The “DO NOT” list:
1) DO NOT sweat all over any type of equipment without properly and immediately cleaning it.
I am a firm believer that a GOOD workout means a SWEATY workout, so I’m definitely not telling you to refrain from sweating. However, once you are done using a piece of equipment WIPE IT DOWN. Be sure to use the cleaning solution and/or towels provided by the gym. People hit the gym to get fit, not to get ringworm. There shouldn’t be a trail of sweat behind you during your workout.
2) DO NOT sit on a piece of equipment while resting between sets.
Unless you are in a private training studio, you are likely sharing the equipment with many other patrons who want to get their workout done in a timely manner. If you are doing multiple sets using one piece of equipment, do not occupy it while you rest. Get up and allow others to use it while you’re not. You can even let someone else know you’re planning on returning in a minute by saying something like “I have 2 more sets left but you’re welcome to work in with me”.
3) DO NOT drop or slam weights.
If you can not put the weight down properly, then don’t pick it up in the first place. Trust me, nobody else appreciates or cares that you can drop heavy things repeatedly. If you’re trying to gain strength, find a spotter to help you lift heavy.
4) DO NOT talk/text on your cell phone.
This coincides well with #2. Do not, under any circumstances, take a rest between sets and strike up a conversation on your cell while occupying a piece of equipment. This accomplishes one thing- establishing yourself as “THAT guy/girl” in the gym. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who wants to “work in with you” on your sets after that.
5) DO NOT do what the guy/girl next to you is doing.
By this I mean, do not try to duplicate the exercises that people around you are performing. This is for several reasons, the most important being your safety. Not everyone in the gym knows what they’re doing; copying someone’s improper form can be a recipe for disaster. Need another reason? The person who you’re attempting to copy might be a very skilled & very fit. So fit, in fact, that they could make a difficult exercise look easy as pie. Incorrectly assuming you can do it just as well, only to pull/tear/break something is definitely not worth your while.
The Please DO list:
1) Please DO be courteous and respectful of those working out around you.
Let folks have their space and try not to cramp people’s style. During peak hours, the gym can get very crowded but it makes all the difference when everyone is attempting to be respectful of other patrons.
2) Please DO oblige if someone else asks you to spot them and you can safely do so.
If the load is too heavy or you do not know how to correctly spot someone, now is NOT the time for trial and error. Simply let the person know that you don’t think you can do it safely. They will be happy you did. If you CAN safely spot them, take a second out of your own routine to do so. Why? There’s this thing called karma…..
3) Please DO return all equipment to its proper “home” in the gym.
Pick up heavy things & put them back down…..but do so in the proper place. There’s nothing worse than reaching for the 30lb dumbbells and instead finding 65lbs instead. Re-rack all plates, barbels & dumbbells when you’ve finished using them. Put away medicine balls, tubing, mats, jump ropes, etc. after your workout. Take it from me- the gym staff will like you a LOT better if you do!
4) Please DO remember to clean up after yourself.
I realize I’ve mentioned cleanliness several times already, but I can not stress this enough. The gym is not yours to sweat all over; it is a public, shared space that should be clean for all patrons. Clean up your dripping sweat, put your sweat-soaked towels in the proper bins, and take all of your belongings home with you.
5) Please DO consult a certified trainer if you have questions about proper form.
Instead of watching those around you & trying to mimic their routines, ask a trainer your questions. Yes, 99% of the time it will cost extra money, but paying for a safe and effective program is well worth it.