I’ll admit it, after 30 years of body building and martial arts, I have spent a disproportionate amount of my life in gyms. I know what’s cool and what’s not, at least in this one arena. Over the years, I have had many patients that were intimidated by the thought of going to a gym because; they were overweight, thought that they were too old, or were afraid of looking like a neophyte. No need to fear, following these simple do’s and don’ts will have you looking like a seasoned pro in any gym.

  1. Do wipe down your treadmill, Precor machine, stationary bike, etc… Many gyms have paper towels with a sanitizing spray next to the cardio equipment. It’s a statement to the world, “I am a hygienic and considerate person” – sexy.
    Don’t leave your machine dripping with your body secretions. It’s not a plant, it doesn’t need to be watered, Gross Dude.

  3. Do work out with a trainer. It screams to the world ”I am willing to spend some money to not get hurt, have good form, and learn some exercises that I would never do on my own.” Seriously, trainers rule. A good one will help you identify your goals (weight loss, flexibility, muscle gain?), diagnose any imbalances and asymmetries in muscle groups, and push you farther than you would do by yourself. Even if you can only afford a session or two, have the trainer put together a workout that you can continue on your own. Personally, I have had the same trainer for the past 7 years, in which time we have never repeated a workout. Our sessions go like this; 15 minutes cardio, 30 minutes weight lifting, 15 minutes laughing hysterically over our life’s adventures for the week.
    Don’t struggle through exercises with bad form because you never really knew how to do them in the first place. This is how people get hurt.

  5. Do let people work in with you. If someone is obviously waiting for the same machine / equipment you are on, offer to let them get their set in while you are resting in between sets.
    Don’t be that guy who monopolizes a piece of equipment, or worse, the guy who spreads out his towel, water bottle, exercise diary over several pieces of equipment so he can stake out the machines he wants to use. It’s like the human version of a dog peeing on stuff to stake claim. It screams to the world, ”I am an arrogant, self centered, and my workout is more important than yours.” Ewww! Interestingly, the female version of this is to spread out all of her personal belongings, lotions and potions, etc… over the tiny little bench in the locker room that all the women who have adjacent lockers have to use. Rein it in girl friend!

  7. Do be conscious of your breathing. When lifting, exhale during exertion. For example, if you are doing a bicep curl exhale as you are bringing the weight up and inhale as you are releasing the weight down.
    Don’t be that guy who grunts, groans, primal screams when lifting weights. You know, the guy who sounds like he has one testicle in a vice grip and someone is turning the handle. Maybe in a gym that caters to Olympic power lifting you can get away with it, but in a regular gym us regular people look at each other and roll our eyes!
    Dr. Lonna Denny D.C. is the owner of the San Francisco Spine Pain Relief Center, a Denny Chiropractic Corp., and specializes in the treatment and rehabilitation of sports injuries. Relieving Your Pain, Increasing Your Game! If you are in need of a San Francisco Chiropractor, please call our office at 415.775.9100