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Gym Etiquette: The Big Rules, Your First Day & Kinds of People You’ll Bump Into

So you’ve finally decided to shed the Michelin tire and looking forward to your first day at the gym? If you’re going to the gym for the first time, you need to know a few things and a few people at the gym. But fret not, we’ve got all the gym tips for your first day at the gym.

kinds of people at the gym

If you’re going to the gym for the first time, there are a lot of things you should know. Your first day at the fitness facility can be tricky, confusing, and noisy!

If you don’t want to make a fool of yourself, here are a few rules that you could follow when you’re going to the gym for the first time.

Gym tips – Going to the gym for the first time

As you walk into the gym with those scrawny muscles or those lumpy thighs for the first time, you are bound to be surprised and in awe.

Every instrument would look so confusing and complicated. Don’t worry about any of these, and just relax.

Most people start to panic as soon as they walk into a gym, and it’s their first day at the gym. But know this, the biggest confusion isn’t the equipment, it’s the people!

All fitness facilities have instructors who can assist you with equipments and help you learn how to use them effectively, and it’s the fitness trainer’s job to do that.

So you could just ask them to help you out. Anyways, the first few days or weeks, you wouldn’t be involving yourself in any strenuous exercises.

Your instructor might just tell you to do some stretching exercises or maybe even make you lift a few pounds. No big deal.

For the sake of your muscles and ligaments, avoid any strenuous workouts for the first couple of weeks. Just run on the treadmill or cycle a bit to loosen your stiff muscles. And you could also do the simple exercises on low weights with the help of your physical instructor, just to make sure that you’re doing it perfectly.

So that’s one part about your first day at the gym that you really don’t have to worry about. But what you really have to worry about when you’re going to the gym for the first time comes next.

The new faces when you’re at the gym

Entering a fitness facility is like walking into a funfair. You are bound to see a lot of new faces, and an assortment of physical appearances. It’s like entering a small town. And everyone out there inevitably involve themselves in one group or another.

Your friends on the first day at the gym

If you really want to work out and have a great time at the fitness facility you’re going to, you need to understand the people there and make the right friends. Almost all the men and women at the gym can be categorized into the following groups, and you can take your pick and choose!

The Muscle Squad

These are the ones who think muscles are everything. Even their head seems to have inflated to make space for any more muscles that may be on its way. They lift heavy weights and are almost always men. The ones in this group love flexing their muscles in front of the mirror, and love pointing out tips to the lower mortals in the gym. Their aim in life may be to look like Hulk Jr., and they do everything they can to look like one.

The Dwindlers and Dawdlers

This bunch doesn’t want to be in the gym in the first place. Their eyes are groggy in the mornings and they’re already asleep on the treadmill if they workout in the evenings. They are the ones who are pushed into the gym by their partners or loved ones because they don’t seem to fit into their pants anymore. Nor are they wanted in bed.

The dwindlers and the dawdlers are not necessarily fat, they are just not happy with their physical appearance. They lift low weights because they really can’t lift heavy ones. Or they sit down and warm the seats of the bench press machine, and rub their arms and neck like they’re stroking something else. And well, as we all know it, they are the butt of most jokes made by the Muscle Squad.

The Gossip and Chatty Brigade

This group mainly comprises women, but there may be a few men too. They assume a gym is just another coffee bar and they sit down in a group to catch up on their daily dose of gossip. There’s a lot of giggling and there are definitely a lot of rating games when they come around. The instructor might be able to budge them for a minute at the most, before they huddle back together again. They don’t seem to gain muscle or lose weight, but on careful examination, you might notice that their head has swollen up by a certain extent, which depends entirely on the amount of chatting they indulge in.

The Flashy Fashionistas

Now this bunch is composed of the hot ladies who are almost fit but come to the gym to do their regular “maintenance” workout. They exist to make the other women look bad in the gym. They wear clothes that would make a man want to walk with his hands in front of his pants. Men usually avoid flat bench presses when these women are around. All the men of the gym ogle at these women, the Muscle Squad exists to please this group.

The clothes these women wear are so well designed that it almost shows it all, and yet hides the bare minimum that can be revealed sometime later. This bunch loves smiling and giggling when there are good looking guys around. They might not gym a lot but the instructor loves them because he gets to hang out with them, and at the same time, the crowd at the gym seems to swell in more ways than one each time a member of this group works out on a nearby machine.

