Fitness and Wellness

7 Ways Not to Piss People Off at the Gym

I’m not exactly the biggest gym enthusiast on the planet (because let’s face it – you don’t need a gym to stay fit), but sometimes you do need that extra influence when your in-home treadmill just isn’t getting your motivational juices flowing.

I just recently started going back to the gym. Yes, I have my own treadmill, mini trampoline … fitness DVDs, YouTube, free weights … stop looking at me like that … At this point, I am waaaaayyyyy too tired when I get home to jump on any of that!

So … I am making a compromise with myself. I eat lunch at my desk, and then I get off my bum and drive over to the gym for my lunch break. That way when I get home I can melt into my sofa and I don’t have to feel guilty about it. And – I don’t have to get up earlier than I already get up either. Win win. Plus – I have even more energy at work afterward and I concentrate better. Bonus!

Are you looking to go back to the gym or are you new at the whole gym thing? It can feel a little weird when you first start out. And sometimes, you just don’t get the unspoken rules. So, let me enlighten you on a few things you should know to keep your fellow gym friends happy.

  1. If You Pick it Up, Put it Back. This is not pre-school. You are not three years-old. As adults, we all understand the concept of cleaning up our own mess. So – just do it. How hard is it to just put the weight or ball back where you found it?
  2. Work it Out, Wipe it Down. Everyone loves to work up a sweat. It makes you feel like you are accomplishing something. And no one wants to take that feeling of awesome away from you. But … no one wants to touch that moment of awesome from you either. Do yourself and others a favor – wipe it down when you’re done. So , if you get on the treadmill and you held on to the bars a little too long … wipe them down. If you used the weight machine and there is a little wet spot where you sat … WIPE IT DOWN! That’s just nasty.
  3. Buy a Lock, Don’t Trip. Even if you aren’t looking to shower and change after your workout quickie, that doesn’t mean everyone else wants to hop over your gym bag or purse. Seriously, locks cost $5. A walk to the locker room and then out again? Takes two minutes. Take the time and spare your fellow gym mates the game of jump or trip.
  4. Don’t Get How Something Works? Ask. Don’t be afraid to ask your fellow gym mates if you don’t know how to do something or can’t find something. They usually don’t bite. Heh. But seriously, most people will be happy to help you. If you happen upon someone who can’t answer your question you will always find gym staff somewhere around who are more than happy to assist.
  5. Mind over Mirrors and Mirrors over Mind. If you are like me, you might hate mirrors. If you are like others who like to make sure they are using the proper form for a particular move, you might look in the mirror a lot. If you do like your own reflection, don’t like it too much as others may need to take a peek at themselves every now and again too. Don’t hog it if there isn’t a lot of “mirror” to go around.
  6. Gyms Are for Tuning in Not Tuning Out. Use your phone or MP3 player to dial in to your workout by taking advantage of a pumped up playlist. Yes! That is great. Use your phone to text your boyfriend, call your mom or play a new level of your favorite game — fail. There’s nothing more annoying than waiting for a weight machine while you watch the inhabitant play with their phone for 20 minutes — all the while they have done nothing with the actual machine — which is the reason they are supposed to be there in the first place. Be mindful that other people are almost always waiting to use the machine you are using. Don’t drag out your time with frivolous things.
  7. Don’t Be a Bench Bully. It’s awkward enough when you have to change in front of strangers, take a shower and then dress in front of them too. Don’t compound the awkwardness by slopping every possession you have on the entire bench everyone in the locker section you are in has to share. Keep your crap to yourself and use a moderate, reasonable amount of space so others can sit down or put some of their stuff down too.

These are a few things that can help you out if you’re a gym newbie — and a few tips even if you’re not!

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Jenna Bensoussan is an entertainment, lifestyle and wellness writer and editor. She served as executive editor for Smart Talk Magazine, associate editor for Counselor Magazine, and continues to serve as contributing editor for ACED Magazine. She has also contributed to newspapers such as the Boynton Times. Bensoussan holds a B.A. in communication and public relations from Florida Atlantic University.