10 Things Not To Do At The Gym

Joining a gym provides an excellent opportunity to get in shape in a professional, social environment. You'll have access to the best workout machines and accessories as well as have the opportunity to engage in group activities through exercise classes in yoga, various martial arts, dance, Pilates and a variety of other options.

Most gyms also have personal trainers on staff who are available for customized workout sessions and fitness plans. However, it's important for those who have never been a member of a gym to understand certain aspects of gym protocol to optimize their workout experience. We've compiled a list of 10 common mistakes that new gym-users frequently make. Give yourself a head start in developing a long, healthy relationship with the fitness center of your choice by avoiding these behaviors right from the beginning.

The word etiquette spelt out on wooden pieces in reliefProper gym etiquette is important

Being Glued to Your Screen

Talking or texting on your cell phone, checking Facebook, tweeting or otherwise focusing on an electronic screen is distracting to others and unfair to your fitness routine. You won't get the most out of your workout with your face stuck in a smartphone, and other participants in gym activities don't need or want to hear your conversations. Walking around in crowded workout areas while you text is behavior that should be avoided at all costs. Leave your device safely in your gym bag locked inside your locker, and take a break from technology.

A picture with a red slash through a cell phone and red circle around the cell phoneLeave your cell phone in your gym bag, locked away

Talking Too Much to Others While They're Working Out

A quick, casual hello when encountering someone you know in the gym is only polite. However, interrupting people during their workouts to have a chat is considered bad manners, and you run the risk of breaking their concentration and minimizing their workout by doing so. Those who wish to do so can socialize after their workouts in the on-site juice or coffee bar.

Taking Foolish Chances With Equipment

Always know how to use whatever pieces of equipment you've chosen to include in your workout, and use that equipment responsibly at all times. Never try to bench press more than you can reasonably handle, for instance. Consider working with a personal trainer for your first few sessions to ensure that you're using equipment properly.

A personal trainer helping a woman do tricep extensions properly. He is standing behind herUse of a personal trainer while you learn the basics can help immensely

Not Remaining Focused

The mind has a significant impact on the development of strong muscles, and failing to remain focused can sabotage your workout efforts. Save daydreaming, catching up on your reading, and mulling over work or personal issues, and focus on your workout. Muscles depend on signals from the brain via chemical neurotransmitters to attain optimal functioning, and being distracted diminishes this process. Think about using the law of attraction to help focus. For example, each rep, say to yourself "Big Muscle" to help manifest bigger muscles and to engage your mind into your workout. See here to learn more about the law of attraction. 

a black background that says law of attraction in white in the center with related words surrounding the main textInvolve your mind with your workout

Neglecting to Clean Machines, Mats and Benches Before and After Use

These items potentially host all manner of viral and fungal pathogens. Gyms offer sanitizers, sprays and wipes so that customers can quickly clean these surfaces. Failing to do so is risky behavior that puts both you and other workout participants in danger of contracting a wide variety of disorders and diseases. On a similar note, never work out with an open sore. Keep it under cover with a clean bandage that's firmly in place.

A woman's hand clutching a sanitization bottle with her fingers on the sprayer.Proper sanitization is everyone's responsibility, keep the gym germ free

Showering Barefoot

Protect yourself by wearing some type of protective footwear while using your gym's shower. Like mats and benches, shower surfaces may harbor disease-causing organisms. You can purchase special shower slippers, but a cheap pair of flip-flops from the dollar store works just as well. Be sure to clean and disinfect the sandals, particularly the bottoms, before drying them off and placing them back in your gym bag.

A white thong shower slipperA cheap pair of shower slippers can keep you germ free when on gym shower surfaces

Giving Unsolicited Advice

No one likes a know-it-all, so refrain from giving others in the gym unsolicited advice about their workouts. The only exception might be when you notice someone using equipment in a dangerous or irresponsible manner. If an immediate threat to health or safety exists, you should certainly speak up. Otherwise, a discreet word to a staff member is a better course of action.

Mistaking the Gym for a Singles Bar

Don't be the guy or the girl on the make at your local gym. It's not the venue for prowling for hookups, and many gyms are taking a proactive stance against this type of behavior. At best, you'll develop an unsavory reputation as the person who's desperate for a date, and at worst, the gym will decide to rescind your membership.

Focus on getting your body beautiful, and then take it to more suitable environments for making romantic connections. If you and another gym member develop a mutual interest in one another, it's easy enough to move the flirtation to a nearby coffee or wine bar. 

4 creepy zombie creatures all in blackDon't be a creeper at the gym

Eavesdropping on Personal Trainers and Their Clients

Although listening in on sessions between personal trainers and other workout participants is certainly a tempting way to gain free advice, doing so is considered disrespectful to personal trainers as well as to their clients. If a trainer's advice impresses you, sign up for a session.

Limiting Workouts to Cardio Only

Many people erroneously believe that a cardio workout is all that is necessary to maintain optimal fitness levels. However, most men and women begin losing muscle mass by the age of 30. Adding strength training helps build lean muscle tissue, which is an important component in maintaining an optimum-functioning metabolism that efficiently and quickly burns calories. 

Regular workouts at a good gym provide substantial life-enhancing benefits, so nurture your membership well and reap the lifelong rewards.

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