Going to the gym should be a no-muss, no-fuss experience. You’re simply there to sweat and take some stress-free time to yourself. (unless you go with a buddy — then it becomes more of a social call.) Of course, the gym isn’t a perfect place. Between misplaced equipment and unsanitary machines, there are plenty of things at the gym that are slowly killing you–some that might even discourage you from working out all together.
If you’re like me, and exercising already takes you a lot of effort, the last thing you want is a crowd full of intimidating gym junkies putting your health at risk. (Though, to be fair, newbies can do this to.) But in the rare instances I’ve gone to the gym, I still witness people coming too close to the elliptical machine I’m using, making the experience more bothersome than it should be.
There aren't official guidelines for behavior at the gym, but it’s expected to follow certain etiquette rules while you're there. Or, so you'd think. Who knows — you might even be guilty of committing some murderous gym mishaps without realizing it. So the next time you hit your nearest fitness facility, here are some common, disgusting, somewhat deadly habits to avoid.
1. Not Wiping Down Gym Equipment
Who wants to touch a sweaty handlebar? In addition to being gross, yoga teacher Jessica Mehta told Prevention that not wiping down your equipment after use is also dangerous. “I've been diagnosed with cellulitis, and my doctor said it was probably from gym equipment," she said in the interview. But the machine isn't the only thing that should be cleaned; don’t forget about cleaning after your sweat puddles off the floor and mats.
2. People Offering You Unsolicited Advice
Setting foot in a gym for workout newbies is one thing, but what’s even more daunting is having someone else flex within inches of you. Even worse, when someone decides to impart some words of workout wisdom when you didn't ask for it. According to the aforementioned Prevention article, it's best not to give advice to other gym-goers because you don't know details of their health or fitness levels.
3. Forgetting To Warm Up
Even if you’re in a time crunch, there’s no excuse to skipping out on warm-ups. Not only does it improve your performance, but it’s a safety precaution. “One of the worst things you can do is jump right into an intense workout without preparing your body,” Noam Tamir, owner of TS Fitness, tells Romper by email. “You’re asking for an injury.” The same goes for cooling down your body after you workout.
4. Hogging The Machines
Taking a quick break to hydrate or text between sets is fine, but if you're taking more than a minute or two while exercising, it negates the whole idea of working out. According to Mind Body Green, taking long breaks while exercising will cool down your body and make it harder to perform your next task.
4. Not Putting Equipment Away
Just as kids are taught to put their toys away, the same goes for the gym. Not only is this annoying, but Virginia Kinkel told Prevention that leaving weights out is dangerous. "You might be strong, but the next person might not be and can't move those 45-pound plates," the owner of Bodymass Gym said. "If you can lift it, you can put it away." This also applies for other gym equipment like medicine balls or jump ropes.
6. Using The Phone
Other than listening to music, there’s no reason to constantly be on your phone at the gym. In an interview with Bustle, founder of Remodel Fitness, Jessi Kneeland, said that juggling between your phone and watching TV while exercising can actually be counterproductive. "You're better off focusing on just lifting weights or doing a balance exercise instead of doing both at the same time," she said.
7. Exercising Too Much
A bit of grunt here and there is acceptable, and sometimes necessary in a workout, but grunting too much when you’re lifting isn't the best idea for your body. “It's good to breathe and expel the air in your body as you workout,” Tamir says. “Some people will make noises that belong to farm animals.” Not to mention, the grunting could be a sign that you're working too hard which, according to Mind Body Greem, can cause stress, fatigue, loss of muscle, and injuries.
8. Wearing Perfume
According to Everyday Health, heat and perspiration can strengthen a person's scent. In other words, even a few spritz of perfume can make it hard to breathe in the gym, so stick to deodorant instead.