Don’t Be That Guy! 27 Gym Rules You Should Follow To Stay Cool + FREE Poster

Jeff Baldelli
Written by
Last update:

Hydrate! Never Forget Your Water Bottle!

Stay Hydrated!

Drinking sufficient amounts of water will improve the quality of your workouts and speed recovery after exercise.

You should aim to drink at least 1 gallon of water each day (3 liters) if you have a moderate exercise routine.

Drink more water if you exercise for long periods of time or intensely, if you live in a warm or hot climate, or if you sweat a lot during exercise.

Do NOT drink less water or other fluids just because you are training in a health club or gym where there is a water fountain. Studies show that many people enter health clubs dehydrated and that the average person loses about two quarts of fluids during an hour of exercise. Alcohol, black coffee, and some medications can contribute to dehydration.

Do talk with your doctor if you have any concerns about how much water you drink each day.

Plan Ahead!

Giving your body enough time to warm up will reduce the risk of injury and will maximize your workout's effectiveness.

Warm up muscles and increase blood flow by gradually increasing your workout intensity – walking, jogging in place, short bursts of exercises, and stretches that target the muscles you will be exercising.

Stretch before and after exercise to increase flexibility, reduce the risk of injury and relieve stiffness or soreness.

Treat Yourself to a Cooling Off

Cooling down after exercise is important, especially if you exercised hard.

A simple cool down can include easy walking, slow jogging, light stretching, and just a few minutes of easy breathing. You will achieve the best results by cooling down for a few minutes to lower your heart rate and get your circulation back to normal before you stop exercising.

Stretching helps keep your muscles limber and is important to maintaining flexibility and preventing injury.

Keep Your Cool!

Dehydration is a major problem for many people who exercise – especially for those who are older or who exercise strenuously for long periods of time.

Athletes who use a lot of fuel, such as those who play football and basketball, and those who compete in long-distance events, such as a marathon, often lose a lot of fluid through sweating.

You can even lose fluids from exercise that doesn't make you sweat. HEAT makes you lose fluids. More than half the body's heat comes from the conversion of food to energy.

Never Skip Your Warm-up

Good form is important for any exercise and is crucial when performing a squat or another moving exercise.

If you’re not strong enough in your core and your upper body, your exercises will be more likely to cause you injury.

Before you even lift a weight at the gym, you should extend your muscles to warm them up and increase blood flow.

Even simply walking with high knees or high kicks will suffice, with options including alternating lunges and standing leg raises.

Try performing three sets of 15. Once you finish the warm-up, you’ll likely experience a newfound energy that will make you want to pump out a few more sets.

Do Squats

If you’re looking to build up that booty and a strong core, try some low impact squats.

If you dare, you can perform squat jumps. A lot of women are afraid of squatting because they feel it adds bulk and makes their thighs look bigger. Squat jumps don’t cause anyone to lose any weight. They are used to add stamina to a person’s workout routine.

They will also give a deeper stretch to muscles and connective tissues. This may even help you have more flexibility when doing other exercises.

Weightlifters Take Note

Many beginner weightlifters often rely on cheating and use momentum to get through the tough parts of a workout. While this strategy works sometimes, it isn’t a good plan for your future if you want to be a real bodybuilder.

The easiest way to stop cheating is to take shorter breaks between sets. This will make cheating less appealing because you won’t want to waste time getting back to the weight.

Be sure to set realistic goals and reward yourself. Instead of setting huge goals, set small goals and make bigger ones as you meet your initial ones. Don’t be afraid to share your goals with others.

If you have friends and family rooting for your success, you’ll want to push through the tough periods of your workout.

Lift Heavy Things

Many beginners think they have to lift as much weight as possible at all times in order to get results. This isn’t possible if you want to continue lifting throughout the long-term.

Don’t be a Creeper. No Cat Calls & No Ogling!

Don’t flirt with women because you think it will make you look cool. It doesn’t. Go talk to them when they’re in a good mood and are not in a rush.

This advice may seem obvious, but if you look around the gym, you’ll see plenty of guys who break it all the time. What I’m talking about is eye contact.

What happens is, the guy sees the woman he’s supposed to be eye-flirting with. Then he breaks eye contact, smiles, and then looks up to the right, presumably watching his feet.

That is a very common tactic, but it’s a really bad one (for everyone involved). Intentional or not, anything that we do in social situations sends a signal to the other person without us even knowing it.

The problem is that you do NOT want to send this signal. I call it the “Would you like to have casual sex” signal. It’s common (and commonly displayed) when a guy is focused on a woman’s breasts.

A study from the University of Glasgow found that judging another person’s attractiveness relies on the same neural circuitry that’s activated when we eat chocolate or money. Thus, our brains may think of attractiveness in terms of its desirability, not in terms of how healthy it is.

The study, which was published in the journal PLoS ONE, also discovered that viewing someone as “attractive” activates the same part of the brain as actually experiencing reward from a potential source of pleasure, like a meal.

In the study, researchers Debra Lieberman of the University of Chicago and Robert Zatorre of McGill University asked women and men to judge the attractiveness of men and women in photos and then measured their brain activity while doing so.

Or more specifically, they focused on a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, which is associated with our response to pleasure.

While women judged physical attractiveness more subjectively, men rated each woman based on her level of attractiveness, without consideration for their own preference.

