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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.

The Grunters continued...

Reyes himself feels the need to release energy when he lifts, but he does what he calls a "muted grunt" to be considerate of other members. For people who think they need the extra boost while lifting, Fichera suggests a loud breath instead. He says a forceful exhalation should provide the same benefits as a noisy grunt.

Heavy-lifters may want to ask people to spot them while doing a set. While this may seem like an inconvenience, Warpeha says most lifters won't have a problem looking out for you, knowing that they might also need the help one day. If you can't handle a certain weight, it's best not to use it, for your safety and for others around you.

The Yakkers

Talking to others while performing a weight set could be hazardous to your health because it distracts from following proper technique, says Fichera. "Even if you've been going to the gym for a long time, it's still important to focus on your muscle contractions, or you could really hurt yourself."

Plus, people who stand idle and simply hang out with one another on the workout floor can ruin a positive, serious workout atmosphere.

Albert Valencia, a Los Angeles consultant, likes it when people are more like him at the gym. He works out at least four times a week, and tries to be out of the gym in an hour and 15 minutes. He says people who socialize sometimes upset him because they tend to not pay attention and hog equipment, making his workout inefficient.

Another disturbing behavior at the gym has to do with something that seems to irk people everywhere -- hearing people talk on their cell phones.

"Nobody needs to hear your conversation," says Re Perez, 31, who has not only experience as a club member, but as staff at an upscale Manhattan gym. He says it's one thing to receive quick calls to get information, but it's another matter to babble away, looking pretentious.

If you must yak, take your chatter outside the workout area. Some gyms have dedicated places for socializing, such as cafes and lobbies.

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