Gym Etiquettes

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Gyms are busier than ever this time of year. So, what is the proper etiquette for navigating a crowded gym? Is it ok to toss your towel onto a treadmill to reserve a machine? Diane Gottsman is a national etiquette expert, sought out industry leader, accomplished speaker, author and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas. Diane says whether you’ve been working out forever, or you are first-timer, you need to know the do’s and don’ts for gym etiquette.

Some of Diane Gottsman’s tips for gym etiquette do’s and don’ts include:

  1. Do Dress Appropriately.  Wearing the appropriate workout attire means you’ll feel your best, a get a better workout. If you are wearing too baggy clothing you will be distracted by your clothes catching on a weight, or too revealing is distracting, and comes across as a bit desperate for attention. Neither are good starts to a great workout.
  2. Don’t drop the weights.  If you’re strong enough to get them over your head, you’re strong enough to get them back down to the ground in a safe location so others don’t trip over them. In other words, put away your “toys” after you play with them by re-racking the weights after using them.
  3. Don’t Save a Machine. If your friend is getting a drink of water, that’s one thing. But, putting your towel on the treadmill to “save” it for someone that may or may not show up is impolite. Share the equipment and allow other guests to work in with you.  If there is a time limit on a machine, get off and move on when your time is up.
  4. Do Mind Your Own Business. Giving unsolicited advice may be taken with appreciation or a grain of salt.  Unless someone is in danger of hurting himself or herself, keep your instruction and step-by-step tutorials to yourself.
  5. Don’t Stare.  Overtly checking someone out is nothing short of creepy. Equally off-putting is watching someone check themselves out in the mirrors as they make their way through the gym and back to the locker room. You look the same in every mirror!
  6. Don’t Sing. When listening to your favorite music with your ear buds securely in place, remember you are probably singing along at a louder decibel (or two) than you may think.
  7. Do Wipe Down the Machine Before Moving On. Preferably not the same towel you use to wipe your face and body. It’s worth investing in a pack of fitness towels with a germ shield. Use the disinfectant the gym provides specifically for this purpose.
  8. Do Back Up. Respect other people’s personal space and take a step back while waiting for the weights or machine. If someone is stretching before a class, or has placed their mat down for yoga, move your mat over so the other person has room to move freely without hitting you in the head with their foot.
  9. Don’t Use the Pool as Your Shower. Soap and water are still your best option. And please, whatever you do, don’t forget deodorant.  It’s better to smell fresh as a daisy, rather than stale as an ashtray.  On the other hand, don’t over use the cologne or scented lotion.  Just come in smelling clean.
  10. Don’t Spit in the Sink. Guys…don’t even think about spitting in the shower, water fountain or sink. And, keep your gum in your mouth until you find a trash can.  The water fountain is not the place to leave it behind.
  11. Do Leave Your Cell Phone In Your Gym Bag (Safely Locked Up in the Locker Room). Don’t carry your cell phone around with you while you lift weights or put it on the side of the basketball court while you play a quick game and then complain when it turns up missing or stolen.

Diane specializes in executive leadership and etiquette training, with clients ranging from university students to Fortune 500 companies, and her seminars cover topics ranging from tattoos in the workplace to technology at the dinner table and the proper use of social media. Her advice is backed by a Master’s Degree in Sociology with an emphasis on adult behavior.  Visit dianegottsman.com and www.protocolschooloftexas.com