As the fitness manager of a very large, big box franchise, you would be surprised at the number of complaints and concerns that I deal with regarding etiquette in the facility and between fellow members. Even though this is a topic we've briefly discussed before, I wanted to bring your attention to some things that are happening at my gym, and that many of my colleagues at other facilities are seeing as well.
The Locker Room
One of the biggest issues that we've run into is not on the gym floor, but in the locker room. While we do have shower facilities and provide some minor grooming equipment like hair blow dryers, there are some things that we can't handle...our biggest culprit: hair!
While we definitely encourage our members to by hygienic in our shower facilities, one thing that a $20 a month membership is not, is a country club. Members shaving and clogging sinks, leaving them full of hair shavings (both in the sink and shower...even in the ladies!) has caused us thousands of dollars in additional plumbing and cleaning costs. Unless your club is providing razors for you, please leave your Bics at home!
Tune In, Turn Out (Lost in Your Own World)
The next issue of etiquette comes from the gym floor. Unfortunately, just like distracted driving has become a thing of danger on our highways, distracted exercising is starting to become a thing of danger and annoyance in our gyms.
Distracted exercising can come from a number of issues: answering your cell phone and holding up others' workouts; being so wrapped up in your iTunes that you're belting out show tunes (off key and off pitch) to the whole club.
We all have a right to enjoy our workouts, but we have to be courteous to the other members. You wouldn't want someone ruining your workout by chirping Bette Midler's greatest hits in a horrible, nails-on-chalkboard voice would you?
Racking Your Weights
I know you've seen the signs. They are everywhere in the free-weight and open-gym areas. "Rack your weights, please." And do you know how many people STILL don't rack their weights? My philosophy has always been simple: if you're strong enough to lift it, you're strong enough to put it back. Unfortunately, everyone does not agree with those sentiments.
It really can be a hazard if you leave a dumbbell lying and someone catches their ankle. THis can lead to serious injuries. But it also is an annoyance. I hate to reach for a weight, only to see that one or both of a set are gone. For those members on a tight schedule, having to scamper across the gym on a wild goose chase to find the 25 pound dumbbells can be maddening.
So take heed the next time you are in the gym or fitness club, and try keep up your excellent gym etiquette by avoiding these mistakes!
Ryan Barnhart, MS, PES, is a certified Performance Enhancement
and Injury Prevention Specialist through the National Academy of Sports
Medicine (NASM). He also holds a master's degree in exercise science, as
well as a bachelor of sport management, both from California University
of Pennsylvania. Ryan has worked with numerous professional, collegiate
and amateur athletes across many different fields, including
professional and arena football players, Mixed Martial Artists, elite
runners, international soccer players, and more.
Ryan is currently the director of fitness at a 700+ member gym near Pittsburgh, PA, as well as the owner and operator of Funky Fitness PA, a personal training studio, in home personal training and personalized fitness planning service. Ryan's work has been featured across the US and the globe, working with clients in all facets of life. He enjoys working with weekend warriors, athletes, and everyone in between. You can check Ryan out on Facebook or follow him on Twitter, or you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.