Mind Your Manners -- In the Gym
Annoying socializers, grunters, and excessive sweaters can bum out your workout. Following gym etiquette not only is polite, it's safe -- for you and your fellow gym-goers.
We all have different reasons for working out, whether it's to
lose weight, to obtain rock-hard abs, or to stay healthy. Whatever the
motivation, for some of us, getting to the gym is an achievement unto itself.
So when people there are rude, gross, or downright annoying, it can be
frustrating because they can distract us from our fitness goals, or worse, can
hurt us. Or sometimes, we might not know it, but we may be the offending club
Salvatore Fichera, an exercise physiologist in New York, and
Joe Warpeha, Duluth, Minnesota-based certified strength and conditioning
specialist, have seen their share of careless and inconsiderate acts resulting
For example, customers who fail to wipe sweat from exercise
equipment have reportedly been known to pass on communicable diseases such as
rashes to other people. Cell-phone yakkers or excessively loud grunters have
caused serious trainers to lose concentration and strain muscles. Weightlifters
who neglect to secure barbells properly have had loose plates drop and crush
toes -- theirs and others'.
These mishaps are easily avoidable. With good manners and
common sense, gym-going can become a pleasant, safe, and healthy experience for
The Lazy ... and Dangerous
One of the most common gaffes people make at the gym is failing
to put equipment back in its proper place.
"Some people just leave dumbbells on the floor, which is
totally dumb," Fichera says. "It is inconvenient for someone who
may need that particular weight afterwards, and it could hurt other members
who, while looking at themselves in the mirror, back up and don't see it on the
The rule also applies to clients using free weights. Besides
leaving them on the floor, some lifters apparently don't return them to their
proper number slots (i.e., the 10-pound weight in the "10" spot, the
20-pounder in the "20" spot, etc.) Some people carry weights to
different parts of the gym and leave them there. This obviously inconveniences
others who may have to do some searching to complete their exercise.
It is also important to secure the collars on barbells. Loose
plates can slide off, bounce on the ground, and hurt someone. Such common-sense
rules fall under the heading of "Use equipment properly" and
"Follow instructions," which should be a no-brainer, but some people
still surprisingly act foolish.
Then there are people who scream or grunt loudly during their
set. Some even drop their weights on the ground, making a big thump. These
noisemakers peeve David Reyes, 33, who takes his workout routine seriously.
"Let's say that I'm bench-pressing," says Reyes.
"I'm doing a heavy set and am focused on lifting with the proper form, and
on my way up [with the barbell], I hear "BOOM! BOOM!"... There goes my
concentration, and without it, I could end up with 300 pounds on my