Gym etiquette is often overlooked, but I felt the need to go into detail about some important aspects of it. Like many sports there are principles put in place to create a tolerable environment. So here are the five things you need to know.
Talking while training
Talking to someone while they are training can be disruptive. If you're trying to talk with them the focus that they have while exercising can cause them injure themselves such as pulling a muscle or accidentally dropping a weight. Unless you know the person and both of you are used to talking while training, it is not a good idea to engage with a stranger until after they've completed their set.
You never really know what frame of mind people are in while they're in the gym. Some people are trying to relieve stress from their everyday lives. This time can be used as their alone time. Or they could be preparing for some kind of event or reaching a personal goal to fit into that dress, suit, etc,. So it's important to remember to give others their space and wait until they are done with their workout.
Wearing clean clothes
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is wearing the same clothes you wore yesterday after a long nasty, sweaty workout. Pig-Pen could be your nickname. You may notice people veering away as you move from machine to machine. It doesn't take much to have a couple clean shirts, underwear and shorts available. There's nothing more distracting than working out next to BO strong enough to knock out a horse. And I'm speaking to the fellas mainly because I got news for you, if you're aim is to catch women by creating a nice physique - the first thing you need to work on is your hygiene.
Sweat on Equipment
Sweat can be a good thing. It tells you that your pores are working and you're training hard. The biggest problem with sweat is that it rubs off on everything. The worst thing that can happen when you walk into the gym and sit on a bench is that you lay in a puddle of some stranger's pool of water. Especially for those who go on the treadmill for a 30 to 40 minute warm up and then drip down the aisles to the weight room. Then decide to go train with free weights grabbing dumb bells. It can be dangerous for the next person who unexpectedly grabs a dumb bells which can slip and crush a toe or flies into the mirror. Word of advice - don't forget your beach towel.
To Spot or Not to Spot
Everybody needs a little help sometimes but unwanted and the wrong type of help can be a nuisance if not a danger. Let's say you're on the bench press and you're down to your last two reps. Here comes Mr. Save-the-Day who then snatches the bar up, re-racking it, even though you still have another rep or two left. The problem with this situation is that Mr. Save-the-Day didn't bother to ask you if you needed help. He may have also just injured you as he yanked the bar from your hands.
Spotting someone while they are doing a set takes communication and an understanding of what the individual is trying to accomplish. By just running over blindly and interrupting someone's set is wrong and dangerous. My point is unless you see a barbell lying on someone's neck, you should not intervened unless asked to do so.
Safety While Lifting
Lifting weights is serious business. A lot of people in the gym today don't really understand how dangerous it is. I've seen people drop weights on themselves, break the gym mirrors and almost hit other people. When you go into the gym, it's almost like driving a car - if you are not alert, focused and ready to go you can definitely get into an accident.
Proper form and technique is another important factor. Many times people will attempt to train heavier just because they've been stuck at the same weight for the last year or more. Lifting more weight when done improperly will only cause injury to your joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons and prevent you from any possible gains in the future. However, training with proper technique and form, will maximize your results, prevent injury and when you do gain the extra strength, your body will display a big difference.
It is important to be aware of your surroundings. Like driving a car, lift defensively and never trust the machines or the weights you get under because nothing is fail proof.
Curtis Fisher is a personal trainer, diet consultant and body builder. You can find more fitness and diet tips at his blog Diet What Nots | Training, Eating, Science.