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Last night on the CKNW Sunday Night Sex Show hosted by Maureen McGrath (twitter: @back2thebedroom) we talked about mistakes people make in the gym. 

But instead of pointing out mistakes, today I want to provide you with some tips that will hopefully make your gym experience better.

 

 
 
Tip #1: Be an example

If you do the things right in the gym, others will want to follow your lead and do the same. If you don’t care about others, do it for the kids. 

Tip #2: Clean up after yourself

Nobody enjoys putting away someone else’s mess. Always put your weights and equipment away when you’re done. Pick up your trash and throw it out. Wipe your equipment and leave it clean for the next person to use. 

Tip #3: Share

I know you have only 3 sets left.. That’s fine. But if you’re just starting out on an exercise, try and share that piece of equipment. Smile. Make a friend. Be a good human. 

Tip #4: Be clean

It’s inevitable to sweat if you’re going to be training hard in the gym. No problem with this. But have some consideration for other by showering once in a while, so you don’t smell like you just crawled out of a garbage can.

 Tip #5: Know what you’re doing

If you don’t, just ask. Otherwise, don’t do it at all. I’ve seen way too many people try movements that they clearly couldn’t control. Never done a squat before? 135lbs is probably not the best starting weight for you.  

Tip #6: Don’t Get Hurt

You’re in the gym for your own reasons. A couple good reasons to be in the gym are 1) to get stronger and 2) to prevent injuries. So don’t get hurt. Leave your ego at the door, and put in the work, but be smart. Didn’t sleep at all last night? Maybe you should’t max out on a deadlift today. Use good judgement.  

Tip #7: Respect other lifters

Whenever it’s possible, avoid walking in front or next to someone lifting. Especially if they’re Snatching, Clean & Jerking, Squatting, Deadlifting or Pressing. If it’s heavy, be quiet and watch. If they make it, congratulate them. Just be nice. 

Tip #8: Respect the equipment

You didn’t pay for it. And even if you did, have some respect for all inanimate objects that help you get stronger and look awesome. Don’t throw equipment around. Don’t kick things. Don’t be that person. 

Tip #9: Offer help

If you see someone struggling with a weight, offer to spot them (assuming you know how to spot safely). Make sure you talk to them between their work sets, not in the middle of one. Keep an eye out in case someone gets pinned under a heavy bench. It’s never a good experience. 

Tip #10: Save lives

Go back to tip #5. If you see someone in that situation and they’re about to die, PLEASE do something about it. I’d rather look bossy for a minute rather than see someone get hurt in front of me knowing I could have said something. Show them something easier, or suggest they take some weight off. Don’t let them get hurt. 

​​Tip #11: Use the right tool for the job

I know, the power rack is such a great place for curls. But seriously. Use the equipment appropriately. Don’t hog the bench for your breaks if someone needs one. Be smart. Use your brain. 

Tip #12: Use safety clips

Seriously. I’ve done it before. Try to rack that heavy squat but you only rack one side? Weights fall on that end, then the barbell swings like a pendulum and proceeds to destroy anything in it’s way. Use the bloody clip. Be safe. 

Tip #13: Keep your shirt on

There are two exceptions to that rule.
1) You can Clean and Jerk double your bodyweight (Donny Shankle rule). No shirts required here.
2) You’re Jo. Jo doesn’t wear shirts. 

Origins Parkour Weight Room

This is Jo.
 
Tip #14: Come to the gym to work hard

Don’t interrupt people who are training seriously just because you’re bored. Go in with a plan, and do some work. Otherwise, you might as well be on your couch hugging that bag of Doritos real close. 

Tip #15: Be nice

Say hi when you get there, shake hands, fist bump, high five.. Do something to acknowledge that other humans are in the same space as you, doing the same thing as you are. After that, if you want to get into killer mode with your BEATS on, that’s cool. Just don't be rude. (This also applied when you are leaving the gym). 

Tip #16: Be on time

If you have a session scheduled with a coach or trainer, show up in advance and get your warm up going before they show up (unless instructed otherwise). Don’t be late. 

Tip #17: Use chalk

Besides helping you grip the equipment better, it will help avoid accidents caused by a slippery barbell. Smuggle it in if you have to. 

 

 
 
Do you have other helpful tips for people going to the gym? Share them in the comments below!

Sean is a personal trainer and strength coach who loves teaching beginners how to safely get stronger in the gym. He lives in Vancouver BC with his wife Lynne, and their children. Sean has a keen eye for good movement and encourages a positive lifestyle to support good training results.

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