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Fitness & Exercise

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.
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The Grunters

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 neck."

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.

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