The Grunters

Now these are the final type of people who gym. They are normal people who talk just right, work out obediently each time the instructor tells them to do anything, and are nice people. When you walk into a gym, you might not recognize this bunch, and you may wonder where to place them. But once they get ready to lift some weights, you would probably know they belong in this group even if you were outside the gym complex. The grunters, a serious bunch of weight lifters, are the main reason for people walking out of the gym before completing all their exercises.

Exercising when these people are around can be scary and noisy. The Flashy Fashionistas stay away when these people come to the gym and the Muscle Squad are apprehensive to make fun of this bunch. This bunch can lift really heavy weights and they’re real good at it. But the only problem is that they go primitive, make a lot of noise and grunt even more when they gym. There’s always a small crowd watching these heavy lifters in awe, but the atmosphere in the gym changes into one that reminds you of a boxing ring. The weightlifters compete and have fun, with wild cheers from the audience around them. It’s fun to join in, but there will be no improvement in your body if you’re only going to be watching theirs.

The Ten Golden Rules of the Gym

All places have rules. Some are written in stone and some are unspoken. The Gym is one such place where the rules aren’t written, but breaking the rules is frowned upon. Read this to learn the ten unspoken rules of the gym.

These rules aren’t set in stone, but it’s something that will make your experience and the experiences of the people around you a better one.

Beware of Chatterers

There are always those at the gym who will, if given the opportunity, tell you every problem and drama that has ever occurred in their lives. Indulging in this will not help you in any way.

Respect Intentions

Respect other people’s desire to work out without interruptions. Lots of them love listening to music or watching the boobtube as they work out. So if want someone to talk to, talk to your instructor, if only for a minute.

Rack the Weights

Not doing so is a major no-no. If you are using two 20 pound dumbbells, don’t just plop them down for someone else to pick it up. If you pick it up. You keep it back.

No Sweat

If you sweat on it, wipe it with a towel. Always carry one when you gym. You definitely don’t like lying down on someone else’s sweat, nor would others like lying on yours.

Stink up a Fragrance

Don’t wear excessive perfume. It doesn’t mix well with perspiration, not to mention that overdosing it is offensive to others.

Respect Time Limits

A busy gym normally has a time limit on cardio machines. Don’t just sit on a machine and chat, especially when someone is waiting. The idea of working out is to get one’s heart rate up, not to exercise the jaw.

Gym Partners

Expect to work with someone. That means you take turns to do sets. Don’t waste time running around while your partner is waiting to get back to pumping weights.

Time Yourself

Arrive early to your aerobics, Pilates, or Yoga class, and place a towel down in your spot. And respect other’s spots as well. Like it or not, most exercise studios have a first come first serve policy.

Deep Cleavages

Remember that the gym is not a fashion show. Save the cleavage-display shirts, sock-stuffed spandexes or see-through clothes for a more appropriate venue.

Make Some Noise

Avoid grunting and using foul language. It will only get you dirty stares.

13 rules for proper gym etiquette

There are specific rules to follow when you are at a gym, not only for the sake of your own embarrassment, but also for those around you. The key is to focus on you and not to be the center of attention.

If you want to join a bodybuilding contest, do so. But, don’t stand in the front of the mirror blocking everyone to show your goods off. That is just bad manners. These are the gym etiquette rules, and like them or not, if you don’t follow them no one will like you!

#1 Don’t gawk. There is nothing worse than someone ogling you as you sweat and try to work off some steam. You aren’t a construction worker, and even if they are that hot, staring them up and down isn’t going to win you a date.

Put the tongue back in your mouth and save it for the bars. Not everyone in tight pants is wearing them to put their goods on display; they are just easier to move around in. [Read: 10 types of creepy guys all girls avoid talking to]

#2 Don’t get too close. If you join a class, don’t sit uncomfortably close to someone else. A yoga or Pilates class is like entering an elevator. Don’t plop your mat right down next to someone when space is wide open. It feels like an invasion of privacy, and it can end up ruining everyone’s chi energy. Walk in, take a look around, and find your own corner of the earth.

#3 Use a towel. This is a huge part of gym etiquette. No one likes to get hit with someone else’s sweat. Hey, I get it. I am by nature a pretty sweaty creature. And, when I hit the gym, it can get pretty gross. That is why I never hit the treadmill which is right next to someone else without bringing a towel.

Gyms are supposed to be full of sweat, but that doesn’t give you license to let it fly all over the place without at least bringing protection.

