If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram (@chappycallanta) you might have caught my tweet last week with the hashtag #GymCommandments. True, all gyms will have different house rules and some may be more open than others (no shirts, no problem), there is still such a thing as "proper gym etiquette". Here are my 10 Gym Commandments. Before I piss anyone off, know that I am guilty of breaking at least two of these sometimes, but it's still better to be informed.
1. Thou shall bring thy own towel to the gym
Some people are efficient sweaters. If you're one of them, good for you, because your metabolism is working pretty well. But it's not so good for the next person using the piece of equipment you just used. The sweat towel is a gym essential you shouldn't leave home without.
2. Thou shall not use the benches for loitering
Benches are used for working out, not as a place to discuss your newest girlfriend. Nothing is more funny than seeing someone go to the gym and sit for 90% of the time on the benches. If you wanted to talk, go to the coffee shop. Going to the gym means going to work, so get to it.
3. Thou shall not loiter around a piece of equipment in between sets
If for example you're using the squat rack and were working on five sets, be mindful if someone is waiting behind you who wants to use the equipment also. Most of the time, you will be working on positive rest intervals, which means you will be probably working for 30 seconds and resting for 1-2 minutes. Please don't hog the equipment during this time since it's enough for someone else to use it. Like in traffic, the alternate rule should be followed.
4. Thou shall wear the right footwear for thy chosen activity
One of my pet peeves is seeing running shoes being worn for resistance training. Running shoes have great support for linear movement, not so much for lateral movement. You'd be better off going barefoot than using running shoes for lifting weights. Nowadays, shoe manufacturers are giving more attention to training gear. A good training shoe will be a good investment if you plan to be serious in your lifting. Since I can't name brands, you can just check my blog for my recommendations (wink, wink).
5. Thou shall be mindful of thy space when doing multi-directional exercises
It's a good thing that people are starting to be more functional with their exercises of choice and this means adding a lot of multi-directional and dynamic exercises. However, we are still the minority since most gym goers will still opt for traditional exercises. Nothing wrong with that, but if you will be doing multi-directional lunges, runs across the floor, crawls, and the like, be mindful of the space where you will be working on. Make sure that there won't be any obstacles along your path and be mindful of the other people who haven't heard the good news about multi-directional training.
6. Thou shall focus on thyself
Unless you're a trainer, you shouldn't be giving any training instructions to anyone else in the gym. You don't want to be responsible if someone gets injured while doing your own version of the spiderman push up. That's what we trainers are here for. Maybe you are well-informed, maybe you're an avid reader of blogs like this one, that's well and good but not everyone wants to be told that they're doing something wrong. So just focus on your form and leave the scolding to us professionals.
7. Thou shall always return the dumbbells and plates to their places
This is just common courtesy in life. If you use something, make sure you put it back where you found it. More so in the gym, if dumbbells and other accessories are left in the floor, they become a potential hazard. Worse are those who use heavy weights and don't return them. How do you expect a beginner to dead lift a 50lb dumbbell from the floor just to return it to the rack? Please, clean up after yourself.
8. Thou shall never run backwards on the treadmill
9. Thou shall keep thy grunts at a respectable level
Unless you're in a contest where people are watching you work out, please try to keep your grunts a couple of notches lower than Sharapova-level. A few grunts before a heavy set is acceptable and may even help increase pre-lift strength levels, but still, try to keep the shrieks down. You don't wanna wanna disturb the guys gossiping by the bench press station.
And finally, like I said before...
10. Thou shall not work out for the sole purpose of instagramming thyself
I admit, as a gym-owner, social media networks are one of the best ways to drive business up. But I'm also an old school coach, and my old-school heart just can't stand it to see people go to the gym, stretch a bit, do a few crunches, walk on the treadmill while reading a book then pose in front of the mirror for a gym selfie. #fail. The gym, again, is a place to get some serious work done. This might not be a big deal for others, but it pains me to see this people and know that they're wasting their time and money. Just come to the gym with the right mindset, and be ready to do some serious work.
Editor's note: The blogger's views do not represent Yahoo! Southeast Asia's position on the topic or issue being discussed in this post.
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