Going to a gym is an important step in getting fit. For some, walking inside a gym for the first time can be intimidating. Marathon runners on the treadmills, triathlon competitors on the bikes and Olympic weight lifters doing squats can be a bit scary. While you can't control who works out at your gym, you can follow some rules that will make everyone's gym experience more enjoyable.
The first thing you need to do is read the rules that are posted at each gym. They are usually on a poster that is hard to miss. If you can't find them ask a staff member to explain them for you. Most gyms have the same basic rules but different gyms enforce rules at varying degrees.
There are rules drawn up for your own safety and these are the most important to follow. Make sure you are wearing close toed athletic shoes. These can protect your feet should you accidentally drop some weight on them. They'll also keep you from slipping as dress shoes don't have the same kind of soles. Stay away from any kind of sandals or flip flops. Apart from exposing your feet, you could slip out of them causing major injury to yourself and others.
Hydration is very important while working out and all gyms have water fountains. If you prefer to bring your own drink, make sure it is in a sports bottle with a cap on it. Bringing a cup from a restaurant can spill easily if dropped or tipped. This will create a huge and dangerous mess.
While this may not be a rule, its always nice to bring a towel with you to wipe off excess sweat. Many gyms offer towels to rent out while you are exercising. If you sweat excessively, ask a staff member for some disinfectant to clean off the machine. There's nothing worse than getting to a machine and realizing that it is drenched with sweat. Gyms are already filled with germs, do your part to keep it as clean as possible.
It seems like everyone at a gym is in a hurry to get their routine done and leave. No one likes waiting for machines and its important for everyone to realize that the equipment is for everyone to use. If you're on a machine that someone is waiting for, always let them work in (unless you have a good reason not to). Usually, they'll be done their set while you're in between yours so you won't lose anytime. Free weights are a different story since they require you to move weights around, Still, if both of you are using the same weights, there isn't a good reason why two people can't be on one bench.
Since most people are in a hurry to get done with the gym, be considerate when you are doing anything except exercising. If a friend interrupts you while on a machine and the conversation lasts longer than expected, move off to the side so others can use the machine.
The Bottom Line
Remember that all gyms are different and when you first sign up, ask them what their main rules are. Going to the gym is supposed to be fun and productive and all these rules help keep it that way.