Some people like working out alone. If they work from home, for instance, they may get an exercise bike, a yoga mat, or some free weights. They can get in a workout anytime they like, with just their cat or dog keeping them company.
Others like getting gym memberships and working out with others around them. Some might enjoy the camaraderie, while others like all the workout equipment they can use.
If you enjoy public workouts, you should follow certain rules, and not just the ones the gym explicitly mentions when you join. We’ll talk about some of those right now. You should respect everyone around you while getting your pump on.
Don’t Leer at People
Some civil harassment restraining orders come about because people can’t behave themselves in gyms. You might have an active libido, but if you see someone attractive in a gym, you shouldn’t stare at them. You’re going to make them uncomfortable.
Humans have eyes, and they’ll always see what’s around them as long as their vision keeps functioning. You can assess who’s around you with your peripheral vision, and you might even smile if someone makes eye contact.
You shouldn’t view that as an invitation to start up an in-depth conversation, though. If someone talks to you and seems interested, you might pick up on those signals, but even in those situations, exercise extreme caution. There’s a fine line between talking about the weather or a football game the night before and asking this person out because you feel they’re hitting on you.
It’s not inconceivable you might get a date out of a gym encounter, but usually, people view gyms as places where they’re getting a workout in and nothing else.
Wipe Off the Machines When You Finish
If you perspire while working out, as many people do, you should wipe off the machines when you finish using them. You can bring along a small towel without much trouble and carry it with you.
If you know you sweat quite a lot, make sure you’re not leaving puddles everywhere. You can also use deodorant and sweat-wicking clothing. Many companies make it, and if you can figure out an outfit that discourages sweat but still offers comfort, go with that.
Don’t Hog the Workout Equipment
You might want your turn on a piece of machinery in the gym, but understand that others want a shot as well. If your gym only has one machine that exercises a certain muscle group, do your sets briskly and then move on to the next one.
You can also see whether a larger gym might have more than one of the same machine if you find lines every time you’re working out and going from station to station. More expensive gyms often have duplicates for peak workout hours.
If You’re Using Social Media, Do So Respectfully
These days, it’s not uncommon that you might see someone in a gym with their smartphone close by. They’ll have it recording while they lift weights, run on a treadmill, or do a complex yoga routine. They might narrate while they’re doing it, or they may have a workout buddy acting as director and commenting on their form.
This might irritate you, but there’s nothing wrong with it as long as these individuals show the proper respect. That means not getting angry if you walk through their shot or work out somewhere in the background.
You shouldn’t deliberately mess up a video someone’s shooting, but at the same time, they can’t expect you to avoid an entire section of the gym because they don’t want anyone else in their video. You must strike a balance between courtesy and getting the gym time you deserve.
Some gyms these days institute no smartphone recording policies. That’s often helpful, but if your gym doesn’t have such a policy in place, you should navigate these murky waters as best you can. Hopefully, you won’t step on anyone’s toes, and they’ll do the same for you.
Don’t Talk to People with Earbuds in or Headphones On
Earlier, we mentioned how you might say hi if someone greets you or smiles, but you shouldn’t launch into a diatribe unless you’re sure they’re interested. You can also look at body language and usually detect whether someone doesn’t want any conversation.
Often, these individuals will signal they’re in workout mode and don’t want any small talk by having headphones on or earbuds in. That’s almost always a sure sign they’re locked into what they’re doing and don’t want any outside distractions.
Look for these nonverbal cues. Where earbuds or headphones appear, mind this individual’s personal space and avoid engaging with them.
Show Good Class Etiquette
You might take a spin or yoga class if the gym has those. You should make sure you sign up in advance and can keep up if you’re interested.
Sometimes, you might make friends and enjoy these classes, but you may also not have the same endurance as those who take them regularly. It makes sense to have private lessons first if you’re not sure you can keep up.
If you don’t know much about the techniques used in class or you’re a total newbie, you may also watch some videos at home and see whether what they do in these classes appeals. If you take a class and fall behind, or you’re clumsy when attempting the moves, you’ll distract those around you. There’s nothing wrong with taking a class, but you should make sure you’re on the same fitness level as your new classmates.
These rules should help you as you get your gym membership and start working out around other people. They can help motivate you, and usually, you’ll have positive experiences in the workout space.
If you’re disruptive in any way, though, you won’t make any friends. Show respect, and you’ll usually get it. If anyone hassles you, you can also notify the gym staff.