For many people, the gym is like a second home. And just like you would follow the rules there, it's highly important to do the same at the gym. Do you really want to be the person who gets everyone's attention by slamming your dumbbells on the ground? You do know they can all hear you singing even though your headphone are in, right? The bad habits you're about to read about are considered the worst by gym rats and fitness pros around everywhere!
Don't Drop Equipment
While it might be satisfying after a set of lifting to drop your weights on the ground, it's a habit best left in the privacy of your home gym. If you don't have a home gym, please don't disrupt other people around you by making this loud, and pointless noise.
Not only is the noise a distraction, but dropping heavy gym equipment can also be a major safety hazard. It doesn't matter how tired you are, you should always place your equipment back on the rack as politely as possible.
Keep Your Phone In Your Bag
Phones have taken over society. No matter where you go, someone is always on their phone. This is sadly true even at the gym, where checking your phone makes about as much sense eating ice cream in between sets. What are you accomplishing?
Sarah Shelton, an instructor at Cycle House LA explains, "Unless you're rocking a sweet Apple Watch on your wrist, your phone with your Shazam app should stay in your bag. Wait until after class to ask the instructor about any and every song you like."
Don't Join A Class If You're Not Going To Listen To The Instructor
When you go to the gym, know what your goals are. If you already know your routine, it might be best to avoid joining a boot camp. Unless you can follow directions of course. Joining a camp and then doing your own thing anyway isn't just distracting, it's disrespectful
As one professional puts it, "If you want to do your own workout you should go to the gym on your own, not to boot camp. It's very distracting and throws the energy off when one person isn't practicing."
Proper Protection Matters
You might think the gym is a safe place for women, but the sad truth is it's not. Unfortunately, women oftentimes have to be more careful about their bodies at the gym than other places!
Shelton explains it this way, "[Chests] are bouncing more than ever in class—bottom line, ladies, we need better bras! Poor-fitting sports bras can be a big distraction to others and it can also be bad for you." Better sports bra are a win-win for everyone.
Don't Be Greedy
Never grab more equipment at the gym than you need. We know you have a routine, and I don't want to have to wait for certain weights to be free, but you must remember that other people need to use the equipment too.
In this case, it's best to follow the golden rule, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." This rule is never more important than during peak gym hours. Wouldn't you rather make friends instead of enemies?
Don't Save Spots For Friends
We know that this might sound counter-intuitive, but if you're worried a friend might show up late for a class, don't save them a spot. Spots are limited after all, and you might end up denying someone who is on time a chance to work out.
Aside from that, on instructor says, "People take their spot in class very seriously. There are a lot of factors like mirror space and fan placement which help people decide where to be in the room. Sometimes your friend doesn't even show up and you are left looking like a fool."
Why Are You Chewing Gum?
Chewing gum at the gym should never happen, especially during meditative workouts. The bottom line is that blowing bubbles and focusing on chewing puts the rest of your body out of rhythm, which creates a negative impact on your workout.
The found of I.AM.YOU yoga studio in New York, Lauren Imparato, has a zero-tolerance policy, "If you're chewing gum, it means you're not breathing properly, which is the whole way real yoga works. I go around and have people spit their gum out if I see it!"
Don't Buy Into Your Own Musical Hype
Music is about as important at the gym as the equipment you use. Listening to your favorite songs helps motivate you and pass the time. Just remember, you're not putting on a show for everyone else. Try not to sing along.
Aly Teich, another fitness professional, puts it this way, "Music is a HUGE motivator for getting through your workout, and you should listen to whatever you choose. But that doesn't mean you should sing along loudly so everyone else can listen too."
You're Not A One Person Show
This bad habit mostly applies to those gum rats that have spent years polishing their muscles at the gym. They're proud of how far their bodies have come, and choose to find som strange ways to show it off.
A training manager at DavidBartonGym in Chicago isn't impressed with your antics, "People balance on objects that aren't meant to be stood on, like stability balls. They always choose to do it like it's a dare: Try and balance on this circular object without breaking your neck. Seeing it is believing it."
