100 lb. Club - Gym Etiquette




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Momto2Ms
01-02-2010, 10:45 AM
I made a post the other day about hating exercise and how that has been the most difficult piece of the healthy lifestyle puzzle for me to adopt. Well, I decided to just bite the bullet and I joined the YMCA. :carrot:

I was wondering about appropriate etiquette for using gym equipment, as well as swimming in a lap pool (for example, there are two lanes open during the time I have found to swim next week. What do I do it there are two people already using them? Things like that, and others that I may not thought about yet).

I am very anxious about doing this, but know it is a good choice. I just would feel more comfortable knowing the unwritten (or maybe in some cases, written) rules of using a public gym. And, I also thought it might be helpful for those of us who are not gym savvy to have some helpful hints on starting this new chapter of our lives. :)


Get n healthy
01-02-2010, 11:02 AM
I used to have that same problem at the Y with their elliptical. I would put my time down and someone would ALWAYS overshoot their time. At first, i just asked one of the trainers there, "what am i supposed to do"...she quickly went over and said, "move it!" So after about 20 times of that i got tired of it and just told them myself to move it. I dont know how you would get their attention in a pool though, that is a tough one. Why are people so rude...cant they just stick to their own time slot? And if you want two time slots, then sign up for two time slots...geeze that is a pet peeve. I guess ask the life guards there or whoever is around, otherwise just jump in the pool and ask them what time it is. ha ha

Get n healthy
01-02-2010, 11:05 AM
Oh and BTW, congrats on joining a gym...that is my achilles heel too...i loath working out but i LOVE the feeling after i work out.


dragonwoman64
01-02-2010, 11:14 AM
I love the Y, have been a member of the local branch for a few years now. The pools here have written instructions, i.e., how many people per lane during at a time, etc. It's structured. If you have q's, there's always a lifeguard on hand at the pool. I don't swim on a regular basis, so others may give you better tips for that.

for gym equipment, I always wipe off the machines after I use them (including the exercise pads and resistance machines), I will add that I don't always see all that many people doing that, ha. don't feel nervous about things in general, I've found it to be a relaxed atmosphere.

have a great time! the Y I use offers a bunch of classes I haven't taken advantage of yet, you might even find something in that vein you love. belly dancing, tai chi, even scuba diving.

adding: there might be a surge in membership at the new year that will die down (I've seen that and not seen that, didn't happen last jan), if you see it more crowded in the beginning, that may not be how it stays.

JayEll
01-02-2010, 11:58 AM
My gym (not a YMCA) doesn't have a sign-up sheet, but it does have disinfectant spray and paper towels that one is supposed to use to wipe down the machines after use or before use. If a machine looks sweaty, I wipe it down beforehand, and I always do so afterward. I also wipe off my hands with the disinfectant and wash them before I leave the gym. This is just basic public health!

Ask at the desk regarding the lap swimming?

Jay

Meg
01-02-2010, 12:24 PM
In addition to those great tips, a few more. :)

First, if someone asks to "work in" on a weight machine, it means they want to take turns with you -- you do a set, then they jump in and do their set while you're resting, then you do your set while they're resting etc. It's always good manners to say yes, or to offer if you see someone waiting for your machine.

Second, don't ever interrupt someone in the middle of a set, unless the gym is on fire. I have a huge pet peeve with people trying to talk to me while I'm in the middle of a set. It kills concentration, plus if someone can talk while they're lifting, they're probably not working hard enough! Wait until someone finishes a set before saying anything.

Third, always put your weights and equipment back when you're done. Guys especially are guilty of loading huge amounts of weight on a machine and then walking away when they're done, or leaving DBs on the floor or BBs unracked. Even though you'll see it a lot, it's still bad manners.

Fourth, don't hog the equipment. Don't be the one who grabs three sizes of DBs and takes them all to your bench and no one else can find what they need. Use one size, put them back, then grab the next size.

Fifth, don't wear cologne or anything that's heavily scented to the gym. You'll reek when you sweat and it really bothers a lot of people when they're working out.

Most of gym etiquette is just common sense and ordinary good manners, so you'll be fine. :)

kaw
01-02-2010, 01:21 PM
Congratulations on joining a gym!

A corollary of Meg's first etiquette tip (on "working in") is that you should get off the equipment between your sets. You can stay nearby, of course, which helps people know that you're still interested in using the equipment. But sitting on the equipment while you are taking a rest break prevents other people from using it, especially if they're too shy to ask to "work in."

