For new exercisers, understanding gym etiquette can be a daunting task. Here's some advice to master these sometimes unspoken rules of the gym.
Re-rack your own weights
Numerous times, I’ve witnessed patrons struggling to re-rack the eight 45-pound plates that the bodybuilder before them left on the machine. This is not fair.
Each patron should be responsible for putting away the weights that he or she uses. If you’re strong enough to lift it, you are strong enough to put it back.
Wipe down your machine after use
There’s nothing more disgusting than settling in on a machine, only to find you’re lying in a puddle of someone else’s sweat.
To avoid causing this issue, locate the sanitation stations around the gym. Use the provided wipes or towels to disinfect your equipment immediately after use. If you’re unable to find the designated disinfectant, ask the weight room attendant.
I get it. You came to the gym with your mind set on using a specific machine, only to find it’s taken. Instead of creepily hovering around waiting for the current user to leave, look for a similar exercise you can do while you wait.
For example, if you plan to do squats, but all the racks are taken, complete a few reps on the leg press until a rack becomes available. This allows you to keep an eye on the prize, while continuing your workout.
There will come a time within your fitness journey, when you arrive at the gym and realize you forgot your headphones. When this happens, avoid playing your music without headphones.
When I forget my headphones, I typically focus on the gym’s background music as I work out. It may not be my playlist, but it’s an effective alternative.
Avoid hogging popular equipment.
When you are fortunate enough to secure a coveted piece of equipment, it’s tempting to stay on it for the entirety of your workout. However, I encourage you to limit your use to 30 minutes or less during peak times.
At my gym, stair masters are in high demand. When I secure one of these, I end my workout at 30 minutes to allow others an opportunity to use the machine. After about 10-15 minutes, if no one else claims the stair master, I return to complete my workout.
1 of 17
After Joe Adams had a heart attack, he underwent numerous procedures to get his heart in working order. Just when it seemed things were on the right track, his heart started to fail again. Read more.
Tamara Mosby-Montegut started working out as a stress reliever. Now she wants to keep up with her husband when he tackles 50 pushups in a row. And she wants her daughter to follow their healthy examples. Read more.
Varun Narayanan wanted to shed the pounds he packed on during the holidays a few years ago. He dropped from 230 pounds down to 195. Now he treks up active volcanoes. Read more.
After giving birth to her fourth baby, Susan Sawyer wanted to drop the baby weight. She took up Jazzercise. Sawyer's stuck with the dance-based exercise for nearly 35 years. Read more.
Jessica Hawley thought her third pregnancy was different because she was having a girl. But baby number three was another boy. The pregnancy felt different because she was more fit this time around. Read more.
When Gary Gundy started having trouble getting up after squatting down for target practice, he knew it was time for a change. The La Vista man dropped 80 pounds in three years. Read more.
Valerie Heath started shedding pounds by using the family's Wii. Now she belongs to a CrossFit gym and works out six days a week. Read more.
To be around for her family, Ashlei Spivey needed to get in shape. She joined a boxing gym. Now her workouts leave her feeling like she stepped out of a movie. Read more.
Betty Watt survived a sometimes trying career as a middle school teacher. Then she beat cancer twice. And the whole time she was a regular at the gym. Watt and her husband Charlie workout at least five days a week. Read more.
Erika Hanna sometimes has a pint-sized workout buddy during her morning classes. Her son Henrik, 18 months, offered hugs as she held a plank position and occasionally chased a loose exercise ball around the room. The studio gives Hanna a chance to stick close to her kids while staying on top of her own health and fitness. Read more.
Gwen Leyden wound up spending a week in a wheelchair because of a chronic condition. Leyden gradually was able to walk without using a cane. Later she started using the treadmill and eventually worked up to weightlifting. Read more.
With high blood pressure — and the possibility of needing cholesterol meds — Rich Hazuka was headed down a dangerous path. He dropped 75 pounds thanks to diet changes. When he plateaued, he took up exercise. Now he's off his blood pressure meds and has no need for any cholesterol medication. Read more.
George Mach can't help but wake up well before dawn. With that free time, the early riser started a gym routine. He hits the gym three days a week. Read more.
As Gregg Learned aged, arthritis made physical activity a chore. He struggled to walk across the parking lot at work. But joining a gym has helped Learned to stay on his feet. Read more.
At one time, Laura Adams could barely finish a lap around the walking track. But the Bellevue woman, who weighed 300 pounds, stuck it out and dropped 115 pounds. Read more.
Vince Huerta has always tried to keep active. He decided to give powerlifting a shot and now, the Omaha South grad holds a number of records for the weight he's hoisted. Read more.
Paul Stultz takes swimming seriously. He joined a Masters Swimming club and is working on nailing strokes like the freestyle and butterfly. But one of his biggest accomplishments was hiking the Grand Canyon. Read more.