What NOT to Wear

To the Gym: One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to wear the wrong clothing to the gym. Rule number one: if you get hit on too much when you wear it, then it’s definitely not gymwear material. If you find yourself constantly worrying about your wardrobe in the gym, you should probably consider hitting the gym less often because your attire is clearly sending a message.

The following is a list of the gym rules and suggestions that you should follow to make you look good while working out and staying cool.

28 Wear Moisture-Wicking Clothing

This is absolutely essential if you want to avoid having your clothes drenched in sweat. Moisture-wicking clothing draws moisture away from your skin. This prevents the uncomfortable feeling of sweat building up inside your clothing and as a result, not only do you feel more comfortable, but it also helps keep you cool and dry.

When choosing your workout clothes, keep in mind that you should buy moisture-wicking workout clothing. However, not all clothing that is considered moisture-wicking is the right choice for the gym.

Moisture-wicking clothing uses a variety of fibers and technologies that will pull sweat away from your skin and transport it to the outside of the fabric, leaving you feeling more comfortable, at the same time drying faster. Clothing that is not designed to wick sweat away from your skin can make you feel hot and uncomfortable, which isn’t something you want when you’re trying to stay cool and not lose your motivation during a tough workout.

If you’re going to go for moisture-wicking clothing for the gym, here are the main components you should look for:

  • Breathable fabrics that are lightweight, quick drying and high stretch
  • Avoiding cotton (try a moisture-wicking blend instead)
  • A cover layer for areas where you sweat more

29 Wear the Right Socks

Another big mistake that most people make is wearing shoes or socks that don’t wick away sweat. If you go to the gym or run outside without socks, the sweat will be absorbed by your shoes and could cause odor, staining, or moisture damage.

When choosing socks for the gym, make sure you get a good pair that will absorb sweat and keep your feet comfortable, even during long sessions.

Never Forget to Re-rack Weights & Put Equipment away

I would like to start this off with a disclaimer to the countless people who don’t barge into other people’s sets and mess up their workout.

If you are one of them, then thanks! You’re a conscientious gym-goer and leave everyone else at peace and enjoy themselves.

Now, the people that aren’t so nice, who like to barge in and do their own thing must stop it. Like, right now. For one, it’s against gym etiquette to go and interfere with other people’s workout. It’s not only disrespectful to ruin their rhythm, but it’s also just plain annoying and can cause some of the people stuck in your way to get into arguments.

What’s worse is that some people are just plain inconsiderate and just do this just to get an ego boost. You know who you are. You’re the guy that goes and sets himself up right in front of the pullup machine whilst all the people that had been using it watch you go on a furious burst of pullups.

There are two recurring offenders that are the worst offenders out there. Frustrating because they are the same guys who do this in every gym, despite gym etiquette firmly stating that they must stop.

So, this time, I’ve enlisted some help to write this one. First up is Ali Niaz Hakimi who you may remember from my last article – 10 Things I Learnt in my First Year as a Strength Coach. This time he’s here to teach us some gym etiquette. Ali shares with us the to-do’s:

I keep seeing people stepping all over each other’s toes when it comes to gym etiquette. The list of top gym offenders is a long one, but it’s a combination of these same people that constantly mess up the gym experience for others.

The key to not being that guy is understanding that you’re not always the most important person in the gym but you can be one of the nicest.

Not putting equipment away.

Use Proper Form

You don’t have to look much further than a few scenes from a sport to see how vital using proper form is! Proper form will help you to not only lift more weight, but also reduce the risk of injury.

Many of our best weightlifting tips come from proper form. Remember to place a premium on using correct form as you lift weights or complete strength training exercises.

Avoid Dropping The Weight Properly setting up and using a spotter not only keeps you safe from injury, it also helps you to lift more weight and reach your strength goals.

You may be tempted to drop the weight during exercises like dumbbell presses or bench presses, but if you can avoid it, you are better off. Dropping the weight is dangerous and can lead to injury.

Failing to use a spotter could mean dropping the weight on yourself, which in turn could lead to permanent injuries.

Use The Right Form Of Rest Sure, resting between sets isn’t something that most of us do for fun. Resting allows you to recover before your next set. The fact is, resting can be fun when you are doing it right.

One of the best ways to rest is to take a walk. Take the time to talk with your friends while you walk back to your machine and then take a minute to stretch out before your next set.

Take the time to rest between sets, but use the time to your advantage by allowing yourself to grow in friendship.

If walking isn’t an option, then make sure you rest for the appropriate duration, talking your exercises.

Remember, the amount of time you rest depends on the intensity of the exercise you are performing.

Start Out Easy When we first considered the idea of becoming a weightlifting expert, we were naturally intimidated. We thought that it would take a lot of time to build up our strength.

Thankfully we quickly realized that this is not the case.

When we first started weightlifting, we were nervous that we’d never get strong enough to lift weights. So we started small and easy. We used mismatched free weights to lift light and easy.

After about a month we started getting stronger to the point where we were lifting free weights that corresponded to a heavier pound amount.

Don’t be an Equipment HOG

This one’s for you!

Imagine it’s a sleepover party at your best friend’s house. You spend the night and start having lots of fun.

However, as time goes by, you notice that the kids aren’t getting along. This continues and grows more and more until the kids start getting mad at each other.

The next day, your best friend’s mom invites you and your friends back for another sleepover. However, you notice that there are much fewer games to play in his house. Furthermore, the area where all the kids hang out is now empty!

What happened?