If you're working out in the free weight section -- a Good Thing, incidentally, but a topic for a different post -- it's good etiquette to give the "right of way" to people who are carrying heavy dumbbells to or from the dumbbell racks.

Similarly, take the dumbbells away from the racks a bit to do your exercises, thereby leaving access to the racks open. (This can be easier said than done in busy, space-constrained gyms!)

A lot of gyms have "no cell phone" rules, now, I notice. Even if your gym doesn't have such a rule, it's common courtesy not to talk on the phone in the gym.

Oh, and if you wear lifting gloves, they should match your purse.

Be strong,
Kim

Meg
01-02-2010, 01:30 PM
Oh, and if you wear lifting gloves, they should match your purse.



Bwah ha ha ha! :rofl: Mine are an adorable purple and black.

PaulaM
01-02-2010, 09:56 PM
I haven't been posting in quite awhile, but I'm so excited to see so many going to the Y! I joined a few months ago and I am loving it!! I can see muscles in my arms that I haven't seen in decades. At first I told myself I couldn't use the pool, but I got over that pretty quickly, bought a tankini and now swim after every workout. I have a herniated disc in my back so being in that pool is the one time I have no pain, it is glorious. Good luck with your workouts, I think 2010 is going to have a lot of good changes for us all.

girlonfire
01-02-2010, 11:04 PM
One thing I would suggest is not hanging around on the machines once you're done with your workout. I often see people just chilling on the machines, watching TV or talking to their friends when I wait for the machine. So in addition to everything the others have said, use the machines for working out and move on.

Not to sound like a crab.... ;)

hotstuff
01-02-2010, 11:24 PM
Fun things I've learned:
1. Ask the front desk rep for an orientation on the equipment. Think of it as a mini training session. Ask questions, take notes, ask them to perform a correct repetition so you see what it should look like. If they're not interested in helping (very rare), you might need to ask for a personal trainer and send a quick and professional e-mail to the manager. It's your gym now. Take control.
2. Don't be afraid to ask if the person hanging around the machine you want is done and if you can jump on while they're resting.
3. I bring my own small towel and use the gym's disinfectant to wipe down my machines when I'm done.
4. Some other members might want to help you improve your form. Often it's because they were once in your shoes and don't want you to injure yourself. But if you don't want the help, it's OK. Just thank them for the advice and you'll talk it over with your trainer the next session (it's a lot nicer way to get rid of them than ignoring them - I saw it happen once!)
5. If you don't want to talk to anyone, get the bud earphones. You can't hear a peep!
6. At some Y's you can change the channel on the TV. Look around first to see if anyone minds that you're changing the channel.
7. Smile at people! They'll remember you and often you can make a few nice "gym buddies". It helps you to stay accountable because they'll remember the last time you were in the gym.
8. There are a lot of people out there who don't follow the rules. The gym reps probably know who they are. Just be the better person and do what you can to follow the rules.
9. Please, no grunting or loud talking. Seriously, no one wants to know that you can (barely) lift 85 pounds over your head or what you're doing after work tomorrow.
10. If you use the mats or balls or what have you, put it back. If the mats are full and people are waiting, you might want to ask if they would like whatever equipment you were using.

Hope this helps! I used to be a gym newbie once. Just remember that we're all in it together.

AzimuthRing
01-03-2010, 01:29 AM
I used to be a member of the YMCA, and HotStuff has some excellent advice!

When I started at the Y, I took a 2 hour orientation class, and they showed me all the equipment, went through their rules (Ex. 30 minutes max on a machine if people are waiting - and you could always approach a rep/trainer for help to get people moving). Always clean your machine after use (and I always did it before hand also). Throw your trash away, and keep things neat. No talking on cell phones were allowed on the machines (but you could talk anywhere else, also cell phones were prohibited from the bathroom).

All in all, it was a good experience, and whenever I needed guidance I just asked. They are more than willing to educate you on the rules of the road!

Hope you have fun! I just recently started (as in today) going to a Rec Center and it is fun!

junebug41
01-03-2010, 01:39 AM
Fun things I've learned:
6. At some Y's you can change the channel on the TV. Look around first to see if anyone minds that you're changing the channel.

