The other day while I was at the gym for a spin class, I had a few minutes to spare before class started, so I hopped on the treadmill. I had been running for about 5 minutes when someone hopped on the treadmill directly next to me. Now, had the gym been packed, I would not have minded. But I looked around and there were probably 10-12 open treadmills very close to me. I realized that not all people know proper gym etiquette, so I forgave this person and simply kept running. But it got me thinking that maybe I should write about unspoken gym etiquette for those not aware, or that need a refresher. Below are four major points worth discussing.
First is the open treadmill rule, which I am told is the same as the open urinal rule in men’s restrooms. If there are plenty of open treadmills, do not choose the one directly next to one being used. If it’s possible, always leave at least one open treadmill between you and the other users. Obviously if you are at the gym with a friend and want to run next to each other, that is perfectly acceptable – this rule really only applies to strangers, and is applicable to all machines.
Second, wipe off the equipment when you are done using it. Most gyms provide paper towels or cloth towels and cleaning solution so that you can clean the equipment after you sweat all over it. Even if you didn’t drip sweat on it, it’s a good idea to wipe it anyway so that you look like a courteous person. You never know who might be watching you.
Third, don’t hog the machines. Most gyms have a time limit on the equipment if others are wating. If you are at the gym during a busy time, obey this time limit and let others have a turn on the treadmill. And don’t cover the time on your machine with your towel – people will still know you have been there longer than allowed. And again, you never know who might be watching you.
Fourth, keep it down. If you can, keep your cell phone turned off. It’s rude and annoying to those around you if you are yapping away on your phone while you’re working out. If you must take a call, go outside or to a corner of the gym where you won’t be disturbing others. And if you are at the gym with a friend, try not to talk obnoxiously loud. Other people around you don’t want to hear about your drunken one-night stand (the topic of conversation among two women I overheard at the gym a few days ago – and I had headphones in with music on!).