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7 Rules of Gym Etiquette

Posted by Sean Hutchinson on November 6, 2014 at 11:05 AM

So, I’ve come to the conclusion that there seems to be a lack of knowledge or awareness of proper gym etiquette wherever I go these days, and it’s only getting worse as the average globo gym member makes the switch to the world of CrossFit. Below I will break down some ways you can achieve better gym etiquette, specifically in the CrossFit Box.

1. Show up on time.

My mom always preached to me when I was younger, “If you’re early then you’re on time, if you’re on time, then you’re.” Wait what??! Point being, make an effort to get to class a little early, especially if you plan to plop down and foam roll for 10 minutes. Once class starts it’s time to start warming up with the rest of the class. This doesn’t mean show up early, wait until class starts, then grab a foam roller while the rest of the class is running 400m. The worse is when we’re done warming up and somebody rolls in and says sorry I’m late what should I do. Well, you missed the warm up…you should probably warm up and catch up with the rest of the class. I’m a pretty laid back coach so I’m fine letting people jump into class but I know plenty of gyms with coaches that will tell you “Sorry you’re late, you’ll have to wait until the next class starts.” I know you probably have better things to do than stand around and wait until the next class starts but let’s not make a habit out of showing up late.

2. Pay attention when the coach is going over the WOD.

Now I know sometimes people ask questions because they genuinely don’t understand what’s going on, but when the coach has to re-explain the workout to 5 different people because they were too busy getting water, running to the bathroom, or checking their phone while coach is going over the workout it becomes a problem. Stop what you’re doing for 5 minutes and listen up. When the coach speaks it’s probably because they are telling you something important. Even if you already know what’s going on shut up and listen so the rest of the class knows what’s going on.

3. Put your equipment away!

This is the most common rule of gym etiquette I see broken. Something that was pounded into my head as a child by my father was to always put something away when I was finished. I can’t count how many times I got in trouble for leaving toys out. Eventually I figured out that pops would stop complaining if I simply put my stuff away when I was done with it. Same thing goes in the gym. The last thing I want to do is pick up all your weights and move your box after you “forgot” to put your stuff away. I already did my workout of the day and I don’t want to lift anything again until tomorrow and neither does anybody else in the following class. Also, if you’re putting your equipment up, PUT IT BACK EXACTLY HOW YOU FOUND IT! I can’t stress this enough. If the jump rope is hung up correctly when you got it out, put it back the same way don’t just toss it up on the rack because you’re too tired to spend 5 seconds hanging it up correctly. Stack the 45’s with the 45’s not the 25’s and put the men’s bars back with the men’s bars. If everybody takes the time to do this the gym will always look nice and you’ll always be able to find what you’re looking for.

4. Clean up after yourself and your children.

It’s a pretty simple rule that seems to always be overlooked. If you make a mess, clean it up. If you bring your kid and he spills a juice box, clean it up. If you use a cup or a paper towel, throw it away. If you pee on the toilet seat, wipe it off. I’m a coach, not a janitor. Same thing goes for putting your equipment away. It makes the gym look nice and presentable for the next class that comes in. Biggest thing ever…IF YOU BLEED ON THE BAR, CLEAN IT UP!!! Good God, you think this would be common sense!? I can’t count how many times I’ve seen people rip on the pull up bar and just keep going then finish the workout and walk out. Clearly if you were bleeding during the workout there is most likely going to be blood on the bar you were just using. The gym is already dirty enough; let’s not make it worse by leaving bodily fluids that can transmit disease all over the place.

5. Unless you have somewhere important to be don’t start cleaning up your weights until everybody is done.

I don’t know about you but it makes me feel like a total wimp when I see the guy next to me already putting his bar up and all his weights as he mixes up his protein shake on his way out the door. CrossFit is supposed to be about community and supporting your fellow athletes. If you finish first I expect you to be cheering on and encouraging the rest of the class. You can grab a protein shake if you want but don’t start walking in front of people carrying your weights when they are still struggling to finish the 2nd round. Once everybody else is done, now is the time to start packing up to go home. You signed up for an hour-long class, so participate for an hour.

6. Don’t walk or stand in front of people taking big lifts during strength.

This is a rule that carry’s over from my days in Weightlifting. It was one of the worst offenses you could commit in the gym. There is nothing more annoying than getting set to take a PR clean with 300+lbs and looking up to see Joe Bob standing in front of you talking about the awesome football game last night he watched on ESPN. Respect the fact that these lifts require tremendous focus and somebody could seriously injure themselves if distracted during a heavy barbell movement. That brings up another good point. Be aware of what is going on in the gym. Look around; see what your fellow gym-mate is putting on the bar. They might need some extra encouragement during a new PR lift. I don’t mind talking in the gym but if somebody is trying to get focused for a big lift, stop talking for a few seconds and cheer them on!

7. Don’t complain about the music.

This is probably one of the most annoying parts about coaching CrossFit. Jill hates rock, Jack hates rap, Bob only likes to workout to dubstep. Sorry guys and gals, we can’t please everybody. As a coach I try my best to keep some good energy flowing during the WODS but let’s face it, not everybody is going to love the music that is playing. We need to be more open minded when it comes to this. I try to switch it up every day. Some days rap, some days rock, some days dubstep, hell every now and then I’ll throw on some country music. Point is, don’t worry about the damn music and just get your workout done!

That’s about all I can think of this time but if I can think of anything else you can bet your ass I’ll write a blog about it. If you can follow these 7 points you and the rest of your classmates will have a much better experience at the gym.

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