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Gym etiquette: How to exercise respect

Jogging your memory on how to be a considerate gym-goer
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YOON JI KWEON/THE VARSITY
YOON JI KWEON/THE VARSITY

As the semester begins, students at U of T can book time slots at the Athletic Centre and Goldring Centre for open gym hour. Many students who have missed going to U of T’s exceptional gyms due to extended closures during the ongoing pandemic are excited to return to campus and get those gains before they get crushed by the amount of assignments they have in the first week of class. 

However, it is also important to be mindful of your fellow gym-goers — which is why The Varsity is here to provide you ways to be the nicest person at the gym. So, whether you’re a nervous student who wants to learn how to fit in at the gym, or you just haven’t been in one for a while and want to check your habits, this article has you covered.

Put things back where they belong

Do you remember the times when you were younger and your teacher would play the “clean-up song” and tell you to return things you picked up back where they belong? Shockingly, this memory hasn’t stayed with many people, and they leave their equipment all over the place. 

If you would like to do the bare minimum and make True Blue proud, put your equipment away, for God’s sake. This includes re-racking your weights, or returning your plates to where you got them from.

Wipe. After. You’re. Done.

I do not care if you are built like a Greek god, nobody wants to sit on your sweat. It is not rocket science to know you should wipe down any machines, mats, or barbells you use. Especially during a pandemic, hygiene is super important — so please bring a hand towel with you to mop up the sweat after you’re done. Trust me, you’re not the only person on Earth who swears they “don’t sweat that much.” 

Save the selfies for your bathroom mirror

Your crush in your math tutorial will not care if you post yourself hitting a deadlift personal best on your Snapchat story. Taking prolonged photoshoots at the gym wastes time for others who may be in a rush to finish their routine and run to class. Use your phone to quickly change what  music you’re listening to, not for long text conversations or Instagram thirst-traps. 

Mind the space

It’s important to maintain social distancing at the gym, now more than ever. Avoid striking up conversations out of the blue with people, as they may not be comfortable hanging out with strangers. Especially in a gym where people are breathing heavily, even with masks on, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Maximize your gains in your own area, and make sure to leave adequate space for others.

Sniff yourself before you embarrass yourself

Nobody wants to smell your natural cologne, and by that I mean your perspiration. Be sure to shower properly and wear a good antiperspirant deodorant before you decide to go all-out on the squat racks. And no, this doesn’t mean to cover yourself in AXE body spray — you’re not in middle school anymore, and you need to grow up. If you recoil at the smell of your gym clothes, it’s time to give them a wash.

As you decide to book a time slot at the gyms here on campus, or go to your own local gym, please be considerate of others around you. It’s the small things that can make someone’s day. Especially during a time when many students are seeing campus for the first time, make sure they make good memories — and that you don’t become a gym horror story for them. 

For more gym-related content, keep your eyes on The Varsity’s Sports section!