So being a “Noob” or “Newbie” in the Gym can be a little daunting for some..
I can’t remember my first time to step into a gym to be honest, but let’s just pretend it went something like this. I was 14, I just broke up with my girl and was needing some way to channel my frustrations so a friend suggested we go workout. I had no idea what I was doing, I just wandered from machine to machine just trying not to draw attention to myself. Then I tried the one exercise I thought I knew. The bench press! After loading up more weight on the bar than I could handle, my spaghetti arms barely removed it safely from the bar. And then it happened, I proceeded to drop it on my chest, I panicked, slowly rolling my body to the right and watched as the weights spiraled off the bar and onto the ground making an earth shattering and attention drawing noise. And with that I quickly left the gym. Ego left behind on the floor.
Fortunately, since that made up day, I’ve made every mistake known to man when it comes to training in a gym over the past twenty years or so. So today I figured I would go over some of the basic fundamentals of gym etiquette as I believe them to be, others may have different theories but they aren’t the one’s writing this blog, so to heck with them.
So right off the bat, one of the most important lessons I had to learn while training in the gym was. Nobody actually cares about you!
Yes, there might be a room full of people looking at you when you do something stupid, like drop your weights on the ground while making animal sex sounds, but two minutes later everyone goes back to doing their own thing. Truth be told, most everyone in there is also self-conscious about how they look in the gym, usually they are more concerned with how they look in the mirror than with what you’re doing.
See that super-jacked dude over there? He is looking in the mirror wondering why he’s not as big as that other guy over there.
That chick on the stair-stepper? She wishes she was confident enough to go to the free weights section.
That guy in the super tight spandex shorts, running sprints? He is praying the girl next to him won’t notice that he just farted …And yeah he’s self-conscious as well.
And if you’re afraid that people are judging you because you’re out of shape, the majority of people who are regular gym junkies, have a great deal of respect for people who are out of shape and in the gym giving it all they have. Because that’s how they got started.
I would say in my 20 plus years of going to the gym, roughly 80% of the regular gym going population really doesn’t know how to exercise properly. So with that in mind just realize if your new to the gym you’re really not that far behind most of the regulars. So now you just need to give yourself a little confidence that says you belong in the free weight area or as I call it the “Promised Land”
So I want you to always remember this piece of advice, It makes no difference if your male or female, young or old, overweight or skinny..You have just as much of a right to use the free weights as anybody else.
If you squatting with 45 lbs. and the guy next to you is squatting 450 lbs. it doesn’t matter, you pay the same gym fees as they do and your workout is just as important as theirs.
So, let’s give you a mission to complete for your first free weights session in the gym…
I want you to select one free-weight exercise that you plan on mastering, perhaps it will be the Squat or maybe the Overhead Press. Go online read some articles, watch some videos, and practice the form in your house. Turn yourself into a Bad-Ass version of you, one that loves to use the free weights. Or, better yet activate the Beast-Mode that is inside you and take some time wandering around the free weights and focus on that one exercise and block everything else out.
Don’t look around, don’t focus on anyone else. Put 100% focus on YOU!! And then once you have completed your one exercise you can head back to the machines if you want. But push your limits and step outside that comfort zone.
I have heard from many people who are new to the gym that one of their biggest fears is making a mistake, and they don’t want to look foolish.
So like any other activity, there are some unwritten rules, and if you have done these before don’t stress it, remember 80% of the people have probably done them too.
Something to remember..
The squat rack and power rack are for squatting, overhead presses, and other compound barbell exercises. Not Bicep Curls! Nothing can be as annoying as watching some Freakazoid occupy the squat rack so he could do bicep curls…with dumbbells. That is on par with insulting someone’s mother, or keying your car.
Just so you know there is actually a “curl rack” made for you to do curls in, so don’t be that guy or girl. In a lot of gyms squat racks are limited, so do the right thing. Or you will have “eyes” on you!
It’s common decency to wipe down the bench/equipment after you use it, especially if you’re a sweaty mess, nobody wants to use the machine after you when you leave a puddle of your juices on it..So do the right thing.
Same goes with chalk, if you use it then it will get all over the equipment. Clean it up.
Asking for help…
Don’t be afraid to ask for a spot, if you’re doing something like the bench press, just ask, there is no shame in this. It’s a common gym practice so use it. And who knows maybe you will make a new gym friend in the process.
Know your limits…
Don’t completely tie up several pieces of equipment at once, especially if it’s busy in the gym, also don’t be afraid to “work in”. Don’t be the person that does a circuit of squats, pull ups and bench presses all at the same time when it’s crowded. Only occupy one piece of equipment at a time whenever possible, and if you’re doing a “superset” bring your dumbbells or whatever else you need over to you. If the gym isn’t packed then you can get away with using more than one piece of equipment at a time. Just be sure to let anyone who wants to “work in” the chance to do so.
If you are not sure how to do something..ASK..Ask a trainer in the gym if you’re not sure how something works or are unsure of how to do a lift. Or, if you have been going to the gym for a while and you see somebody who knows more, ask them.
I am always sort of flattered when someone comes up to me and asks for help or advice, so I have no problem trying to help others.
Be a decent human being..
Be courteous to other gym members, don’t sit on your phone and hog equipment or interrupt others mid-set. Keep your own area tidy, it’s usually best to keep your crap in the locker room. And don’t critique others unless they ask you to. (I’m sure you wouldn’t want someone telling you how to exercise)
Well there you have it, a few common sense gym etiquette suggestions for you, hopefully you’re ready to hit the gym now and remember it’s about having fun, while getting yourself into the best shape possible.
Don’t forget to go into your Beast Mode!!!