Unbeknownst to you, when your friends came in, they started taking over his house. They took the fun out of the party!

Best buds might not play together anymore because your friends are taking over the entire house, rather than sharing.

The same goes for the real-life house, I mean gym. Don’t hog the equipment!

You spend your money on a membership, and you should get the full value out of the membership. When you hog the equipment, you can end up making other members feel unwelcome or annoyed.

Remember, you don’t have exclusive rights to the equipment!

Don’t Be that Guy, Part 2 !

This one goes out for all the ladies… Don’t be a boisterous woman!

As an average, cosmopolitan woman, you’ve probably experienced that you have a better chance to get dates, attention, and prefer treatment than a man. Perhaps you even enjoy the fact that the people around you are more likely to listen to your opinion, treat you with more respect, and even serve you before other parties.

When you arrive at the gym, you now enter into a reverse level playing field. Here, you’re likely to encounter some pretty ripped guys.

As somebody who seems to have it all, it’s easy to take this to the extreme and feel like you are entitled to immediate and constant attention.

Never Let Them See You Sweat!

Break out the new gear! It’s all about the image fellow gym rats. So if you are hitting the gym the fancy new active wear is essential. But if it is really hot out, and you wouldn’t be caught dead in the old stuff, don’t sweat.

Many novice gym-goers often overlook this simple rule of gym etiquette. Unlike the stereotypical muscle-bound body builder, they think that they need to be putting themselves in the best light possible by showing off every knot, vein, and muscle. On the contrary, the true fitness enthusiast is more concerned with his muscles doing the work than in showing them off.

Some bodybuilders may disagree with this statement, but when you are working out, your muscles only care about one thing: you pushing them to their limit. Announcing to everyone in the gym that you are working out hard is the surest way to do that.

A good time for anyone who likes to run to go through their routine is right when the gym opens at 6:00 a.m. If you are close to the doors, you can get a nice warm-up in before you are drafted to help pick up the other members’ weights.

Something that inevitably happens with practically every weightlifting session is setting up the bench before your actual workout starts. The benches themselves are generally a little difficult to lift, and you’re trying to make sure that your routine is working out when people are waiting for you to finish on the bench to get started.

So unless you’re desperate, if you found your own place to warm up, you won’t have to worry about being like the rest of the addicts at your gym who feel like they need to invade your workout space for their own.

This rule is definitely one that should extend far beyond the gym. If you are forced to assemble a gym, study, or living space for yourself, setting up the whole thing before trying to make it practical can be a big detriment.

Think of it like this:If the clock strikes 6:00 p.m. and there is a chunk of your desk unscrewed and a hundred wires hanging all over the floor, are you ready to get to work?

Don’t Curl in the Squat Rack!

This is a pretty common mistake at the gym, especially in the squat racks. Most people don’t understand the giant rack is there for a specific reason. The squat rack is a safe place to load up heavy weights for squats and deadlifts. There is a bar there to prevent cheating on your lifts, so that if you fail, you can’t drop weights.

This will be a big help to you in keeping yourself safe and sound. Remember, the number one rule to avoid injuries in the gym is HYDRATE!

Don’t Do Inverted Rows!

The inverted row machine is commonly found in most gyms. You lie face down on the bench, and use your upper body to pull a bar to your chest. Many people use this machine to strengthen their back strength.

This is a very effective exercise machine. However, be warned: do not perform this exercise before you have your barbell squats or deadlifts ready. This may unintentionally put your ego before safety rules. The inverted row machine can be very deceiving. It will make you feel like you’ve gotten a lot stronger than you actually are. This faulty confidence can cause you to pull much heavier weight than either your form or your body will allow.

This can result in a serious injury. Make sure that your exercise always comes before your ego.

Don’t Overload Your Barbell before Cleaning It!

This is another error that the average gym-goer may not even think about. Many people think that it’s just the trainers that have to worry about the weight of the barbell. You may have never thought about it, but it’s important to follow the safety rules to avoid injury.

You’ll learn quickly in your first day of your gym session that the weight that the bar rests on can be dangerous without proper handling. When you are aware of this fact, you will be very careful when you load the weights. This will allow you to reap the maximum benefits from your body building routines.

Remember that safety rules are not only for maintaining your safety; they are also there to maintain the gym as a whole.

Don’t be a Stinker

When you arrive at the gym, don’t start talking to everybody and anybody, like you have known them for years. Do not be that guy who immediately opens his mouth and destroys all the good vibes in the room.

If you are feeling guilty for not going to the gym for a certain period of time, don’t go there every day because you think you need to catch up. Start slowly and build up. If you push yourself too hard, you may burn out.

Do not do exercises that can harm you. You must be aware of the proper technique of that exercise. A lot of beginners mostly want to be cool and impressive. Do not be one of them. Listen to competent advice and learn the proper way to do exercises.

You don’t need to be a cult member to get jacked, but you should work out with a committed group since working out with a group will make your life more fun and exciting. You will have happier days and wouldn’t have it any other way.

You should not be too aggressive with muscles and joints if you don’t know what you’re doing. The results of being aggressive with your muscles or joints are not good for your body although it will be good for you if you know what you’re doing.

You should not be overly cautious with your body; however, you should not stop yourself from doing work with your muscles and joints. You should listen to your body and only apply gentle pressure.

Being too much of an idealist can be counter-effective as situations arise that you can’t fully control. You can’t expect to succeed in every situation. You should accept that life sometimes does not go your way. You should be satisfied with the situation whatever it is.