Don't Steal Someone Else's Equipment
Just like we said it's important not to hoard equipment at the gym for yourself, you should also avoid stealing other people's equipment. If a weight has been left in an area or on a mat, you should assume the person using them went to the bathroom or the drinking fountain.
A majority of people will put equipment away after they finish using it, so make sure to grab that stuff first. Unless the gym is extra busy, there should be plenty of equipment not in use that you can wait.
This Is Just Rude
People get in "zones" at the gym, so it's important to respect their space as long as they're not taking up too much. Don't think you have a right to drop your mat in their area. You don't, and they would have every right to complain if you do.
Take it from this professional, "When we're training, especially if we're traversing space, people with headphones that aren't paying attention will put a mat down and start doing a floor-based exercise in the same line. Which isn't just annoying, it's flat out rude."
No Divas Allowed
There are plenty of places you can go where it is perfectly acceptable to act like a diva. The gym is not one of them. While your workout routine might be all about you, you shouldn't act like you're above anyone there.
After all, the person next to you is thinking about their own routine, not what you might be doing next. If you want all the attention to be placed on you, throw a party. Just not at the gym, of course!
Wear The Right Shoes
Anyone who goes to the gym regularly after work has probably had this happen to them. You get there and realize you don't have your gym shoes. What do you do? For some people, the solution is to work out in their work or street shoes. We recommend avoiding this.
Shoes are designed for different things, and wearing a pair of Converse All-Stars to the gym can actually do more damage than good. It might not seem like it, but it's worth it to run home and grab the proper footwear.
Follow Gym Regulated Time Limits
Just like you need to wait your turn for equipment in use to be free, it's also important to overstay your welcome at any one machine. During heavy business hours, a lot of gyms will put 30 or 60-minute time limits on machines. Once your time is up, well, you know what we're about to say.
If someone isn't following the rules, Aly Teich recommends, "it's rude to stand and give death eyes at someone if they are dominating a machine. Kindly remind them their time is up, or be creative and get your cardio in another way!"
Act Like You Want To Be There
During a workout, it's impossible not to look at the clock at some point, especially when you know you're reaching the end. Still, don't spend your entire workout acting like it's a pain in the butt to be there. No one made you go!
Acting like you hate the gym while you're there also sets a bad example for those around you. What if the person on the machine next you is there for the first time? Your visual displeasure might dissuade them from showing up for a second.
The Focus On Yourself
Don't make going to the gym a competition. Just because the person next to you is lifting 20 pounds more doesn't mean you need to try. Focus on yourself and know your limitations. As you spend enough time working out, those limitations will increase, too!
Don't believe us? Here what Aly Teich has to say about it, "I hate it when people get competitive with you during class, and not in a friendly way. You never know if it's someone's first class, if they are injured, or just having a bad week. Whatever the case, everyone is at a different level and that's completely fine."
Clean Clothes Are A Must
We get it. You work out in your clothes, they get sweaty, and you don't want to wash them after one wear when they'll just get sweaty again. This might be okay if you're working out at home, but when you go to the gym, try not to harm other people's noses with your scent.
We're not saying you stink every day. But when you work out, you get sweaty. Over time, that sweat accumulates to a point where its unpleasant scent in unavoidable. Workout, sash, rinse, and repeat.
Respect Is Key
One way you can ensure you have a great gym experience is by respecting the front desk clerk. It doesn't matter how bad or frustrating your day at work was, take it out on the treadmill, not the person checking you in.
It's never okay to be rude to another person at the gym, but it's vital to be nice to the gym's employees. The front desk clerk is just one of several people ensuring everyone has a great experience at the gym, so don't turn their life into a nightmare.
Don't Waste Water
You might not be paying that water bill at the gym, but someone is. Just like you would at home, don't take longer in the shower than you actually need. Make sure you get clean, you did just work out but don't take too long.
