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11 Rules of Gym Etiquette That No One Will Tell You

11 Rules of Gym Etiquette That No One Will Tell You

The gym can be an intimidating place. It’s filled with big strong people that all seem to know each other and it’s easy to find yourself thinking negative thoughts. “What happens if I do something wrong?” or “I don’t want to make someone mad by doing something I shouldn’t do!” Letting these negative thoughts get the better of you will only keep you out of the gym and further away from reaching your health and fitness goals. So I’m here to help. I’m going to give you a little lesson on the rules of gym etiquette. Some of them you may already know, whereas others may be a little more subtle. The key takeaway is this: following these 11 rules will help you combat any “gymtimidation” that may be keeping you from feeling comfortable in the gym. Let’s get down to business.

1. No curls in the squat rack

This rule may be the butt of many jokes, but sure enough, every so often I see folks curling away in the squat rack. Why is this a bad thing? Well, what if I want to squat?! You should always assume that someone wants to use the very piece of equipment that you’re using. Therefore, being respectful of other people and only using equipment in the manner it was intended, is gym etiquette 101. Although I should note that in today’s world, it’s somewhat rare to even see someone using the squat rack in the first place! And that’s a shame because squats are a great lower body exercise and can be done very safely when performed with correct form and the appropriate weight.

2. Respect the weights

Let’s face it, weights are just hunks of iron. Sometimes the dumbbells may be coated with rubber, but that doesn’t change the fact that whenever you go to the gym and pick up a dumbbell, you’re renting someone’s property. And yes, all weights do wear down over time, even the large metal barbells that seem indestructible. Just as you were taught to respect other kids’ toys in school, so it goes in the gym.

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3. Mind your business

The gym can be an intimidating place all on its own, so the very last thing a novice lifter needs is a seasoned veteran providing unsolicited and questionable advice. Only trainers should be dishing out any sort of fitness advice in the weight room. However, there is one exception – when someone is about to injure themselves or injure another person. For example, if a novice lifter is about to attempt a PR on the deadlift and they are rounding their back like they are still working on their computer. In a case like this, bruising their ego sure beats the possible alternative – a herniated disc.

4. Don’t drop the weights

When you drop a pair of dumbbells in the gym after your set, those of us on the far end of the gym are thinking one of two things. Either that you don’t respect the weights (see rule #2) or that you aren’t strong enough to set down a weight that you just lifted! But don’t get me wrong, there are times when it’s perfectly OK to drop a weight. In Olympic weightlifting – with the rubber “bumper plates” – it’s perfectly OK to drop the weights on the ground. After all, when you lift something very heavy over your noggin the safest way to get said weight down is by dropping it. But even then, good etiquette demands that you only let the bar bounce once. Another notable exception is when you’re using a barbell to deadlift. During the eccentric part of the exercise – when you’re setting the weight back down – during the last phase of the movement you are putting your lumbar spine under a whole lot of stress. Therefore, it’s better to let the bar just “fall” a little bit versus trying to control it. Both of the above exceptions, however, are a far cry from dropping those dumbbells and letting them roll over your neighbor’s foot while they are trying to focus on their own exercise.

5. Lay down your yoga mat with care

Have you ever been lying on your yoga mat just minding your own business when out of nowhere someone walks up and throws out their yoga mat like it’s a bed sheet right next to you? If you have, then you’re well aware of the hurricane of floor debris that’s heading your way. Taking a little extra care when setting down your mat will help keep your smiling yoga neighbors, well, smiling.

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6. Re-rack the weights

If you’re strong enough to lift the weight in the first place then you’re strong enough to set it back down where you found it. Always re-rack the weights for the next person, and keep the gym organized.

7. It’s not polite to stare

OK fellas, yes, there are good looking women in the gym. Let’s all do them a favor and not stare at them while they’re exercising. And as I have been witness to, most women in the gym are working out harder and more effectively than most men. So if anything, guys need to do a little less gawking and a little more training.

8. Don’t interrupt during a set

I would be very happy to tell you that I have 2 sets left on the squat rack, but not when I’m in the middle of a set! Interrupting someone who is in the middle of an exercise is not only rude, but dangerous. Distracting someone during a technical lift could cause an injury, and even worse, make them lose count!

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9. Wipe off the bench

This one should be obvious. Yes, we all sweat in the gym, but that doesn’t mean I need to lie down on a nice sweat-coated bench after you walked away without wiping it down. You may not rid the surface of any and all viruses, but it’s still good practice. It’s just like brushing your teeth and buckling your seat belt – it should be such a habit that you don’t even need to remember to do it.

10. Keep your phone in your locker

Unless you’re using your phone to listen to music, ditch it! You have plenty of time to talk on the phone during the day and if anything, the gym should be your daily escape from the world. Social media and email can wait.

11. Leave your ego at the door!

This rule is the most important of them all. We all come from different backgrounds. You may be Ironman competitors, powerlifters, treadmill walkers or yogis. You may be very fit or not so fit. Maybe you’re a little overweight and you mustered up the courage to walk into the gym and try turning your life around. Regardless, when we pass through the doors of a gym, we are all the same. We really are. Because we’re all trying to better ourselves and be healthy and happy individuals. So, here’s a little homework for you. Next time you go to the gym, say something motivational to another person. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they’re doing, just say something nice. A simple “nice work” can go a long ways to inspire someone to come back to the gym tomorrow. Happy lifting everyone.

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Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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