This piece was originally published on ABC News Online.
When it comes to being a good (and safe) gym citizen, it pays to have good etiquette.
Personal trainers see it all: the good, the bad and the stinky. Here are the top seven biggest killers of a healthy gym ecosystem.
Not putting away your weights
Leaving your weights lying around makes you public enemy number one to personal trainers.
As the saying goes: if you’re strong enough to pick it up, you’re strong enough to put it away.
Dumping and running after a workout is Grade-A obnoxious behaviour. Unless you accidentally sever your arm doing biceps curls and need to be carted away on a stretcher, there’s no excuse for not cleaning up after yourself. End of story.
Being an equipment hog
One lat pulldown, 300 people in the gym … you do the math. Yes, we know summer’s almost here and you’ve got a beach body to build, but so does everyone else. So in-between sets, why no let someone else have a go? Having to rest 15 seconds longer isn’t going to deflate your guns. They’ll still get loaded, dude, so calm down and step aside.
And attention all ladies following certain ‘bikini body’ programs (you know who you are): hitting the gym during peak hour with 10 of your girlfriends and using all the dumbbells to perform exercises that don’t actually do anything isn’t just a waste of your time — it’s also super annoying.
Perving … on yourself
We can see you. No matter how subtle you think you’re being, you’re not. We see everything. You’re not standing in front of the mirror lifting up your shirt to wipe your face — you’re not even sweating.
You’re a bro, bro
Are you a male between the ages of 23 and 34 who hits the gym with two to three mates every morning for an upper-body workout? Then sorry to say this, but you’re a bro. Bros are obnoxious, move in packs, talk loudly about their ‘epic’ Saturday night and never train their legs.
In all honesty, you don’t actually do anything too offensive. Just keep these two things in mind: the whole gym doesn’t need to know about your exploits; and maybe throw a few sets of squats in occasionally.
Not having any gym awareness
Gyms are public spaces. They’re also full of other people and can be pretty dangerous places. Which means it’s really important to pay attention and not walk around with your eyes closed. Cardinal sins include:
Unloading a barbell and setting yourself up when someone’s towel and water bottle are clearly beside it — the universal sign it’s being used. (This happened to me twice while training a client within one 45-minute session recently.)
Planting yourself 10 centimetres from someone so you’re basically exercising on top of them. This is the gym equivalent of sitting right next to a person on the train when the carriage is empty.
Using a skipping rope to skip during the lunchtime rush, when there are 50 people trying to train in a space the size of a Surry Hills studio apartment. What could possibly go wrong?
Stinking out the gym
In every gym there are a handful of people who have a reputation for smelling horrific. Now ask yourself: could you be one of them?
In my gym we have two main offenders. We don’t even have to see these guys to know they’ve arrived. When my clients complain too much, punishment is a set of push-ups right beside them.
Showers are pretty easy to come by in the first world — and if you can afford a gym membership, then you can afford deodorant.
Training with poor technique
If you’re iffy on how to do an exercise, especially if you’re doing it with heavy weight, please learn proper technique first.
Watching someone squat with 50 kilograms of weight on their back with collapsed knees and a rounded spine makes a personal trainer’s eyes bleed.
We know you want to throw iron around, but at the very least, have one session with a professional so they can show you the ropes. This is going to save you so much pain (and cash) down the track. Training is meant to prevent injuries — not cause them.
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