Unwritten Rules of the Workout

Exercising at a health club has real advantages — you have access to a wide variety of equipment, classes and staff members who can provide fitness instruction. But, because you are sharing the facilities with others, you should follow some rules of etiquette to help make it a safe and pleasant environment for everyone.

Return all equipment (weights, bars, dumbbells, etc.) to the place it belongs when you are finished. It’s difficult to exercise efficiently and safely with things strewn about.

Clean off all pads and surfaces you come in contact with. Wiping down the equipment before and after use ensures that no one is touching another person’s sweat, which can spread germs.

Share the equipment. If you plan to do multiple sets, don’t hoard the machine. Let someone who is waiting use the equipment in between your sets. If the club has a rule that limits cardiovascular machine usage to a set time, respect the policy. You would want others to do the same for you.

Practice personal hygiene. No one likes to smell body odor, so be sure to use deodorant and wear clean workout clothes. Avoid strong colognes and perfumes, too.

Stay home if you’re sick. It’s not fair to fellow club members who want to stay healthy if you exercise while fighting a contagious illness.

Skip swearing and loud voices. No one should have to hear foul language or listen to private conversations. If you have something to say, lower your voice and respect others’ need for quiet concentration.

Stop staring. If someone’s physique or workout technique grabs your attention, be discreet. Don’t make people uncomfortable by staring at them.

Don’t interrupt personal trainers who are working with clients. The client has paid money for the trainer’s time and attention. Catch the trainer when he or she isn’t on the job.

Be prompt. If you’re taking a group exercise class, be on time. It’s disruptive to the other participants if you arrive late. Don’t leave early either unless you have to.

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