Day: January 16, 2012

Gym Etiquette – Hey, Can I Work In?

Welcome 2012! Welcome all you new SAC gym goers and many of you faithful continued gym goers. With the New Year brings many new & regular people who may need a refresher on how to be respectful to amongst fellow gym goers as well as the people trying to keep your facility in tip top shape. Here at the Seattle Athletic Club we try and offer everyone the very best, and never mind lending a helping hand or answering questions, but here are a couple tips to make sure that everyone can enjoy the gym…because everyone has an equal membership and is allowed equal opportunities to utilize the same parts of the gym as you are!

Here is a summary of the tips:

  • Leave the gym better than when we got there by simply re-racking your weights & equipment.
  • Try not to take equipment from one area and leaving it in another area.
  • To ensure the safety of your toes members are required to wear close toed athletic shoes in the free weight room and cybex room (basically anywhere up stairs).
  • Specialized equipment is stored behind locked doors & may be utilized by members as long as they ask for permission every time they want to use it.
  • Spray down and wash the equipment after you use it.
  • Sharing is caring…if you come back to someone using your equipment or area, try and work in with them.
  • Everything within the club belongs to the club; please don’t bring club equipment home with you.

How many times have you gone to use a piece of equipment and realized there was a stack of large weight plates left on it for you to remove, or looked for a pair of dumbbells but were unable to find its mate? We need to realize that we need to leave the gym better than when we got there, or simply re-rack your weights & equipment. Not everyone in the gym can lift three 45 lbs plates off of the bench, squat rack or plate loaded equipment. Just think of it as part of your workout to unload all those plates…and pull the weights off and throwing them on the floor is not replacing them, its just causing another hazard to other members and staff. Not everyone can read minds and figure out where you left the dumbbell after you used it, plus it’s a hazard to leave lying around for someone to trip on.

Along the same lines, other specialized equipment like resistance bands, medicine balls, BOSU & Swiss balls etc all have their own homes (usually each room has their own stock of equipment). This equipment sometimes finds its ways in strange areas like on the running track, down by the squash courts or in the kick boxing area. The employees of the Seattle Athletic Club try to ensure that there is a range of equipment in each area (that each area can sustain), please help us by not taking stuff from one area and leaving it in another area. Many members and employees have become accustom for equipment to be in a certain area, and when someone uses it and does not put it back to its home it hinders other’s workouts and enjoyment of that equipment. Remember, if every room is stocked with a range of equipment, then there should be no need to bring it from another room. If there are resistance bands missing, someone has not been good about replacing the equipment where they got it from.

Close toed athletic shoes…where are they required and why? Members are required to wear close toed athletic shoes in the free weight room and cybex room (basically anywhere up stairs). This is to ensure the safety of your toes, which you need for balance, and if a 50 lb dumbbell falls on them it makes it hard to balance well. Many members have talked to me about this and expressed that they would never drop a weight on their own foot, that may be true but can you control what others do? If someone next to you fatigues and drops a weight and your foot happens to be in the way…oops there goes your toes. The other issue members have is that they say a close toed athletic shoe does not provide much protection, this may be true but some protection is better than no protection at all. Plus from a sanitary issue, it keeps your feet protected from anything that could be on the ground. So if you are thinking about taking one of our outstanding yoga classes and then come to the stretching mats or cybex room upstairs without shoes for a quick stretch or workout, expect to be asked to put your shoes on.

One of the most unique things about the Seattle Athletic Club is all of our specialized equipment, most of which is here for members to utilize as well. If there is a kettlebell sitting on the rack in the weight room feel free to use it, if you are interested in using a TRX suspension trainer, go through a quick instructional course from a trainer and then just check it out when ever you want to add it to your workout. If you feel like stretching with a power band, borrow on from the fitness director’s office. If there is specialized equipment placed in the open then its here for you to use, and replace when you are finished. If there is specialized equipment in locked doors, it is usually equipment the personal trainers have purchased (not the club) and brought to the club to train with. This specialized equipment in locked doors (or doors that are usually locked, some may be open because of a trainer using the equipment) can be utilized by members as long as they ask for permission every time they want to use it. Because it is specialize and not owned by the club there is a risk with someone not accustomed to using it, and we need to make sure that you will not hurt yourself or others.

I love to see people sweating during their workout, to me its showing off all their effort in their workout…but other members do not enjoy your sweaty equipment too. There are spray bottles and towels in every room that you can use to spray down and wash the equipment after you use it, just think of it as an active rest time (where your heart rate to lower to under 100 beats per minute within a minute of finishing your exercise) and get a quick cleaning in. Speaking of towels, there are also towel bins in every room for you to place your used towels in.

Many people like to do circuit style workouts, it’s a great way to use a lot of muscle groups at once, and get your heart going…it also uses a lot of equipment and space. This is okay to do, but remember others are trying to workout in the same area as you. They should be able to work in with you when you are not on that piece of equipment or in that area. If you leave the weight room to go use a machine in the cybex room, it is hard to know if you are coming back (unless you are a trainer and know most everyone’s workout routines); if you come back to someone using your equipment or area, try and work in with them…sharing is caring!

Everything within the club belongs to the club (unless it is your own personal belongings you brought with you). This means that sweat and bathing towels should stay in the club and not end up in your gym bag. Jump ropes, resistance bands and other equipment have been purchased for enjoyment of everyone, not for you to start your own at home gym. If you are interested in knowing how much they cost or even having us purchase a band for you (or check out the pro shop, lots of fun workout gear in there) let the fitness director know and we can order you one!

We are all human, we all forget to replace our used equipment from time to time, but it should not be a habit we continue. Gym etiquette is something everyone should be responsible for, creating a great atmosphere for all members. If you use a set of dumbbells, a barbell, a ball, a box or specialty equipment put it back when you’re done. If you grab a cable attachment from the tree to use, don’t take off the handle that’s currently on there and put it on the floor, put it on the tree- it’s simple. Yes, the Seattle Athletic Club’s staff is here to make sure the weight room is kept safe and clean, but everyone should take an active role in the cleanliness and safety within the club. When it comes to the gym just remember the golden rule, do unto others as you would have others do unto you! So be respectful for other members sharing this gym; it takes very little effort to pick up after yourself and everyone benefits from it.