With the new year comes plenty of resolutions. The most popular new year’s resolution is to get into the gym or to get into great shape. While we encourage these decisions highly, there is a certain amount of etiquette that comes with using the gym that new gym-goers may neglect to do or be unaware of. Well, that’s what we’re here for. Please make sure you’re following the below rules when you use any gym (except home gyms. You can do what you want in those):

1. Wipe down machines when you’re done with them.

This is probably the biggest rule you should follow when using the gym, especially now during COVID. Doing a gym workout can be rigorous, and most people will work up quite a sweat, especially if you’re newer to gym usage. And nothing is grosser than sitting down onto a gym machine only to realize it’s covered in the previous user’s excessive perspiration. Not only is it gross, but it’s also unsafe. Without properly disinfecting the machine, it’s very easy to transmit sicknesses to other users, and that’s how you get into bad situations. Because of this, it’s vitally important that you wipe down the machines when you’re done with them. Most gyms provide disinfectants and rags to make this process as easy as possible.

2. Put your weights back/reset machines when you’re done using them.

Look, we aren’t all the same levels of fitness expertise in the gym. Some people have been going to the gym for years and can bench a dump truck, where some people (much like our current blog writer) find the thought of benching anything to be daunting and terrifying. That being said, you should always reset the machines and weights with the new gym-goer in mind. If you just benched a bunch of 60 pound weights on each side of the barbell and leave them sitting on there, there may be some gym users who won’t be able to remove those weights, therefore rendering them unable to use the equipment. Even with machines where you can pick your weight by inserting a peg into a stack of weights, it’s common courtesy to reset when you’re done.  This goes for putting free-weights back on racks, too.

3. Keep phone use to a minimum

We get it. Most of us have our phones on us during workouts so we can listen to music, answer important texts, and take the occasional selfie. These are totally reasonable and acceptable, assuming you keep your phone use in check. If you have to answer a text and you see someone is waiting for the machine you’re using, don’t sit there to answer the text. Either get up and let the next person use the machine, or start your next rep. Also, under no circumstances should you answer your phone and engage in conversation while at the gym. Gyms are loud, so you generally have to speak up to make sure you get heard, and nobody else wants to hear that.

4. Communicate with other gym members, but at a reasonable level.

This one is more broken into two parts: communication (yes) and chattiness (no). First off is communication, which is crucial for a positive gym going experience. Sometime, gyms get busy, and the piece of equipment you need to use may be in use by another person. It’s totally acceptable to wait until they’re done with their current rep to ask when they’ll be done on the machine. But please make sure they’re done with the rep first, otherwise you’ll kind of look like a jerk. Paired with that, if you’d like to take a weight off a rack currently being used, just ask first. Don’t just assume you can take it.

Next is chattiness in the gym. A little bit of conversation is fine, and if you’re friends with the person, you can totally have a conversation with them. But if someone is wearing headphones and kind of seems like they’re in a groove, you will most likely throw them out of it if you approach them just to chat. Also, the gym is NOT a place to get your flirt on. Most people don’t want to be hit on while they’re exhausted and sweaty, so please save it for somewhere else.

5. You must wear closed-toed shoes. Otherwise, we’ll kick you out.

This is less of an etiquette thing, and more of a rule for all gyms. You MUST wear closed-toed shoes. This is a safety thing for both you and other gym goers. Dropping weights on your foot hurts like crazy, and having closed-toed shoes can help prevent some of that injury. Just looking in a hypothetical situation, if you’re lifting a kettlebell and it slips and falls on your foot, there’s a pretty good chance there will be blood and broken toes. Now, if you’re wearing open-toed shoes, your foot blood is going to go all over the place, and the gym will have to close off that entire section for cleanup, which ruins it for everyone.

Paired with safety, it’s important to have solid support on your feet when using the gym, and open-toed shoes simply don’t provide the support that is needed. This can cause injuries to your legs, back, and shoulders, as well as create long-lasting side effects that you won’t know about until way further down the road.

6. Wear headphones if you’d like to listen to your own music

Never, under any circumstances, should you bring a Bluetooth speaker into a gym. Like, literally never. If you don’t want to listen to the default music in the gym and want to listen to your own music while you workout, nobody will judge you for that. But nobody who is fine with the default music in the gym wants to listen to what you’re listening to. So, please, if you want to listen to your own music, just go buy a pair of headphones. We shouldn’t have to say this, but you’d be surprised. This is also poolside etiquette, but we’ll save that for another day.