Another reason this is important is to keep the showers open for other gym rats finishing their workouts. The quicker your out of the shower, the quicker they can get in the shower, and everyone can get home as quickly as possible.
Use The Lockers
One way some people take up more room on the gym floor than they need to is by bringing their stuff with them. There they are, on the weight machine, with their bag and street clothes taking up space next to them that you could be using.
These people should use lockers. The gym didn't install lockers just for show. They are they so you have a safe place to store your things while you work out. If you don't trust the lockers at your gym, consider going to a gym you do trust.
Save Socialization For The Bar
We don't want to dissuade you from going to the gym with your friend. They can be a great motivation to help you stay on track. Just make sure that both of you are focused on getting a great workout.
If you're spending more time at the gym then on the machines, you're not actually doing your body any good. Talking is good. Too much talking and not enough moving is bad! Save social hour for happy hour.
Pay Attention To Sanitization Signs
This rule applies for every gym, whether it's a public gym, a private gym, or a home gym. Clean your equipment after using it. Every gym (except maybe a home one) has sanitization guidelines on every machine. Follow them!
Cleaning up after yourself takes an extra 30 seconds and ensures bacteria is being passed from person to person. You might work out and not even know you're sick. Then the person who uses the machine after you gets sick. Unless you do the right thing and clean up after yourself.
The Gym Is Not Modelling Shoot
Unless your taking pictures of your progress in the mirror, refrain from taking pictures at the gym. And NEVER take pictures of other people unless you get their permission. The gym is a place to make personal gains, not try and find the next great model.
More importantly, if something is "failing," don't take pictures to embarrass them. You don't know how long they've been going to the gym, or how quickly they will stop going if they start being bullied.
The Treadmill Isn't For Business Calls
Anytime you are at the gym, there might a perfectly valid reason to make a phone call or answer the phone. When you're on the treadmill it can seem like a great time handle your business. All we suggest is that you keep your conversation short if you do.
The people around you don't want to listen to your personal business for upwards of an hour while they're working out. Keep the calls short, and listen to music or an audiobook for the rest of your workout.
The Kind Of Stretching You Do Matters
Before, during, and after your workout, you need to stretch. Just make sure you know what kind of stretches you should be doing. Stretches can either be static or dynamic and if you're not careful, you might be hurting yourself more than helping.
One great example is stretching before lifting. It's common to hold a static stretch, like a butterfly, before. Unfortunately, you should be doing more dynamic stretching like high knees for the best results.
Don't Ignore Your Warm-Up
Always warm-up before working out. We know you might think this is an option, but if you want the best results while limiting your chance of injury, a pre-routine stretch is necessary. Once fully stretched, you can push yourself as far as possible.
Whatever your warm-up is, always make sure to make time for it. Going for a run? Make sure to schedule in a good walk to loosen your muscles beforehand. Five minutes should be your minimum warm-up time, too.
Slow Cardio Isn't That Helpful
Looking to lose weight and increase heart health? Cardio is the key, but slow cardio, like spending hours on the elliptical, won't necessarily give you the desired results. Adding in strength training is a component you should consider adding.
There are a few benefits to strength training. This type of exercise produces beneficial hormones within your body and increasing the rate of your resting metabolism as well. That sounds like a perfect way to lose weight to us!
Don't Be Stubborn With Your Routine
Monday is leg day. Tuesday is arm day. Wednesday is another day, and so on and so on. This is how several people choose to hold their workouts. Every day is set for something specific. But that doesn't mean you should strictly follow that routine.
At a certain point, all your "gains" will stop if you keep doing the same thing every day. Don't be stubborn and mix to elements into your routine, and switch up what days you do things. One thing we recommend trying if you haven't already is interval training.
Ab Exercises Aren't Magic
Have you crushing yourself at the gym with ab exercises and aren't seeing any results. Again, being stubborn is a bad habit, and it's not helping you out here. Ab exercises aren't the key to getting abs. Mixing is fat burning exercises is needed, too.
