We all know January is the number one busiest month at the gym, right? Just in case you missed my at-home winter workouts post and your New Year’s Resolution included a gym membership, I decided to give you 8 timely tips on how to be the best gym-goer you can be. And, no, this is not about how to have the best workout. This is about how to ensure that when long-time, grumpy members are rolling their eyes at the new influx of people, it will never be directed at you.
1. Be nice to the people who work there. From the front desk staff to the cleaner to the trainers (yes, even the ones who hog up a bunch of machines and space with their client’s 17-exercise circuit at rush hour), being nice will get you a long way. If you’re planning on being a regular at the gym, won’t you want to be on good terms with the people you see on a (hopefully) near-daily basis?
2. Be nice to the regular gym-goers. See point one. These are people who will most likely become familiar faces. A smile and a greeting makes 6 a.m. much more pleasant than a blank stare. If they’re rude and don’t return the smile and greeting, keep doing it every time you see them -- if only because it will annoy them! Hee hee.
3. Don’t take up a ridiculous amount of space, especially during prime time. Believe me, that 17-exercise circuit trainer is not a favorite of his colleagues, either. You can still do a circuit-style strength workout if you want, just try to limit it to one area of the gym. If you want to use a particular machine and someone’s doing sets on it, it’s good etiquette to politely ask if you can “work in,” which means you do a set while the other person is resting. It’s poor etiquette for them to point blank refuse, at which point you should remember their face and then smile and give a cheery greeting every time you see them again (see point two).
4. Wipe down everything. Even if you use the treadmill for a three-minute warm-up, wipe it down after you use it. Even if you get on the treadmill and the emergency switch has been pulled so you immediately need to use the one next to it without so much as starting it ... wipe it down. The person who looks up just as you get off the machine without wiping it is going to associate you with every time she has laid down on a bench, only to realize it is covered in puddles of sweat. (Eww!) Being the gym-goer known for obsessively cleaning their equipment is not a bad thing.
5. Know the gym rules before you set foot on the floor. Most gyms are cellphone-free -- respect that rule above all else, because there’s nothing complained about more in a gym than people talking on their cellphones. It is just not okay. Know what the time limit for the cardio equipment is and go over it at your peril. If you’re the only person in the gym, then go for it, run a half marathon on that bad boy. But if there’s anyone waiting, you’re bringing on the wrath of that person standing RIGHT behind you, sighing loudly (you’ll hear it through your headphones), and ready to get in your face the moment your time clock ticks a second over the allowed time. Smile, give that person a cheery apology, and wipe it down.
6. Don’t stand RIGHT behind someone on the cardio machines, sighing loudly enough for them to hear it through their headphones, ready to get in their face the moment their time clock ticks a second over the allowed time. It’s just not cool, not polite, and not called for. It’s obnoxious.
7. When you’re taking a group exercise class, try to get there on time, if not even a little early. It’s a great idea to introduce yourself to the instructor to let them know you’re new. Instructors appreciate this, and they can help you find a spot to set your stuff up. The classes are notorious for having a hierarchy about which space belongs to which regular, and the instructor will help you navigate those invisible fences. If you’re running late, just try to find a spot toward the back, so if there’s any point where you’re unsure of the moves, you’re not annoying the rest of the class who are half watching you for the choreography.
8. Prove all those annoyed members wrong by sticking with your gym routine past the end of January! Everyone was a new member of the gym once, so don’t pay attention to the grouches who are irritated by the extra crowd.
So, did you join a gym this New Year? If you're already a regular at the gym, are you annoyed by new members? Or do you welcome them with open arms?