You should not get out of the habit of training, even if you feel like the body will start hating training. There are many gyms that you can go to and still have fun with training.

If you are feeling generous about your body, you can donate blood to the victims of accidents and those who are in need of blood. This can never be a bad thing to do.

Get Off the Phone!

Sure, everyone knows that cell phones aren’t allowed in most gyms. Egotistical people in the gym are another annoying issue. A study out of the University of Puerto Rico found that men who are obsessed with their looks are most likely to exhibit narcissistic traits and spend extra time in the gym.

Percentage of Obese, Overweight, and Underweight Men Across BMI and Narcissism and Dominance Scores.

While that seems like a former college friend you tried to avoid, it’s safe to assume that that guy is in the minority—as study co-author Caterina Gawrilow puts it, “It’s not true that most narcissistic men go to the gym just to show off their muscles.”

We’re not going to start down the rabbit hole of why gym bros are so prevalent these days, but we will give you some advice on how to avoid them. It’s a simple concept, but if you can’t control yourself then at least don’t give in to their kind.

A Reddit thread with a similar title made a lot of good points. It said that a lot of “gym bros” are just insecure. If you’re clearly in the gym because you’re dedicated to your health, it can make you intimidate them. And when they’re intimidated, they lash out.

Overall, gym bros probably feel like you’re judging them. While it’s possible that you are judging them, you’re likely not judging them for the right reasons.

Workout in Your Jeans

It’s bad enough that you’re going to be sitting in your dingy gym clothes, so you don’t need to make it worse by wearing jeans. Exercise is good for you: it decreases your risk for heart and vascular disease and stroke and increases muscle strength and bone density. Exercise also helps you control your weight, which reduces your risk for type 2 diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure. It can also help you live longer.

Step Away From the Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

If you’ve ever spent a day at the gym, you’re probably familiar with the mirror near the cardio equipment. It’s the kind of mirror that makes you look as big as bodybuilders on TV.

Unfortunately, this tends to have an adverse effect on people who are more genetically prone to poor muscle tone. As a result, you tend to see overweight but otherwise healthy people putting more effort into their cardio than their actual fitness goals.

What they don’t realize is that they are actually doing themselves a huge disservice because working out too hard to improve the results you see is actually counterproductive.

All muscles need rest and recovery time to grow, and continuing to push yourself too hard at the gym will just result in your body going into repair mode. If you’re always pushing yourself to better the results you see in the mirror, then your body won’t have the time necessary to build up the strength you want.

Here’s the catch: you don’t gain muscle like you do fat. Doing too much cardio will just result in your body substituting muscle for fat.

On the flip side, a 2012 meta-analysis found no significant difference between the effects of aerobic exercise and resistance training for weight loss. By focusing on what you actually want to change (being able to run longer and further), you won’t have the urge to push yourself to the point of self-injury.

Look down, Look Ahead

Ever notice the kinds of people who yell into their phones when they’re running? Or even worse, see someone walking while looking at their phone?

These people aren’t just being annoying. In fact, they’re increasing their risk of getting injured.

Training while distracted is a serious problem because it increases your chances of encountering a dangerous obstacle. Other problems that training while distracted can cause include poor coordination and increased neck strain.

While the phone is the immediate problem, essentially any type of training while distracted can have the same problems.

Give Me Some Space!

As a rule of thumb, training at an intensity above 85% of your maximum heart rate is suited for interval training.

There are several methods you can use to find your maximum heart rate. While you can buy electrical pulse sensors, you can also take a simple regular health test at the doctor.

After you have a rough idea of what your maximum heart rate is, you can increase or decrease that number depending on whether you want to train harder or less, based on your personal goals.

The Benefits of Intervals

Here’s a small selection of what you can expect to get from interval training, each of which is backed up by scientific research.

1- Improves Your Aerobic Capacity for Longer Distances

Most people stay within the same training zone because it’s the sweet spot between where you’re comfortable and where your body starts to break down. This is why interval training can have a huge impact on your fitness goals.

It forces you to train outside of your comfort zone, pushing your body to an aerobic intensity that’s almost equal to what you’d experience in competition.

As a result, your body strengthens and improves its endurance. You’ll be able to train for longer periods of time, as well as to train at higher intensities for longer periods of time, which is equally handy.

2- You Develop More Capable Metabolism

Your metabolism is the rate at which your body burns energy. The more metabolism you have, the more energy you burn, and the more fat you can burn.

By training at lower intensities for longer periods of time, which is often the approach you see to build endurance, your body will learn to rely on your fat stores for energy.

This is good because your fat stores are still energy reserves that could save your butt in a survival situation.

The downside is that we have those little flab rolls around our waist that are tellmates flab rolls, and a reliable gauge that we aren’t burning enough fat.

Never, Ever Spit in the Fountain!

Have you ever been to a gym and witnessed someone spit in the drinking fountain? I’ll never forget the guy who did this twice. He was definitely a bro trying to look all cool, but I wasn’t impressed.

As you can imagine, plenty of people do spit in drinking fountains to the point of looking like Mount Vesuvius. And that’s gross!

Not only are these folks committing gross acts, but they’re doing harm to their fellow gym members and everyone who uses the fountain outside of the gym.

Spitting puts you at a higher risk of developing bacteria- and virus-related illnesses such as strep throat and influenza. But that’s not all.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) , bacteria in saliva can cause problems such as diarrhea, tooth decay, conjunctivitis, and, for some people, stomach upsets and sore throats.