A well-rounded, full-body workout will give you the best results, but if all you care about is abs, then you need to lean yourself with fat burning exercises as well. All the ab workouts in the world won't do a thing if you don't get lean!
ONLY Replace What You Lose
When you work out, you sweat, and when you sweat, you lose water from your water. It's important to stay hydrated, but don't overdo. One of the most common bad habits you can have at the gym is to overhydrate.
The truth is that while you work out, the water you drink is retained by your body, which isn't always beneficial to your workout. Replace what you lose, and drink when you get thirsty, but don't chug a gallon of water for no reason.
It's Not A Playground For Your Kids
It's not always easy to be a parent and find time to go to the gym, which means sometimes your stuck bringing your kids to the gym with you. When you have to do this, make sure you have a way to keep an eye on your children.
It's a bad habit to get distracted by workout and let your kids treat the gym like their personal playground. Not only is dangerous for other people working out, but it is also especially dangerous for kids.
The Gym Isn't Where You Find Dates
There may have been a time it wasn't frowned upon to try and meet people at the gym. These days, thanks to social dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, the gym has returned to its original purpose - a place to get in shape.
While there may be a small portion of people flattered you asked them out after so many squats, the truth is most people nowadays just want to hit the gym, then go home and relax before bed.
Don’t Work Out in Front of the Dumbbell Rack
We're not sure why anybody would do this, but there's always something lifting weight in front of the dumbbell rack. Don't they know how rude that is? If you can't find a space to lift, try and be patient, don't block everyone else from the equipment they need.
This is especially important because, after a workout, the last thing anyone needs is to be stuck holding a 50-lb weight while you finish your set. Position yourself appropriately on the floor, and remember to leave all equipment accessible.
Poor Form Will Result In Injury
Just because you watched a YouTube video doesn't mean you learned how to do an exercise. Before you get too intensely into your routine, make sure your form is absolutely right. Poor form is an awful gym habit to have and can result in major injury.
The best way to build muscle and avoid injury is to use proper form, and don't overexert yourself. Know your limits. If you do too much too fast with poor form we guarantee you will hurt something.
Avoiding Chatting It Up Too Much
Just like with dating, the gym isn't the place you should be trying to meet new friends anymore. While some people are social by nature, don't strike up a conversation with anyone who is trying to keep to themselves.
And remember to always stay focused. Even if you are social by nature, try not to let those habits get in the way of your own workout. If you really need to, bring a friend who can keep you on track while your mind wanders.
Save Circuits For Non-Peak Hours
Circuit training is incredibly popular and can make you everyone's worst enemy if you doing it during peak gym hours. The workout routine requires you to use a lot of equipment in quick intervals, meaning you need several free machines and open space on the floor.
If you do circuit train, be courteous and save it for non-peak business hours at the gym. During busy times, no one should be forced to wait for several pieces of equipment because you've taken them all over!
A Short Workout Is Okay
The quality of any workout is far more important than then length. The bad habit thought process goes like this, "because you gain weight the more you eat, you'll lose weight the longer you workout." That's simply not true.
Did you that too much cardio work can actually be bad for you in the long run? You'll know you've found a good pace when you can still talk, but getting out a sentence takes a little work. If you can't talk anymore, take a break or stop entirely..
There Is Such A Thing As Too Much Protein
Protein helps build muscle. That is science. The problem is that too much protein, like other things on this list, can be a bad thing. In one sitting, your body can only process 30 grams of protein. The rest is just extra calories that eventually turn into fat.
Carbs are essential to for body fuel and muscle contraction, so don't deny your body if you work out. The ideal diet while working out should consist of 30 percent protein, 45 percent carbs, and 25 percent fat.
Have A Plan
How many times have you seen someone wandering the gym floor deciding what machine to use next? This is a bad habit and one that can be easily avoided by coming to the gym with a plan. Really, there's no excuse to show up to the gym without one!
Know how much time you have, and always show up to the gym ready to maximize that time. If you have 30 minutes, don't use that as an excuse not to go to the gym, and don't spend half of that time figuring out what machine to hop on first.