Looking to get fit? Going to the gym may seem easy enough - walk in, lift this, push that, pull that, walk out - but there's more to it than that.
You'll also want to make sure that you're doing things right, and that you're aware of a few basic unwritten rules of gym etiquette. Without further ado, here we go.
DO wear appropriate gear. Not only because people tend to get a bit put off by the sight of jeans and a button-down shirt in the gym, but also because wearing the right gear is better for you. You don't get the same range of movement in street clothes, and you don't want your jeans drenched in sweat.
DON'T fail to wipe machines and equipment down after gym. I don't know about you, and don't mean to shame you if this is your jam (to each their own and what not), but I dare say most of us don't love sitting in a puddle of someone else's skin juice.
DO put weights back in the right place. You know how you found the 14kg dumbbells right between the 12kg and 16kg ones just moments ago - that was nice, wasn't it? Finding the weights you needed right away? When you return them, don't get all lazy on us and put them wherever there's a spot free.
DON'T give up on the above point just because someone else has been lazy and chucked their 20kg weights in the spot marked for your 14kg ones. Be the bigger (wo)man and move them where they belong, then put yours back.
DO note that this editor has spent years moving weights around in the hopes people will finally come to respect the order of things. DO make him proud.
DON'T forget to warm up and down properly. Much like contorting your body to lift too-heavy weights, failing to warm up is a great way to injure yourself.
DO remember to bring TWO towels - one for in the gym, one for showering. Or walk around smelling like a mixture of your and everyone else's sweat after showering, I guess it's up to you really.
DON'T bite off more than you can chew. We all like to feel strong, but don't curl 20kg if you can't do so without twisting your upper body into a pretzel with each repetition. If you can't do a controlled movement using only the intended muscle group/s, lower your weight. You'll get there.
DO ask for guidance if you're unsure how to do a particular exercise or use a specific machine. Gym staff will always (well, usually) be happy to do it, or you can ask someone who looks like this ain't their first rodeo.
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DON'T be one of the annoyatrons who feel the need to scream like a tennis player with each repetition. If we want to see you we already have, and if not we're simply not interested. If you can't lift your weights without screaming your head off, lift less.
...and while we're at it, DON'T dramatically drop weights to the floor after your set. As impressed as we are with the thud that results from you dropping the substantial mass of metal you've just been lifting, it's also a great way to ruin the equipment. So stop it. Now.
DO be respectful of others when the gym's busy. While it's totally fine to rotate between two/three machines on a set-by-set basis if you're basically alone in there, it's annoying as heck to wait around for a machine because some egomaniac is using more than one.
And on a related note, DON'T spend ages on your phone between sets if there may be people waiting for the bench/weights/machine you're using.
Finally, DON'T be too embarrassed if you accidentally let out a little flatulence while squatting. It's happened to all of us. Just don't make it a habit.