Bootcamp Mzansi: Gym Etiquette

16 January 2015
Here's how NOT to embarrass yourself at gym!
Bootcamp Mzansi: Gym Etiquette Image : 220

If you’re serious about getting fit, then most of your free time will be spent in the gym. Goodie! However, as exciting as it might be to “take back” your body, time spent at the gym can prove flustering. Why? The guy on the treadmill loudly singing along to Lady Gaga, Jono, the bodybuilder who prances about in his man-thong and the many other gym characters who grate your skin. MuscleandFitness.com recently put together a gym bible that you can print out, hand out, or stick on your local gym locker room.

Respect the water line

There’s nothing more frustrating than standing in line behind the guy filling up his giant-size shaker cup or gallon jug of water when all you want is a quick sip between sets. If you’ve got a big bottle to fill and someone without a bottle gets in line behind you, step aside momentarily and let that guy drink first.

Don’t giant set in a crowded room

This one should be the most obvious and self-explanatory, but many guys just don’t get it. The gym is a public space, and the weights belong to everyone. If the gym is nearly empty, circuit train all you want. But if it’s packed (as it is on most weeknights after working hours), don’t hog a bunch of equipment for yourself. If you absolutely need several pairs of dumbbells for a long giant set, be prepared to let other people work in.

Clean up after yourself

You wouldn’t want to strip a few hundred pounds off the bar every time you go to the rack, so don’t leave anything on the bar when you’re done, either. Bars that don’t get stripped after sets will bend over time, and eventually be rendered useless to serious lifters. For dumbbells, many gyms label designated spots for each one, so put them back in those spots. This will also save time when you’re looking for what you need.

Do not walk around naked

There’s nothing wrong with being comfortable in your own skin. However, no one needs to see your junk and we’ll wager that everyone feels the same way. It’s not that hard to cover up with a towel on your way to the shower, so please, do everyone a favor.

Do not carry a cellphone

There’s nothing more distracting than someone yammering away on his cell phone when you’re in the middle of a set. Most people stay connected 24/7 these days, but if you expect to get results in the gym, you’re not going to get them if you’re checking your phone every 10 seconds. Whatever it is, it can wait. Leave the phone in your car or locker.

Offer a spot

We’re all pressed for time when we train, but when someone is lifting without a partner, he’ll probably need a spot at some point in his workout. And at some point, that guy will be you. Just make sure you spot properly. On the bench, this means your hands should be hovering just an inch below the bar, ready to help in case the lifter gets in trouble. Before the set, agree on a cue he can give you during the set if he needs help. Otherwise, don’t help unless he completely stalls out.

Do not interrupt a set

Lifting safely requires 100% concentration, so leave a decent-size buffer between you and anyone who’s in the middle of lifting. You should leave enough of a radius around other guys so that there’s no conceivable chance that you might be in the way if someone drops the weight. This is both a personal space and safety issue. Likewise, if you have a question like, “How many more sets do you have?” it can wait until a break between sets.

Do not sing along to your iPod

No one wants to hear you singing along to the tunes coming through your headphones. Try to hit a falsetto note like Beyonce and people will run in terror. Try to keep up with Tupac and people will think you’re a mumbling psychopath. Whatever kind of music gets you moving, please keep it to yourself.

Honour the newbies

Even if you are the new guy, we hope you won’t stay one for very long. Once you have the lay of the land, remember where you started and that everyone was a new guy once. Offering help, or just saying “Hi”, can go a long way toward creating a positive, productive environment.

Catch Bootcamp Mzansi on Mzansi Magic (DStv Channel 161) every Sunday at 18:00. Stay up to date with all BootCamp news by following us on Twitter and Facebook. You can also join the conversation on WeChat by following MzansimagicTV.