Bacteria in spit can spread from one person to another by drinking contaminated water, kissing, or coughing into your hand and then touching that same water source. Hey, that’s kinda gross, right?

Even worse, bacteria, including certain strains of E. coli, can survive in water sources for weeks and even months!

It’s estimated that about 1,200 people die from the germs contaminated water causes each year. And, if you’re thinking that the gym water is safe because it’s filtered, think again! Most of the people who are spraying saliva in drinking fountains drink from a water fountain and continue on their merry way.

Chances are, the water fountain also had some spittle of other people that spit in it, too.

No, I’m not being all gross or anything. That’s just the way it actually is. And, if you still feel like spitting in the drinking fountain, then consider that your germs are not the only ones who will have access to the water. Your friendly bacteria can also enter the water through these steps:

{1}. You might cough and sneeze into your hand.
{2}. You might wash your hands.
{3}. You might not wash your hands.

Never Grunt Loudly or Talk to Someone Mid-set

Make sure you haven’t eaten anything at least two hours prior to your workout. Consuming such foods can lead to cramps, and you should save that for the Chuck Norris jokes anyway.

If You See Someone Who Needs Assistance, Don’t Be a Dick.

If someone looks like they may need help, don’t just stare at them and think how much of an idiot they are. Ask them if they need some help. Moments like that carry more weight than you might imagine.

NEVER Wear Headphones.

This is a tough one if you are running alone. However, if you are going to listen to music, use an armband or small Bluetooth speaker to eliminate the inevitable soreness in your neck later.

Don’t Be That Guy (the girl), Either! Here’s How to Not Be That Girl in the Gym.

Leave your ego at the door. When you go to the gym, you are going there as a group for a workout, not to show off your heavy bench press, or show how strong you are. A typical gym has members at all levels, from beginners to experienced lifters. Maintain good sportsmanship by explaining to newcomers how to use equipment and offering tips to those looking to get further in the gym.

Now, let’s move on to the strength training section.

Strength Training

What is Strength Training?

Strength training is any activity that makes you get better at a specific job. In the case of strength training, the job is increasing your ability to lift heavy things like rocks, tree branches, and other people.

First and foremost, strength training is a great way to make your life awesome. Beyond making you look better, stronger muscles can improve your life with things like:

Stronger Relationships

Strong muscles have a lot of benefits, including helping you conquer difficult feats. If you happen to be single, they will make you look cooler, feel better, and will even improve your dating life. For those in a relationship, preparing strong meals and feats of strength can strengthen bonds through teamwork and understanding.

How do I get started?

Never Drop Your Weights

(Unless You Want To Be That Guy)

The screeching of metal on metal can make you cringe and would definitely give new meaning to the term “dropping the weight” if you fall victim to such bad bar etiquette.

In reality, the potential damages caused by dropping weights is more than just the embarrassment of drawing attention to yourself.

Dropping weights can occur when one of two people pull up a barbell that’s being held at the top with just one hand. The weight comes rushing down with immense force and can cause significant damage to persons and property.

If you’re in a crowded gym your fellow exercisers have good reason to be worried if they can’t see the weight that you’re holding in one hand. In fact, some facilities may even ban such practices altogether.

Whenever you put away your weights make sure that you’re careful to place the weight back in its rack.

Don’t Drop Your Sweat All over Everything

One of reasons we go to the gym is to keep ourselves clean. However, once you start breaking a sweat and wiping your forehead, it’s only natural to want to wipe your hands on whatever’s nearby.

This is where things can get messy.

Sweat drops left behind can eventually build up and can become a hazard to people who use that gym equipment.

Remember: The gym is not your sauna. Therefore, refrain from sweating all over the place.

Always Respect the Rules

For starters, remember that the rules may differ from one facility to another.

It’s not enough to just know the general rules of etiquette no matter which gym you’re in. A few of the most common rules to remember are:

  • Stay off cellphones while you’re working out
  • Respect that you may not be the only person who uses the equipment
  • Be careful with dumbbells; they’re heavy, dangerous, and easily dropped
  • If you’re going to set up equipment, do it in a way that doesn’t interfere with other exercisers

Never Skip Leg Day #legday

If you haven’t already noticed, you are bigger than your heart. This means that if you want your heart to get stronger, you have to get your muscles stronger as well.

In the body, most of the muscle mass is in your legs. Women tend to shy away from this area, thinking that bulking up their legs will make them resemble tree trunks, whereas men are more willing to take the challenge. Either way, your legs will see better muscle tone if you spend a little bit more time on them.

If you want to get the most out of your leg workout, the most important rules are not to skip leg day. Do a full nonstop lift for each muscle group. Avoiding this rule can end up actually harming your muscles in the long run and their ability to work well.

Aside from not skipping leg day, here are a few other rules of thumb to keep in mind:

Stretch a Lot. Doing a full-body stretching routine before and after your leg workout is key to keeping your ligaments and muscles in good shape. Bending over to pick up a dumbbell can put a lot of pressure on your back, so working on your flexibility is vital.

Use Proper Form. Form is just as important as intensity when it comes to your lifts. If your form is off or there’s too much stress on one limb, you can get injured. When lifting or using your machines, always have a proper stance. Be sure to keep your back straight, stay light on your toes, and let your knees gently move inward. This helps to keep your knees from crunching the wrong way, which can ignore wear on the joint and delicate muscles.

