For many people, gym time is considered sacred. It's the one time of day and the one place where we can completely dispense with the anxieties, aggravations, and stresses of our daily lives and truly lose ourselves in the moment.
Of course, whether or not your gym has the kind of atmosphere you desire depends in large part on how well (or poorly) your fellow gym-goers adhere to certain unwritten gym rules. If you find yourself surrounded by people completely lacking in self-awareness or etiquette, those 60 minutes of blissful relief could turn into an hour of hair-pulling frustration.
There are any number of gym rules we're expected to follow, many of them commonsense and not all that challenging. Nevertheless, from time to time most people find themselves running afoul of one or more of these gym rules. Here are nine of the worst violations you may be committing (knowingly or unknowingly):
1. For God Sakes, Wipe The Bench.
After your supersets / giant sets / pyramid sets, the bench or machine you just got up from is bound to be covered in sweat. Don't be the guy who walks away leaving puddles of liquid for the next guy to clean up. Be a champ and wipe down the equipment after you use it.
2. Don't Steal Someone Else's Shit.
That water bottle or backpack next to the squat rack isn't just there for kicks. It's the international symbol for, "Hey bro, this machine's taken." Whether the person has gone to the bathroom, jumped over to another machine to do a superset, or run to get some water, chances are they won't be thrilled when they return to see you happily squatting away in their spot. Follow the code and don't snag equipment when someone else is clearly using it.
3. Shut Your Yapper.
If someone can carry on a functional conversation with you while bench pressing, chances are they aren't working nearly hard enough. Do your fellow gym-goers a favor and wait to talk to them until after they've finished their set.
4. Rack Your Darn Weights.
There's nothing more annoying than searching high and low for the 80-pound dumbbells, only to find them right where the 25-pound dumbbells are supposed to be. Don't perpetuate a vicious cycle of misplaced weights - just stick them where they belong.
5. Don't Be The Know-It-All.
We all know that guy who critiques others at the drop of a hat. Unless you see someone about to injure themselves performing a movement incorrectly, keep it to yourself. Harassing others about their form just breeds drama . . . and potential embarrassment if you're the one in the wrong.
6. Nix The Air Boxing.
Every gym has that token guy who loves air boxing in between his sets. Unfortunately, this is about as effective a filler as juggling a shake weight. It's not only completely pointless as a form of cardio, but also dangerous to those around you if you accidentally throw a right hook. Just stop.
7. Don't Expect Free Advice.
Those people you see at the gym killing themselves day in and day out are there for one thing: to train. There's no harm in asking for a tip every so often if you're a beginner, but you should never attempt to get free training sessions from an experienced lifter. People make a living providing that type of advice, and you don't want to be known as the local moocher.
8. Take Your Mixing Away From The Water Fountain.
The last thing anyone wants to see at the water fountain is the leftover crud from your protein shake. When mixing your post-workout, be sure to keep your distance from the fountain and never EVER dump old shaker contents into a public drinking space.
9. Stop Hogging The Weights.
Dropsets are a phenomenal training technique, but not during peak gym hours. There's nothing worse than one guy grabbing up all the weights when the gym is packed. If you're hitting the gym at its busiest, make peace with the fact that you're going to need to be judicious about the amount of equipment you use at one time.