This goes unnoticed too often, I think. Sometimes the TV is a great focal point and I feel like I'm about to trip if someone changes the channel on me :lol:

You should have seen what happened when a guy switched the channel from Biggest Loser a couple of years ago. I thought a riot was going to break out :o

diabetic z
01-03-2010, 03:22 AM
...

Third, always put your weights and equipment back when you're done. Guys especially are guilty of loading huge amounts of weight on a machine and then walking away when they're done, or leaving DBs on the floor or BBs unracked. Even though you'll see it a lot, it's still bad manners.

Fourth, don't hog the equipment. Don't be the one who grabs three sizes of DBs and takes them all to your bench and no one else can find what they need. Use one size, put them back, then grab the next size.

...

This is so true, some guys are the worst. I was at the rec center today. Saturdays are my heavy lifting days. There were two guys in the weight room using up 5 stations and they had weights all over the place. It wasn't like the place was empty, there were plenty of other people pumping iron. I had to kindly ask them to free up a weight bench and if they were done with some dumbbells. After pestering them a couple more times, they got the drift and picked up after themselves.

I would like to add one more thing. It may not be considered etiquette but is important nonetheless. Please look out for one another. I usually workout alone, as I suspect most people do, so I seldom have a spotter. Today, I noticed a gentleman struggling with a bench press and he couldn't get the bar off his chest. Standing right next to him were the same two bozos that were hogging up all the equipment and they did nothing to help the poor guy. I quickly walked across the room and asked the guy if he needed a spot. When he replied "yes" I pulled the weight up and onto the rack.

salsa chip
01-03-2010, 08:00 AM
You should have seen what happened when a guy switched the channel from Biggest Loser a couple of years ago. I thought a riot was going to break out :o

:lol: That's funny! At my gym there are four tvs round the cardio area, usually set to two channels. So you can just look at which one you want to.

I don't have anything to add, really - except please don't speak to a personal trainer whilst he's working with a client. No matter how hawt you think his poor, sweaty, hard-working (at that moment) client is. Really. It's pretty annoying ;)

losermom
01-03-2010, 09:54 AM
Third, always put your weights and equipment back when you're done. Guys especially are guilty of loading huge amounts of weight on a machine and then walking away when they're done, or leaving DBs on the floor or BBs unracked. Even though you'll see it a lot, it's still bad manners.


The lunkheads at my gym (a university) often leave the 100 lb weights on the squat machine. I'm afraid that I will break a toe removing them and have hurt myself in the past! I try to grab some dude walking by to help me remove them. They are usually very nice about helping the "old lady".

dragonwoman64
01-03-2010, 01:35 PM
the machines at our gym all their own little tv screens. I like to watch movies without commercials (like HBO channels), that makes the time go by fastest for me. It always seems like a guy I know or a trainers walks up behind me right at the steamiest scene. Pretty funny.

Aclai4067
01-03-2010, 02:21 PM
At the Y there is a one set limit while others are waiting for the weight-lifting machines. That said, if the gym isn't busy (the weight room at mine usually isn't) I think it's incredably rude to kick someone off a machine that they aren't finished with. Find another machine to use and go back to that one later. If it is busy (all the machines you need are taken) then obviously you need to ask someone to work in, but PLEASE ask politely (and respond politely when asked)!


Oh, and a question for other Y members: My Y only has weight machines and small dumbells but no larger free weights, is this typical or is my YMCA weird?

LitChick
01-03-2010, 04:54 PM
At the Y there is a one set limit while others are waiting for the weight-lifting machines. That said, if the gym isn't busy (the weight room at mine usually isn't) I think it's incredably rude to kick someone off a machine that they aren't finished with. Find another machine to use and go back to that one later. If it is busy (all the machines you need are taken) then obviously you need to ask someone to work in, but PLEASE ask politely (and respond politely when asked)!


You may want to take into account that there are some of us whose trainers have instructed us to do our machines in a particular order. So when I have to switch around my circuit program because some guy decides to sit at a machine for a minute or two while he rests in between sets, I find that incredibly rude.

EDIT: Oops, I meant to answer your question. At my Atlanta-area Y, we have the whole slew of free weights. We used to go to a Y in Charlotte, NC and they had quite a selection as well. But I don't know if that's representative or not.

hotstuff
01-03-2010, 06:40 PM
Another thing I think I forgot to say: A smile is usually your best weapon!
someone stronger than you - often a man - is happy to help sweet little you get those heavy weights back to wherever they go.
They're (men and women) also happy to let you work in a set. If you have good form, they're also apt to respect you for taking the time to work out correctly and will treat you as another gym-goer, not just another girl doing 50 reps with 3 lb weights.