Always Use Proper Equipment. It’s easy to get distracted by the magazines that are sitting around the free weights, but it’s important to always use the right equipment for your workouts. Using the wrong weight or equipment for your fitness level will increase the risk of injury. For example, if you use a weight that is too heavy, rather than your prone leg curl becoming a workout for your butt, the weight can crush down and get your wrist.

Don’t Fall Into a Routine

It’s easy to get into a training rut, especially if you’re used to a certain way of doing things.

For example, if you want to grow bigger biceps, you will probably decide to start doing more curls with dumbbells. If you want to lose weight, you might start doing more cardio and eating salads.

The problem with this is that you’re likely to plateau at some point. Your body will get used to a certain workout program and will stop adapting. This leaves you at risk of injuring yourself and burning out.

Remember, your body has the strongest defenses against what it’s feeling at that moment. When you exercise the same muscle groups or same kind of exercises, your body will eventually adjust to your workout, and your results will stall.

A good way to feel out your peak performance is to train harder than you have before. If you don’t, you may end up training the same way all year long, which can lead to a large number of problems in just one year.

Don’t Go beyond Your Limit

You don’t have to push yourself to the point of exhaustion in order to break a sweat. While it’s great to get excited about the challenge of a tough workout, it’s important to set the right goals for yourself.

The best goals are the ones that you can reach with just a little bit of effort and work. If you set a goal that you believe will be tough to reach, don’t be afraid to adjust it.

You will know that you have the perfect goal set when you begin training and you can just start to challenge yourself roughly halfway through the workout. It should feel like you still have gas in the tank, but you’re coming up to your limits. You sacrifice a little bit during the workout, so your post-workout rewards will feel that much more satisfying.

Break an Extra Sweat when You Get Home

Factor any extra sweat-inducing home work into your routine, or break it into shorter chunks to make it easier to fit in during the day.

Check out a few of our top at-home cardio workouts.

Never Read on a Cardio Machine

Reading while you’re working out is something you should avoid because your attention should be directed toward your body. Even if you’re not reading, it’s still best to stay away from the cardio machines while you talk on your cell phone or constantly check your texts.

The main reason is that your attention is being split. Instead, put your cell phone in your bag, away from prying eyes. That way, you’ll be able to focus on your workout instead of worrying about how important that text message is.

Here are some other rules to keep in mind when you’re working out at the gym:

25. Avoid the Mirror

It’s easy to get caught up in checking yourself out in the mirror. This is a great way to build the ego, but it doesn’t really do much to improve your physique aside from making you more narcissistic.

Because of this, it’s best to keep your eyes on your body, rather than your reflection. Make sure you don’t just lift for the mirror, but focus on the integrity of your form.

24. Use the Right Equipment for the Right Exercise

A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that participants who worked out on equipment specifically designed for a certain kind of workout got significantly better results than those who used equipment based on their own discretion.

According to the study, of forty participant groups who used free weights, resistance machines, and stability balls, the groups who used the free weights and resistance machines showed greatest improvements.

23. Keep The Radio Off

If you want to succeed in the world of fitness, you have to let go of your need to be entertained every second of the day. Working out can be extremely boring if you don’t keep yourself engaged. However, letting yourself get too engrossed in distractions will only make things worse.

Sure, listening to something while you exercise can be fun sometimes, but if it becomes a constant distraction, it’s not worth it. You’ll just be wasting time away from the actual workout.

22. Avoid Letting Your Treadmill Belt Get Too Long

Challenge Yourself, Without Going Overboard

There are two primary reasons why interval training is so effective. The first of which is that in order to maintain a very high level of intensity, you will need to push yourself more than you would in a longer workout. Also, you will have different periods of recovery. This will allow you to easily adjust your intensity and performance.

The second, and either most important or least important reason is that your body will quickly adapt to continuous cardio workouts. This is because the cardiovascular system is incredibly adaptable and able to handle continuous overloads (referring to continuously running for an hour, lifting heavier weights for an hour, etc.).

In order to avoid these adaptations, you will need to either start out slowly and build up intensity over time, or you will need to change your workouts about as often as you change your clothes!

If you run a lot, then you may already practice interval training by varying how fast you run throughout your run.

For example, if your trail runs are normally 3 miles long at a moderate pace, mixing in occasional sprints can be a much better way to get your workout in, while still feeling consistent. The sprints can be burst of about 30 seconds, followed by a period of recovery, before another sprint.

Some people will sprint even faster, and then more slowly for their recovery.

It can work the other way too, with you putting more periods of recovery within your runs. Keep careful watch over your heart rate, which will prevent you from going too hard. If you already have an interval training routine, you may find that mixing these periods of running with periods of recovery will give you better results, and put less strain on your body (which is especially important if you are planning on running for a very long time).

Gym Membership vs. Lifting at Home Instructional E-Book

The Best of both Worlds

When you look at the many fitness modalities out there today, they all have strengths and weaknesses.

Using a variety of different tools to try to target these different weaknesses is a good solution.

Cardio Workouts

Interval Training is great for cardiovascular health. It increases the efficiency of your heart with every workout.

It can be done at any level of intensity, from jogging to running very fast.

You can easily switch intervals, so you can stop for a drink of water or a bathroom break without needing to stop the workout.

Offer to Spot

Looking fit and being fit are two different things.

