Both small, local gyms and chain fitness venues have their specific atmosphere and their own set of laws. A common element to all those places is that essentially they're somewhere you go to to exercise. Unfortunately, many people forget about that simple fact, which leads to series of bizarre situations, turning a gym into something resembling a bar or a day-care. Of course, there' s no need to exercise in absolute silence, with a thoughtful frown on your face, but there are some behaviours that simply will not be tolerated. Here's what a gym-goer should keep in mind:
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When you enter a fitness club it's worth taking into consideration that it's a public space - meaning, other people are there too. It's polite to start with a greeting, while trying to pay attention to the customs of the particular place. In some gyms it's common to walk over to each of the people and give them a handshake (this usuallyis the case in smaller clubs), in others a plain "hello" and a nod will be enough. Of course, it's not obligatory - but it's good manners.
Before you touch the bar
No matter how hungry you are for the burn, remember that running into the room and grabbing a weight or sitting on your favourite machine might not be the best first thing to do. Anything you do should be preceded by not only a warm-up, but also by taking notice of the other people who might be using the equipment. If in doubt - ask. Taking up other people's seats, stealing their weights and scooting to the other side of the gym with them will not get you any brownie points. It might work quite the opposite way.
A gym is not a pool
The necessary equipment when hitting the gym should consist of not only your fitness apparel and isotonic drink, but also a towel. Even if it were to be more of use to others than it will to you - just take it with you and use it not only to wipe off your sweaty forehead, but to insulate the equipment, e.g. the bench. Thanks to the towel, you won't leave it drowning in a pool of sweat which - take my word for it - is not something anyone would like to sit on. If you forget about this, you might end up with a nifty little nickname along the lines of "The swamp thing".
Hitting on people in the gym
Although you might actually encounter sexually attractive people at the gym, it doesn't automatically mean that they came there to find the love of their life, or even a fleeting romance. Most of the gym-goers are just that - people who came there to exercise. Thusly, it's not good manners to hit on people while at the gym, especially when it begins to get obnoxious or makes other people's training difficult. You want to make a good impression? Train hard, without the blag - and if you find somebody you like, get their number after the training.
A gym is a place which is primarily suited to help you obtain you training goals - not social, promotional or any other kind. A simple "hello" when coming in and "sorry, is this bench free?" - are the key sentences to make your eperience enjoyable, just like handy gadgets such as towels. And try to keep in mind that not everyone in the gym enjoys being hit at.
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