#4 Wipe down your equipment. There is nothing worse than watching someone get off a machine filled with sweat and walk off without wiping the machine down.

Tantamount to watching someone come out of the bathroom without washing their hands, it is not only not nice, it is downright selfish. There is a reason they put out disinfectant wipes… use them, please.

#5 Wear the minimum please. You may not think of this as gym etiquette, but it is. I am saying this across the board so as not to offend anyone. I don’t care if you are a size 2 or a size 42, wear something appropriate, please. Just because gym clothes are allowed to be a little tight-fitting, that doesn’t mean that we want to see skin exposed everywhere and your bigger places sticking out where they shouldn’t be.

For the decency of us all, choose something appropriate. If you wouldn’t want your mom or dad to see you in it, keep it for home use. [Read: 25 inspirational tips to get motivated to work out]

#6 Don’t hog the machines. Yes, this is for you Ms. Four-Hour Stair Master. You would think that this is obvious gym etiquette, but it’s not. If there is only one stair master, then follow the rules and don’t monopolize it for more than the allotted time.

There is nothing worse than showing up at the gym with only an hour to spare and finding that someone else is going to hog the only machine you came to use. If there is a max time, don’t go over it.

#7 Put your weights away. We all learned in preschool that when we take toys out, we are supposed to put them away. Well, I say that liberally. I guess not all of us did learn the rule. If you take out an exercise band, a stability or medicine ball, or a free weight, then return it where it belongs.

Not only is it unsafe to leave things just lying around, but it is also flat-out rude. The other members aren’t getting paid for cleaning up after you.

#8 We don’t want to hear your nonsense. If you go to the gym with someone else, please remember that not everyone cares that Susie was a bitch at work. Talk at the gym is alright, but be considerate of others. They don’t want to be involved in your conversation, so use your inside voice please. [Read: 12 benefits of exercise on your mind, body and libido]

#9 Wear a towel. When you hit the locker room, the hot tub, or the sauna, it isn’t an exhibitionist show. I know that some women are totally okay with letting it all hang out. But, unfortunately, we all aren’t.

No one really wants to see you naked unless you are centerfold-hot, and even then, not unless we pay or ask for it. If you are going to hit the showers, please do so with something on other than your naked skin.

#10 Grunting should be kept to a minimum. Okay, we all get it, lifting as much as your body weight isn’t as easy as it looks *not that it looks easy*, but we don’t need sound effects.

When you make all sorts of noises and ridiculous movements, or pace around the club like you are something to behold, the rest of us wish that you would just sit down and be quiet. We get it; you are pumped up, but your insistence on making us all listen to it doesn’t impress us.

#11 Don’t try to talk to someone who isn’t interested. It isn’t that some people aren’t at the gym to make new friends, but there are some of us who are there for nothing more than the gym machines. Like being on a plane, if you are sitting next to someone who seems like they would rather just sit and watch the movie, then leave them alone.

A gym is a place where some people go to find solace and introverted-ness. Just because you want to be Chatty Cathy doesn’t mean that everyone else is on board.

#12 Wait your turn. If there is some sort of circuit, then stick with it. It’s gym etiquette 101. No one likes someone who cuts in line. If all you want to do is work your traps, I get it, but that doesn’t mean that you get to bypass everyone and insert yourself.

A circuit is a circuit for a reason. If you don’t want to join the circus, find another gym that is more your speed. Circuit training gyms are like golfing. You have to wait patiently for the golf club cart ahead of you, even if she is 80.

#13 No cell phones in the locker room. When you are at a gym, you can use your cell phone in the locker room, just do so with caution. There have been so many shaming incidents in the past that people are wary when you pull out your cell phone when they may be clothing-compromised.

Also, stop texting and holding everyone up while waiting for a machine, and, for goodness sake, if you are going to talk on your cell phone, just like having a friend there, don’t assume that we want to hear your conversation.

There is nothing more unnerving than someone talking on their cell phone next to you when you think they are talking to you or asking them a question. The whole thing is very distracting. Save the mobile for the car ride… wait, don’t text and drive either.

Everyone joins a gym for different reasons, but if you assume that the reason you did is the same as the person next to you, you are probably making a big mistake.

[Read: The first day and kinds of hilarious people you’ll see at the gym]

With these tips and gym etiquette, you should be well on your way to a perfect workout in a fitness center. Not only will this help you get a better body, it will also make the gym a better place!

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