Look Great =/= Feel Great

Being fit means the large engine in your body is running smoothly. Being fit means you have the tools to tackle anything in your life, whether you’re trying to beat your new personal best in a 5k, run to work, or complete a marathon.

Being fit means you can go the distance. It means you can do it tomorrow, and the next day, and the one after that…

Fit for life.

The fitness world is full of half-truths and unspoken rules.

We asked the weight room rats, the personal trainers, the PhDs, and the coaches who have been there and done that. With every answer we got, one answer was clear: everyone talked about one of the rules to keep your sanity. It didn’t matter if you are an experienced lifter or a first-time fitness enthusiast. They all echoed the same sentiment about one of the rules to get the most out of your time spent at the gym or fitness studio.

So, we collected the best advice and rules to keep your sanity focused on you, the human, rather than the weight.

They are simple, but powerful tenets that will change your attitude, your workout habits, and your life.

If you’re in a hurry, here are our top recommendations:

Which Type of Cardio Is Best?

There are four main types of cardio workouts. These four types are interval training, continuous training, circuit training, and weight training cardio.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each.

Here’s a brief description of each one:

1. INTERVAL TRAINING

This form of cardio consists of a series of bouts of higher-intensity exercise followed by bouts of lower intensity exercise, repeated several times.

What this means is that you do short sprints. The advantage of this method is that you can get a lot done and have a lot of fun in a short amount of time.

In fact, you can make the time spent really enjoyable by doing interval training with friends.

Unload Weights Evenly From the Barbell

If you squat, deadlift, curl or do anything that requires a barbell, always try to unload the weights evenly, so that all weights are balanced.

If you unload the bar unevenly, you are not only risking injury to yourself but you also exude a better chance of damaging your weights and bars. So, it's important to unload the bar evenly.

Don’t Do Too Much at Once

At the gym, you'll see people often moving hurriedly from one set to the other. If you're new to the gym drills, you must train yourself to take rest breaks after a set. This helps you in making sure that your body gets a chance to recover.

Moreover, you might injure yourself. Training in the gym requires physical as well as mental efforts. If you get exhausted too soon, you'll not be able to complete your routine and may even get hurt.

Let's face it; it's not just about stamping out cardio exercises, it's also about working on your muscles and maintaining them toned and fit. This is another area where the gym becomes indispensable. It's not just about copying workout patterns from magazines, it requires some creativity and originality.

So, if you're a gym novice and you wish to create your own program, consider these tips.

Don’t Be Afraid to Break a Sweat It's a wrong notion that in the gym, you have to be fit to sweat. When you start working out in the gym, you must start with the basic exercises. Don't be afraid to sweat in the gym.

Amateurs have a tendency of making this mistake of quitting when they start to sweat. This mistake must be avoided at any cost. It's important to feel the burn and push your limits in the gym. Building physical fitness will have to involve sweating and hard work.

Don’t Compete with Everybody

When you are in the gym, you must always remember that it's you versus yourself. While you are in the gym, you must do everything with a spirit of cooperation. Don’t compete with others. The career of gym is to tone your muscles and help you to become physically fit.

Don’t be Whack, Step Back From the Rack

The gym is full of people doing things they shouldn’t be doing. If you ever see someone doing one of the following things, make sure you give them a polite reminder that they may be getting seriously injured and should be focusing instead on a proper, safe form of exercise.

Running on the treadmill while wearing headphones. Obviously, this is very dangerous. If you have music when training, get a pair that plugs into the audio jack of the treadmill. That way, you still have the music and you won’t be putting your life at risk.

Knees Buckling In when Squatting. The knees must remain straight when squatting or else you risk damaging your knees. Although some people find this unnatural while adapting from a chair, it can easily be corrected with practice.

Elbows out when doing a bench press. The bench press is a chest-related exercise. Since chest muscles help with arm movement, there’s a tendency to swing your elbows out in order to get a better workout. However, if the elbows are out when you’re doing this, they’re not in a good position to support the weight so you’re more likely to get injured.

Standing by the Lat Pulldown Machine with your arms folded. Yes, you’re waiting for your spot but standing by the machine with your arms folded is not the best way to do it. This may look fine from the outside, but you’re actually increasing your risk of injury. You should always be completely relaxed when waiting for your turn to go.

Eating on the Gym Floor. It’s not uncommon to see people eating while they do their workout. However, this is a major no-no. Not only will it make you choke, belching is also unhealthy.

Skipping Rope Wrong. When jumping rope, there’s a tendency to jump on your toes instead of on your entire foot. Do this and you’re asking for a twisted ankle. Correct the imbalance and learn to jump from your heels.

Lay Off the Makeup, Cologne, Body Spray or Perfume

Hey ladies, if your workout includes a long, long, long walk on the treadmill, do yourself a favor and DON’T wear artificial, fresh-out-of-the-shower smells.

This one is simple. Wearing perfumes, colognes, or anything that is artificial and is meant to make you smell good is a waste and it’s a safety hazard.

You’re not fooling anyone, anyway, so there is no need to spend time rustling around in the gym bag looking for your special secret weapon.

Don’t Neglect Post-Workout Clean Up

When you’re at the gym or on a run (or wherever you like to hit the weights or run), at the end of your exercise schedule, don’t forget to clean up after yourself. Don’t leave your sweaty clothes on the floor near the machine you used, and whatever you do, don’t forget to clean up after you’re done with the weights.

