Now that swim suit weather is a mere seconds away and motivation is high to get back in shape for the new line of summer fashion, a brief reminder of gym and outdoor etiquette is in order to get us started…
Gym Etiquette Tips:
- The clothes make a difference. Wearing the appropriate workout attire means you’ll feel your best, look great and stay comfortable as you move through your routine. Plus, a new set of workout gear gives you an extra boost of inspiration!
- Don’t drop the weights. If you’re strong enough to get them over your head, you’re strong enough to get them back down to the ground in a safe location so others don’t trip over them. In other words, put away your “toys” after you play with them by re-racking the weights after using them.
- Saving a machine for a friend that may or may not show up is frustrating to others ready to start their workout routines. Also, don’t put your towel on the treadmill to “save” it and then wander off to visit with your friends or update your Facebook page. Share the equipment and allow other guests to work in with you. If there is a time limit on a machine, get off and move on when your time is up.
- Keep your opinions to yourself. Giving unsolicited advice may be taken with appreciation or a grain of salt. Unless someone is in danger of hurting himself or herself, keep your instruction and step by step tutorials to yourself.
- Staring is rude. Overtly checking someone out is nothing short of creepy. Equally off putting is watching someone check themselves out in the mirrors as they make their way through the gym and back to the locker room. You look the same in every mirror!
- Sing at your own discretion. We tend to think that if we can’t hear ourselves, no one else can either. When listening to your favorite music with your ear buds securely in place, remember you are probably singing along at a louder decibel (or two) than you may think.
- Use your towel to wipe off the machine when you are finished using it. Preferably not the same towel you use to wipe your face and body. It’s worth investing in a pack of fitness towels with a germ shield.
- Respect other people’s personal space. If you are waiting for a machine, back up a bit and give the other person room to finish their reps. If someone is stretching before a class, or has placed their mat down for yoga, move your mat over so the other person has room to move freely without hitting you in the head with their foot.
- Personal hygiene. Don’t use the pool as your shower. Soap and water are still your best option. And please, whatever you do, don’t forget deodorant. It’s better to smell fresh as a daisy, rather than stale as an ashtray. On the other hand, don’t over use the cologne or scented lotion. Just come in smelling clean.
- Spitting and other nasty things. Guys…don’t even think about it. Other guys may not tell you but they don’t want to see you do it in the shower or the sinks! And, keep your gum in your mouth until you find a trash can. The water fountain is not the place to leave it behind.
- Leave your cell phone in your gym bag, safely locked in the locker room. Don’t carry your cell phone around with you while you lift weights or put it on the side of the basketball court while you play a game and then complain when it turns up missing (stolen) after the game.
And, finally, a few etiquette tips for the outdoor exercise enthusiast:
- Stay on track. If you are using a public area to run, bike, or jog, but want to take a shortcut back, resist the urge to hop someone’s fence or bike across the golf course. Also steer clear of areas that are close to children, or even remotely populated when you feel the immediate need to relieve yourself and can’t wait another moment.
- Plan for dusk and dawn. It might be more convenient to take your daily run in the early morning or late night hours but keep in mind the limited visibility of oncoming traffic. Wear reflective clothing and use reflectors if you plan a midnight bike ride (which I advise against for safety reasons). Don’t forget to wear your bike helmet, and include a reflector or light.
- Obey traffic laws and be respectful of drivers and pedestrians. Utilize all pedestrian crossings and stop at stop signs if you are on a recreational vehicle. Keep in mind that you are responsible for other people’s safety as much as they are responsible for yours. Don’t surprise a walker from behind, or expect a driver to veer off the road to accommodate you.
- Clean up after your pet. If your exercise routine includes a jog or walk with your dog, bring along some plastic bags for your dog’s waste.
- Walk single file. If you are walking with a group of people, when you see someone walking towards you, allow them to pass by doubling up or walking single file, rather than making them step off onto the grass to allow your entire group to stay together. It’s really very rude!
- No littering. Those plastic water bottles won’t throw themselves away and dropping one on the side of the road or in someone’s yard and committing to circle back and pick it up never happens.
- Dress in layers. There may be a chill in the air when you leave the house but you will quickly warm up when you start moving. Peeling layers off is better than quitting because you are too hot too soon. Guys, when you don’t have an extra layer to shed, keep your T-shirt on and remember what you look like bare chested, carrying around that extra 30 pounds from the holidays.