Aclai4067
01-03-2010, 06:51 PM
well a minute or 2 between sets is rediculous yeah, i wait like 15 to 20 second between sets. if you're going to wait a minute or two you should absolutely get off

oh, and I'm in a metro-atl Y as well. Which one do you go to? I'm at the Decatur-Dekalb one

LitChick
01-03-2010, 07:18 PM
well a minute or 2 between sets is rediculous yeah, i wait like 15 to 20 second between sets. if you're going to wait a minute or two you should absolutely get off

oh, and I'm in a metro-atl Y as well. Which one do you go to? I'm at the Decatur-Dekalb one

Yeah, taking a quick breather is not a big deal to me, since sets themselves don't take that long. It's the men (and it's always men) who just sit there that bug me, especially when they see people like me standing there waiting.

I go to the Y in Newnan, about 25 miles southwest of Atlanta.

Goddess Jessica
01-03-2010, 09:45 PM
... well as swimming in a lap pool (for example, there are two lanes open during the time I have found to swim next week. What do I do it there are two people already using them?

I'm a YMCA person as well.

Here's the usual lane rules:
If you are the only one in the lane, do whatever you want. When someone joins you in the lane, pick one side of the center line and stick to that side. It's perfectly neighborly to stop and tell the person which side you'll swim on.

If you are joining someone in the lane, sit on the edge or get in the water -- this allows the person who is in the lane to notice that you're here and allow them to select one side of the lane. (If you haven't noticed, you're splitting a lane).

If all lanes have two swimmers already, ask the lifeguard for a lane suggestion. They usually have an idea of who might be finishing their workout. If they don't pick a lane that might have swimmers in your same skill set. Again, ready yourself in the water or legs in the water so that the swimmers notice you. In general, you all then move to a counterclockwise (drive to the right) circle within the lane. However, if the two other swimmers are working out together they may make the suggest of splitting the lane and they take one side. But that's up to them to let you know that.

In circle swimming:
If someone wants to pass, they will gently tap your feet. At the wall, you will stop and go to the right corner. The passer will turn and go ahead to you and then you resume swimming.

If you need to rest, you should hang on the wall in the right corner of the lane. This will allow the other swimmers to continue without bumping into you.

Hope that helps!!

dragonwoman64
01-04-2010, 09:54 AM
Oh, and a question for other Y members: My Y only has weight machines and small dumbells but no larger free weights, is this typical or is my YMCA weird?

my Y has a resistance machine room, there's another area where trainers work with several size dbs and other equipment, then downstairs they have a room with the larger free weights, bench press stuff, etc.

Smiling_Sara
01-04-2010, 12:54 PM
The only gym etiquette I am really a stickler or know about is wiping down the eqip after you have used it.

Momto2Ms
01-04-2010, 10:44 PM
Wow! This is great! Thank you guys so much!!!

Momto2Ms
01-04-2010, 10:45 PM
I'm a YMCA person as well.

Here's the usual lane rules:
If you are the only one in the lane, do whatever you want. When someone joins you in the lane, pick one side of the center line and stick to that side. It's perfectly neighborly to stop and tell the person which side you'll swim on.

If you are joining someone in the lane, sit on the edge or get in the water -- this allows the person who is in the lane to notice that you're here and allow them to select one side of the lane. (If you haven't noticed, you're splitting a lane).

If all lanes have two swimmers already, ask the lifeguard for a lane suggestion. They usually have an idea of who might be finishing their workout. If they don't pick a lane that might have swimmers in your same skill set. Again, ready yourself in the water or legs in the water so that the swimmers notice you. In general, you all then move to a counterclockwise (drive to the right) circle within the lane. However, if the two other swimmers are working out together they may make the suggest of splitting the lane and they take one side. But that's up to them to let you know that.

In circle swimming:
If someone wants to pass, they will gently tap your feet. At the wall, you will stop and go to the right corner. The passer will turn and go ahead to you and then you resume swimming.

If you need to rest, you should hang on the wall in the right corner of the lane. This will allow the other swimmers to continue without bumping into you.

Hope that helps!!

This was so helpful! Thank you!!