There is nothing more disgusting than stepping on someone else’s sweat, or watching someone else do the same thing. Gross. No excuses, please. That soap dispenser is your best friend. It’s there for a reason.

Note: You could also consider using a portable spray bottle for a quick and convenient way to clean up after yourself without going back to the shower room.

Save Your Shoes

When you’ve decided that you’ve had more than enough of working out and you’re ready to head off to another part of the gym, but you’re not ready to leave the gym yet, save your shoes. Don’t put them back on before you leave.

Leave them under the bench or hanging on the back of a machine you’ve been using.

Micro-Bugs Love Your Sweat

All this sweat you’ve been working up at the gym is a cocktail for microbes. They love it.

Never Eat on the Gym Floor

With gyms becoming more advanced, the design of the facility is now more attractive. This includes adding stylish designs to the floors and plenty of fancy equipment that attracts more clients to come. But while the design and equipment are great, there is one major stipulation to follow ‡ DON’T EAT FOOD ON THE GYM FLOOR!

This is one of the few gym rules that you must follow. The reason for this is that if the food is dropped on the gym floor, bacteria is going to spread which could make your stomach turn. If you eat outside of the facility it is fine to stay after your session to eat food, but when you do stay after your session to eat on the floor, it will cause a large health concern for both you and the gym itself.

While there are many ways to enjoy your post-gym snack, the gym floor isn’t one of them.

Remember the Lockers: Don’t Share

Lockers are specifically designed for everyone to have their own space, so swapping locks with a friend is a big no-no. The reason for this is that locker exchange will make the rest of the world uncomfortable and not enjoy their time in the facility.

You could swap the lock if there is an emergency and you need to get inside of the locker for some sort of circumstance, but others should never be swapped.

Keep Your Gym Mats Clean:

Gym mats are not only handy when you are doing circuit training, but they are also a great way to protect yourself from the floor. This not only helps to keep the bacteria from spreading through the mat but it also prevents you from getting hurt.

This also means that when you leave equipment before your workout, it should always be wiped down and clean. This will not only preserve the equipment but will also prevent bacteria from spreading throughout the gym.

Be More Than Just a Show-Off: Respect the Other Clients

While it is great to talk to the other clients and make friends in the gym, it is important to respect every single client that you come across.

Never Ever Use Your Phone in the Locker Room

Unless you are on a phone call, or you are for some reason receiving an emergency message, there’s no reason you should be in the locker room when someone else is. It’s also not fair to everyone else if, for example, you are trying to talk loudly on your phone about college football.

Put Your Stuff Away

Again, unless you are on a phone call or receiving an emergency message, it’s impolite to occupy a space in the locker room. If you need to keep your shoes or clothes nearby, they should be in your locker.

You don’t need to take an 80-minute shower after a 3-minute workout, so make sure you time yourself in the shower.

Don’t Stink

In that same vein, just because nobody forced you to go to the gym doesn’t mean you can stink up the place. Make sure you shower and wear deodorant before you leave home.

Clean up after Yourself

You might think that a little trash on the floor is a small price to pay for mastering the iron, but think of it this way: is it really worth leaving a nasty mess just because you couldn’t be bothered to clean it up?

Don’t leave your gym clothes and accessories unattended. What would a thief do if he or she came across your bag of clothes in the locker room? Trip you?

What Is an Interval?

Interval training is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that involves going all out for a short period of time and then recovering.

The short and intense intervals can be repeated for an entire workout, or you can add sets and rounds that are longer, which essentially gives the workout more time to recover.

What Is the Best Interval Workout?

There’s no one workout routine perfect for everyone. There are, however, some guidelines that you should follow if you want to do interval training. The general idea is to alternate between high-intensity intervals and longer recovery intervals.

For example, you could sprint for 60 seconds and walk for 3 minutes and repeat this set five times.

Keep Your Music to Yourself

Keep the volume down on your ipod or mp3 player to about 70%.

There are more and more people to the gym everyday. Unless you are working out outdoors, you are going to be sharing space with other people. The gym is a place where people go to get in shape and stay healthy, and being respectful with your music volume is a must. Noise distraction is proven to reduce performance, so we highly recommend keeping it down.

Respect the Environment

Do not leave equipment messy.

We all tend to forget our manners when we’re at the gym. Remember to always wipe down your equipment when you’re done. This isn’t just about looking nice for the next person, this is about being hygienic. The last thing you want is someone else’s sweat being left behind. There are spray bottles of disinfectant and dusting cloths at the gym. Use them!

Don’t ever touch the gym equipment with your sweaty hands.

This can cause your skin to break out from bacteria. Plus, gym equipment is usually made of metallic surfaces, and you’re probably clenching weights; you could easily burn yourself.

Wipe down Your Equipment

Before and after you use the equipment, wipe it down using the disinfectant spray provided.

Cleaning the area before and after you use protects the equipment from bacteria, such as MRSA and Staph infections, which can usually be found on the gym floor.

Get a Gym Buddy

Warm up and stretch with a partner, plus you can track each other’s reps and percentes.

Depending on your gym’s size, it can be easy for someone else’s presence to be forgotten. Giving someone a shout out and reminding them to warm up and stretch may save them from an injury and help them prepare for their workout.

The most important thing about warming up is to make sure you do it. This is one thing people often miss.

This is an opportunity to also practice some form of stretching to help with muscle injuries. This will take less than 5 minutes, and it is definitely worth it.