10 Most Common Gym Mistakes

10 Most Common Gym Mistakes

Whether it’s your first time at the gym or you just need an etiquette refresher, there are habits that literally nobody likes and can be avoided. Consequently,  I have compiled a list of the 10 Most Common Gym Mistakes that were voiced and recorded by the regulars.

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  1. Hogging the machine. How many times have you heard as a child, “be nice and share.” Maybe a few individuals missed that lesson in kindergarten. Generally, in most health clubs and gyms, there is a sign which indicates a 30-minute time limit for cardiovascular equipment. However, inevitably, there is one guy or girl who feels privileged and can remain on the elliptical for 45 minutes or even an hour during the busy time, without consequences. If you feel like 30 minutes isn’t enough cardio, then split up your workout. You can either jump on another piece of cardio equipment like the treadmill or stepmill for the additional time. Or, you can go to the weight room and do some strength training. Remember, you can also share in the weight room. Only take the dumbbells that you are actually going to use, and try not to stockpile your weights.

  2. Stealing a machine. Often times, you may leave a piece of equipment to go to make a quick trip to the restroom, or for a sip of water. When you return,  someone jumped onto your machine. This is a pet peeve for any gym regular! IF you plan on leaving your piece of equipment, keep your eye on it or leave your water bottle. Try to return within a minute or two to ensure you still have possession. IF someone leaves their piece of equipment, be mindful and wait a few minutes before you acquiesce it.

  3. Leaving your stamp of bodily fluids on the equipment. It is not only disgusting to think about sharing your sweat with others but it can also spread serious germs, including cold viruses, the flu, and the nasty staph infections, An easy solution would be to put a towel between you and the equipment, then wipe it down after, regardless of whether you’re profusely sweating or not. Another suggestion would be to do a preliminary wipe-down. Remember not everyone cleans up after they are finished on a machine.

  4. Not Re-racking your weights. The question that comes to mind every time at the gym, “do you think the weights are going to rack themselves?” When you are done with your selected pieces of equipment,  the proper etiquette is to return it to the same place you found it. No one should have to clean up after you, and no one should have to wander around looking for a piece of equipment like the 12-pound dumbbell. Returning gear to its rightful home is helpful in order to keep the floor space clear of hazards.

  5. Unnecessary grunting, loud music, and dropping of weights. If you always wear headphones and listen to music at the gym, you may or may not notice the loud grunting noises coming from the weight room. However, it may hit you one time where you have a “stage four screamer” on the squat rack. This is disturbing for anyone in the gym. If you’re grunting or slamming weights on the ground, reconsider how heavy you're lifting. Realistically, you want to use appropriate weight in which you can control the weight through the whole range of motion of the exercise and control it to safely as you put it down. Otherwise, you may end up hurting yourself, or someone next to you. Also, make sure the volume of your headphones are at a level that only you can hear. Again, the idea is to preserve your own eardrums and spare your fellow gym-goers the aggravation.

  6. Talking on the phone. In most gyms, you will see a sign prohibiting cell phone usage in the workout areas. This is simply recognized as proper gym etiquette. Obviously, talking on your cell phone can be really distracting and disruptive to other people’s workouts. Check your cell phone conversations at the entrance.

  7. Hoarding the space around you. Between the extra equipment and your personal belongings, you have managed to take up the majority of the floor space. Try using a locker, which most gyms have, for your personal belongings. But you might need to bring your own lock, or consider leaving valuables in your locked car or at home before you head to the gym. However,  it’s not just your gear that might get in people's way. Think about how close you are working out next to other guy. Many people will take weights off a rack and use them directly in front of you. Think of yourself and carefully stake out your real estate when it’s really busy. Be mindful about where you actually are in the space at the gym.

  8. Gym Eavesdropping and Social Hour. Have you ever noticed while on the treadmill that the person next to you may be eavesdropping on your conversation with your friend? The surprising pet peeve is when that strange person makes a comment or facial expression in response to your comments. Bug off! Or how about the water cooler group hanging around the leg press and leg curl machines? The common misconception in this situation is that the machines are inviting more talking than exercising. This is not social hour, although many people may use the equipment as a couch at a coffee shop. Keep moving! The idea is to keep your heart rate up while you exercise, not your mouth open.

  9. The Omnipotent Workout Person. There is always one person at the gym who may look like the fitness guru and readily gives recommendations to those gym irregulars. Don’t be fooled! Your individualized exercise program may not be up to par in their opinion, but remember your body is different than theirs. You can follow your own workout plan and seek the right advice from a professional personal trainer.

  10. Excessive Locker Room Nudity. Maybe you’re in a habit of walking naked at home, but please do not feel that this is appropriate behavior in the gym’s locker room. A quick change of clothes is seemingly harmless. But, you flagrantly walk around in your “birthday suit”, sitting your bare bottom on the bench and carelessly flashing your private parts to all in the locker room is unacceptable. Keep mindful of others and their comfort level in the locker room.

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Although the gym may be an intimidating place, there is a secret code of conduct. Checking off and avoiding these pet peeves before you head to the gym may help.  These common gym mistakes are meant as a way to keep you and other gym goers safe, help you feel more confident and comfortable, and get the most out of your gym visit.  

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