Getting fit for the new year? Some gym do’s and don’ts

“New year, new me.”

Yup, that seems to be the common phase lately. Everyone has made their New Year’s resolutions—you know, that one thing that you say you will accomplish in the next coming year only to fall off the wagon about 2 months in (3 months if you really try hard enough).

Did you know losing weight was Connecticut’s #1 resolution for 2016? That shouldn’t be a surprise. We all know that one person who says it every year and never follows through. As for 2017? You guessed it–the top 3 are: 1. Diet or eat healthier 2. Exercise more 3. Lose weight. Shocking right? (Check out the top 10 here).

Since New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday this year, Monday was considered the holiday. So, people got an extra day to start their resolutions early, and they did not disappoint. The gym was fully packed, and there was a line at the desk of people waiting to sign up.

I thought I would give a helping hand to those who are new to the gym scene or who just want to learn some gym etiquette. As for those who don’t want or think they need to learn, you probably need this the most.

Dress appropriately – Everyone has different views on what they believe is appropriate for the gym. Covering up too much sometimes makes it harder to work out, and not covering up enough makes others feel uncomfortable. We all want to show off that new gym outfit that we just got, but the gym is not a fashion show. Girls, no wearing just a sports bra, just simply put a tank over it. Same goes for the guys, no one cares if you have a six pack… please put a shirt on.

Personal Space– This is my biggest pet peeve when I’m at the gym. It does get crowded at certain times of the day, and I understand that sometimes it is unavoidable, but please do NOT jump on a treadmill next to someone when there is a WHOLE row of empty ones. This seems to happen to me all the time, I guess while I’m running I look so inviting. If there is a TV that you want to watch just simply skip one leaving an empty one in between. This also goes for free weights. Stand at least arm’s length away, and not directly behind someone. You don’t know what kind of workout a person may be doing, you don’t want to get a weight to the face.

What you say?!— No one wants to hear your conversation or your ridiculously bad taste in music. Leave the phone in your locker—better yet don’t even bring it keep it in your car. It’s bad enough that we are already glued to our phones throughout the day. You don’t need to have it attached to your hand at the gym. It’s okay if you miss out on that one text message or what’s happening on FB. Give your eyes a rest! If you have to listen to music, keep it tucked away. Speaking of music, wear headphones and keep the volume at a level only you can hear. And please leave the singing for the shower.

These are ALL mine! – Don’t be that guy or girl. The gym is not for you only, the equipment is for everyone. At this time of the year, the gym is more crowded than ever.  Using multiple machines at once prevents others from using them. This may be okay on a day the gym is empty, but just keep in mind an empty machine is an open machine. This also means no leaving your sweaty towel on one machine and then going to another.

Don’t stare- Ever get the feeling that someone is watching you?  It’s probably one of the worst feelings in the world. You can’t help but think…is there something on my face? Only, at the gym you think… am I doing this workout wrong?  How ridiculous do I look? So don’t stare…it’s just rude in general.

How does this work? – Am I the only one who thinks those machines look more complicated than they actually are? I’m not going to lie but this is one instance where I will break my own rule and watch–not stare–but watch. I’ll take a quick glance at someone else using the machine, because we all know those pictures on the machines for directions are not realistic. If you still are not sure, just ask, almost every gym has people at the front desk ready to give a helping hand.

Be clean- Gyms are dirty. There are so many different types of germs and bacteria that can be anywhere, and the gym is a breeding ground. Men’s Health listed a few of the grossest, but don’t let this turn you away, you can catch any of these anywhere. Just be clean, and wipe the equipment. I personally wipe the machines before and after use.

Locker Rooms- This should be an easy one but some people don’t realize that a locker room is not their home bathroom. I even walked in on someone dying their hair, not kidding! I personally will never take a shower at the gym, but to each his own. As for taking a shower, please no walking around naked… yes people do this. Putting your goods out there may be a little awkward for others who are not prepared for it. There are changing rooms if you need to fully strip down. Lastly, lock your stuff up. Locker rooms are not closely monitored so don’t put your valuables in an unlocked locker and then get all upset when things get stolen.

There you have it, I hope I didn’t make you go running for the hills instead of the gym, actually that might be a better idea…

I’m sure once you start going to the gym on the regular you can add to this list, but for now these basics can get you through your first day. Now go get your swell on.

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