Gym Etiquette: Impress While You Sweat!

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Those of you have been my avid readers for the last ten years know how important etiquette is to your success. Just as table manners at important dining situations, workspace courtesies, and business etiquette are important at the office; there are some firm rules to follow when sharing workout space.

Since losing weight is one of the top three New Year’s resolutions, gyms are going to be particularly overcrowded this time of year – which makes gym etiquette all that more important. People go to the gym to relax, exercise and have a positive experience. So follow these important tips and make sure you don’t ruin someone’s workout and or quite possibly their day! A bonus is that you will make positive connections which could turn into a new client, a new boss or a boyfriend or a girlfriend!

  • Clean Up – This is my pet peeve, people who do not wipe off the equipment when they are finished using it and leave it soaking wet with sweat! This is not right on any level. Wipe up after yourself and this doesn’t mean a quick wipe-it means making sure the bench/seat is completely dry for the next person.
  • Volume Control – There is no doubt listening to great music is motivating at the gym; just remember not everyone wants to hear your music.
  • Turn Off your Cell Phone – As the picture above shows, it is very annoying to other people to have to overhear your personal conversation. Some gyms simply do not allow phones in the gym, but if yours does do yourself a favor and let yourself escape from your life for one hour – and leave your phone in the car. Texting can also be a hazard, if you are not looking where you are going you can easily run into someone or trip over a weight bar!
  • Don’t Think You are a Trainer – Unless asked for input, do not offer unsolicited advice. People do not want to be corrected or interrupted. Your intentions may be honorable, but a wrong suggestion could end up hurting someone.
  • Dress Appropriately – Dress in current gym attire, not the old T-shirt you wore in college. The newer clothes that are made from synthetic fabrics are designed to specifically wick away the sweat, keeping you cooler and drier. Try Lululemon, Lucy, Dri-Fit by Nike or Double Dry by Champion. Ladies, the gym is also not the place to show off your cleavage and butt cracks. Wear a supportive sports-bra and make sure your butt/thong is not exposed. Also, be aware that gym pants that have been washed too many times become see through! Hold up your pants in the light (stretching them slightly) to see if you are showing your goods to the world! Men, this goes for you too – if you sweat a lot, wear a shirt that covers more of you than a tank top so it can absorb more of the moisture. Also, make sure your shorts are not too short when you are doing those sit ups and your legs are in the air!
  • Wear Deodorant (not cologne/perfume) – Just like the office, people can be very sensitive or even allergic to cologne and perfumes. Use a good deodorant and avoid garlic the night before hitting the gym. We expect to sweat at the gym; a little preparation can go a long way.
  • Learn to Share – Let’s face it, this is a lot like getting along on the playground when we were in grade school. Don’t hog gym equipment. If you are in the middle of a circuit routine and taking a short break, let others slip in between sets. Don’t leave a towel on the machine expecting people not to use the equipment. Share and share a like. It is also courteous to not rush people who you can see are in the middle of a set. Asking someone if they are “almost done” while they are obviously using the equipment is not polite and will not win you friends.
  • Avoid Breakouts – When we sweat it produces bacteria. Our normal response is to touch our face with our hands which spreads the bacteria and creates breakouts. The solution is to use your towel to blot (not wipe) your face not your hands. Another solution is to use disposable wipes or towelettes to wipe down your body (or face depending on the type you purchase) if you are not able to shower right after your workout. This will help you avoid breakouts and bumps on your back and other sensitive areas.

Looking great and feeling great go hand in hand to make you feel confident and enjoy success. Every person views success in a fitness regimen differently. For some their #1 fitness priority is to work off stress. Other’s simply want to have a healthy heart. For others it is all about weight loss. Whatever your fitness goals are, I encourage you to “dress for the body you are in”. Don’t WAIT to dress attractive because you are not the size you want to be. Enjoy the journey and be good to yourself along the way. If your fitness regimen takes you to the gym, I trust the above tips will help you have an even more pleasant experience – the other people will enjoy the side benefits too!

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