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Gym etiquette: 10 rules to stick to

As the days get shorter and the nights colder, you may be taking your outdoor workout indoors for winter. So for those returning to the gym, or perhaps starting for the first time, here are 10 rules of gym etiquette that will make your workout more pleasant, and even more productive.

1. Wipe down your equipment
Even if you don't have a small towel with you, pretty much every gym will have paper towels on hand so you can dry off equipment. Not only is it unpleasant to sit in someone else's sweat, it's also unhygienic.
2. Don't be late to class
This can be distracting for the other class members, and for the instructor. Rushing and turning up late is also not the best way to start your own workout — aim to turn up five minutes early, grab a spot you like, and start your class in a relaxed, focused frame of mind.
3. Put weights away
It's annoying if you can't find what you're looking for, and potentially dangerous if you find it lying around on the gym floor, so put your weights back where they belong.
4. Unload your weights bar
You might be able to lift all those weights, but some of your other fellow gym-goers may not. As with putting things away where you found them, leave the weights bar ready for the next user.
5. Don't hog the equipment
Everyone needs time to complete their reps, but it's not fair to others to be hanging around on equipment texting, checking Facebook, or even worse, taking selfies. If someone asks to share equipment say yes, and pay attention to cardio machine time limits.
6. And don't hog the locker space
It's important to keep things polite in the locker rooms as well as on the gym floor, so don't leave your belongings lying everywhere. Remember that other people will probably want to use showers, mirrors and hairdryers too, especially during busy times.
7. Leave your phone in your locker
Not only can other people's conversations be an annoying distraction when you're trying to work out, but leaving your phone in your locker will also give you a chance to properly switch off for an hour and get the most out of your own workout. If you do keep your phone on you, resist the urge to constantly check it and if you do need to take a call, head outside.
8. Be respectful of music
This one works both ways — if you see someone wearing headphones, it could be a sign they don't want to be disturbed, and if you're the one wearing headphones, keep the volume down and don't disturb others with your pumping playlist.
9. Keep the noise down
As well as being mindful of your music, don't slam or drop your weights on the floor, causing a mini-earthquake, and try to keep your own gym grunts and noises to a minimum.
10. Be nice to newbies
We were all first-timers once, figuring out cardio machines and class moves. If someone looks a little lost or they're trying to figure out your favorite machine when you want to use it, being welcoming and not intimidating will make the gym a nicer space for everyone.

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