For many of us (yes, including you), gyms and fitness centers are headquarters for the health and fitness lifestyle, including shedding unwanted pounds, building lean body mass, and coming that much closer to your own personal fitness goals.
Many gym-goers might not be as motivated as you to get into shape. It could be that they are insecure about their body image, or are just plain intimidated by the whole gym culture. By gym culture, we’re talking—people grunting loudly as they finish those final reps, parading their lovely bodies around in front of everyone, or leaving sweat marks all over gym equipment after usage. The entire kaleidoscope of stimuli within a single gym, can be not only off-putting to many, but even disorienting.
We’re here to tell you that instead of being indifferent, we can take up the good guy/good girl reins and show everyone that there is a better way—a path to glory so to speak.
Here are some useful tips on how to lead the way with regards to following proper gym etiquette, which will hopefully inspire others to do the same.
Having the Courage to be Compassionate
Mother Teresa once said: “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” Indeed, do you ever notice that when people are rude to one another, there is suddenly this uncomfortable tension in the immediate environment? After seeing a couple of gym-goers butt heads and experience a little tussle, that negativity even affects you, even if you were just watching from the sidelines.
That’s because even though there are a veritable plethora of visual signs that indicate that gyms are temples of selfishness, they’re really places where people are trying to co-exist in a mutually beneficial space for a shared common good.
On any given day you may see outward signs of selfishness—such as people strutting around proudly with their new bodies, showing off how much weight they can lift, or checking themselves out in mirrors constantly, the fact of the matter is that we’re all just part of one big health and fitness journey. In this regard, showing a little kindness and compassion can really help to highlight this reality, big time.
People will accept your offers of help. When people help each other, you’ll notice a perceptible uptick in the general mood of the gym space, which makes everyone’s workout that much better. Not only that, but when others see you lending a helping hand, it usually inspires them to do the same—it’s like kindness becomes contagious, but it all starts with having the bravery to be compassionate in the first place.
Unbridled Courtesy and Cleanliness as a Habit
We’ve all been there—someone has been working out on a machine or just finished pumping iron on a workout bench and then leave, only to leave some icky sweat marks behind. This usually prompts some type of inner-dialogue from us, to the effect of: “Really?”
And how about when you enter the free weight area and begin scanning the dumbbell racks for whichever weight that you want, and the area looks like some type of catastrophic event took place which made most of the weights scatter to the four corners of the gym? Now you’re going to have to literally scour the four corners of the gym in order to hopefully find a pair of dumbbells that that match up, so that you can get you pump on. Your inner-dialogue kicks in again: “Oh, come on!”
Well, what if we reprogram our thinking with regards to organization and cleanliness? What if, instead of all of the really’s and oh, come on’s, we see each of those occurrences as opportunities to show others how it’s done?
Let’s say that you (which you inevitably will) spot a bunch of dumbbells lying out of order in the dumbbell rack. Perfect opportunity to do a little re-arranging! Or how about all of those 45 lb. plates leaning up against this machine. Time to take hold of them and re-rack them where they belong!
Not only does this make the workout area more appealing for you and your fellow gym-goers, but it also gives you a little workout in and of itself. Yes, hoisting all of those weights around can even be considered little side-workouts, so it’s not like you’re not getting anything out of it. Not a bad deal at all, right?
Let’s face it and be honest here, some people tend to bring their not-so-clean-and-tidy home habits to gyms with them. Other people just naturally sweat a lot, or have rather poor hygiene habits.
This can result in such things as literal pools of sweat being left on weight machines and workout benches, or sweat stains on the grips of such things as elliptical machines and recumbent bikes. Again, these events can be opportunities to set a good example by doing the right thing.
Taking a quick trip to the nearest paper towel dispenser, dabbing a few sheets in some soap or disinfectant, and then returning to the scene of the crime in order to perform wipe-downs is quite a good thing. When you make it a point to wipe down equipment that may be a little on the sweaty side, right in front of people, this reminds others watching you that they should do the same.
In the same vein, carrying a workout towel can be seen as a sort of badge of cleanliness. It shows that you’re on the ball and are ready to wipe down those nasty sweat stains, wherever they may be found.
Upping Your Gym Etiquette Game
Remember, all of these tips can not only go a long way in improving the overall gym “feel good” energy, but can make you feel good about yourself in that you’re making a difference.