Whether you're dropping in on a tabata class or hitting the treadmill, there are certain unwritten gym rules that are crucial to keep in mind. Because while there's no right or wrong way to break a sweat, there is a right way to behave while you're doing so. Think of it as fitness karma - though these guidelines may not actually be posted anywhere, you're ultimately helping to make the facility a better place. Plus, everyone else will appreciate you abiding by them.
Are you a newbie to the gym? Don't fret - just follow this guide to minding your manners:
- Clean your equipment after using it. Most gyms have disinfectant wipes or spray bottles conveniently on hand. Wiping down the handheld grips on your stair climber, the seat in that leg press machine and your yoga mat isn't just a courtesy - it keeps germs and bacteria from spreading to other people.
- Put your cell phone away. Of course, if you're using it as an MP3 player, feel free to scan your playlist and get some motivational tunes going. However, there's no reason to talk, take selfies or text incessantly. Many facilities have rules about this because not only can cameras threaten members' privacy, but they are also just disrupting to those around you. Consider your gym time a chance to disconnect and you'll probably get a better workout because you won't be distracted.
- Remember to put everything away. Leaving exercise balls, dumbbells and other items on the floor is a safety hazard. You know how frustrating it is when you can't find that Pilates ring you need? That's why it's important to return equipment to its proper place.
- Keep an eye on the time. Most gyms have a 30-minute time limit for cardio machines during peak hours, like right after work. Be respectful and follow this rule - besides, half an hour on the elliptical is plenty of time to get a great workout.
- It might seem like a no-brainer, but make sure to wear deodorant to keep B.O. at bay. The malin+goetz eucalyptus deodorant fits conveniently in your bag or locker and contains odor-neutralizing citronellyl, as well as eucalyptus, a natural antibacterial deterrent.
- Be late for class. There are usually a certain number of spots in group exercise classes, and if you arrive 15 minutes in, yours was likely already taken by someone who was on time. Coming in five minutes late may be acceptable, but keep in mind you may miss important instructions as well as the warm-up, which could cause a risk of injury.
- Wear ill-fitting clothing, or you might have a wardrobe malfunction. It's worth investing in apparel that makes you feel confident, not self-conscious - particularly in regard to a quality sports bra.
- Don't hover by the machinery you want to use. If someone is on that seated leg press too long, take the opportunity to try out some new equipment while you wait, and you may be surprised that you find a new favorite.
- Conversely, don't hog the equipment. If you're doing multiple sets and it looks like someone's been waiting for you to switch, let them slip in while you take a short break in between.