It's 5:30 on a Monday evening at the local gym, raining outside and everyone in town is trying to get in shape for beach season. I can't seem to do everything I had planned so I compromise and work with what I can. In the meantime, one guy is texting his girlfriend while standing in front of the squat rack, another guy is performing "super sets" on the bench and bicep curl machine while the other guy is flexing in the mirror. What is going on?! Starting in a gym or fitness center can be an uncomfortable experience, but if you go into it knowing what to expect ahead of time, you may feel a little more at ease. For those of you who are comfortable in the gym, well maybe you're too comfortable and need to be a little more aware of your surroundings.
First of all, put your weights back on the rack when you're done using them! It's not the college kid's job that is working the front desk to go around and pick up after you. You're at the gym lifting weights, pick the weight off of the machine and put it back. Going to the gym to be lazy is like "jumbo shrimp", makes no sense! Besides, some people using the equipment after you may not be able to lift what you put on the machine in the first place!
If you're one of those guys that sweats all over the place, wipe the machine down after or use a towel between you and the equipment. Most gyms give out towels when you walk in.
When it is busy, don't use the power/squat rack to do bicep curls or shrugs when there is a thousand other places to do them! That is the safest place to squat and somebody is probably waiting to use it! Also, when it is busy, super-setting may not be the best idea! Tying up two pieces of equipment just leaves me at one of them wondering who is using it!
Who thinks grabbing the jump rope and doing a couple sets in the middle of the free weight area is a good idea?! Do I need to explain why?!
Why are you dropping your weights when you're done with your set? Any idea how much they cost? Probably around $2-3 per pound! A 90 pound dumbbell is not cheap, so don't drop it and let the handle snap off!
Another courtesy is to avoid working out in between somebody and the mirror, especially during heavy lifts. Just wait until they're done with their set and then move into that area if need be. Watching yourself in the mirror helps to maintain proper form and nobody wants to stare at the back of your head while performing a heavy lift.
If you need to use the machine that I am on, please don't stand there and stare at me. Ask to work in or find another way to perform the exercise, I'm sure there is ten other ways of doing it! If I'm taking too long, asking to work in or how many sets are left usually speeds things up.
Cell phones, cell phones, cell phones. Don't text at the gym while sitting on a machine when someone else could be waiting for you to finish!
Oh, and don't ask someone if they're using something in the middle of an exercise! Wait 30 seconds for them to finish and then ask.
The bottom line is to just be aware of others in the gym and respect that others are sharing the same equipment that way we can all have an enjoyable experience!
I'd love to hear any other tips you may have!
Thanks for reading and please "share" so that we can all BeneFIT!
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Dr. Mark Giovanini
Scott Rusin is the Director of Physical Therapy at the Sandestin Executive Health & Wellness Center in Sandestin Resort, Miramar Beach, FL. He has a degree in Physical Therapy, is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Nike Golf NG360 Performance Specialist Powered by the Gray Institute.