If any of you have worked out in an especially busy gym, during peak hours perhaps, you’ll know right off the bat, exactly how frustrating it can be with all of the different people there. With different gyms, you will find different faces and different personalities, and naturally, sometimes there can be clashes. As a gym regular however, you quickly learn that there are a number of unspoken laws of the gym, that must be adhered to at all times. These are not official laws or rules, they are, as mentioned, unspoken and are considered a common courtesy. These unofficial laws aren’t designed to make life awkward, or difficult, they’re designed to make life easier, more enjoyable, and more productive for each and every member in the gym. Most of them are basic common sense, although there are a few that do slip under some people’s radars, which can be incredibly frustrating for other members. For that reason, and to help make things as clear and concise as possible, here’s a look at the 6 unspoken laws of the gym.
Some of you will be able to relate to this, whilst those of you who train in more conservative commercial outlets, may not. In any event, one thing that most gyms tend to have, is a guy, or gal, who insists on screaming at the top of their lungs during each and every single set they perform. We’re not talking about grunting, or even the occasional raising of the voice, we’re talking about full on screaming at the tops of their lungs. If you feel the need to scream so loud that your throat hurts the next day, choose a lighter weight that you do feel more in control of. Chances are that if you do have to scream when performing each rep, the weight you’re using is too heavy anyways, so your form will probably be poor. Some people scream to help draw attention to themselves, as they love hogging the limelight, especially if they are lifting pretty heavy weights. What they don’t realise however, is that by screaming like a banshee when they’re lifting, all they’re doing is making themselves look foolish, and annoying other gym members. As well as that, it can be very off putting to other gym-goers, if they’re trying to work through a set with somebody screaming at the top of their lungs in the background, so don’t do it.
Use gym lockers
Another very annoying thing that gym members tend to do, is to carry their gym bag and towels around the gym with them, and set them down next to them wherever they go. If they’re using a bench for example, they’ll often place their belongings on the bench next to them, taking up space and making others think that the bench is in use. It’s common courtesy to therefore store belongings in the gym lockers, or storage areas, although you may wish to keep your towel handy whilst you train, just make sure it’s kept out of the way. Another risk of storing items and belongings in this way, is that they could be trip hazards, and if another member happens to trip over your bag, whilst carry a set of heavy dumbbells, the outcome is not going to be pretty.
Of course if you train with a buddy, or get on with other members down at the gym, you can have quick catch ups and conversations, although if you do plan on going on and on for ages, take it outside of the gym and get out of the way so that other members can make use of the equipment. There are some people who will perform a set on a certain exercise, see their buddy on the next machine, and then strike up a 10 – 15 minute conversation, maybe performing another 2 or 3 sets during that period. That means that that’s two machines that are being taken up, just because you’re too inconsiderate to either cut your conversation short and catch up after training, or to take the conversation outside of the gym, or out of the way. Another incredibly annoying thing that people tend to do, is to answer their phones in the gym, and again, rather than going outside, taking the call, and worse still, taking the call whilst still sat on a bench or a machine.
Re-rack weights and replace equipment
If you’re looking for a guaranteed way of getting in the bad books of the gym owner, as well as the gym members in the process, failing to re-rack your weights is a great way of doing so. If you use plate loaded machines for example, when you finish that exercise, don’t just get up and move on, remove the weights and re-rack them on the weight tree. Don’t just leave them for the next person to remove, and certainly don’t just leave them on the floor as that is dangerous, and incredibly annoying. The same applies to all other pieces of equipment as well. If you get a new rope attachment, bar, or mat, when you have done with it, return it back to where you got it from and where it belongs.
Train in designated areas for specific functions
Another guaranteed way of really alienating yourself, particularly in the bodybuilding community, is to curl in the squat rack. The clue is in the name SQUAT-rack not CURL-rack so if you are curling and training arms, do so in the free weight area. If you need to stretch, don’t do it on the treadmill or other pieces of machinery, do so in an open area out of the way.
Finally, if you do only decide to take one thing away from this article, make this be it. The gym is a sanctuary where people come to get away, they don’t come to be mocked, so don’t you dare even think about mocking, or judging, any other gym member. There will be larger members who work out at the gym, yet instead of mocking them for their weight, you should instead be applauding them for doing something productive to get their weight under control. If a person is especially skinny compared to other members, again, don’t mock, either leave them to their training, or perhaps even offer some helpful advice. It doesn’t matter how much weight a person can or can’t lift, what they’re wearing, how they look, what they’re doing, or anything else, you leave them to their workouts, and you focus on your own training.