By Fitness Manager Matt Struepmh
Every fitness center has its own set of rules to follow. Age of users, time on equipment, and proper attire are all standard and may be a little different in each facility. Rules are easy to follow. You either choose to follow them or you choose another facility. On a day to day basis, there are also unwritten protocols to follow.
We’ll start with the big one......to clean or not to clean the equipment. After using a treadmill or a strength station, it is common courtesy to use whatever cleaning materials the facility provides to wipe off the equipment. This doesn’t mean you need to clean off every inch of the equipment or douse the equipment with cleaner to the point of shorting out circuit boards. The simple rule of thumb is if you leave sweat behind; wipe it off for the next user. Many times equipment really doesn’t need to be wiped off, but people think they must or someone will turn them in or give them a dirty look. Answer this question: In your daily activities do you wipe off every chair or door knob you use for the next user? It’s no different
for fitness equipment. Just remember, if you leave sweat behind, wipe it up.
Strength station use is another point of interest when it comes to protocol. This usually involves individuals that plan to perform more than one set of an exercise. Many users
will perform the first set then simply rest on the machine before performing the next. This is a very acceptable way of using the equipment. If you want to rest on the chest press machine before the next set, do so. The problem arises when someone is waiting for the same station. You may be reading this and thinking “Yes, that drives me nuts!” The biggest
problem in these situations is the people waiting for the equipment, not the users. It is up to them to simply let the users know that they are waiting. Simple ways to ask......”Can I work in?”......”Do you have another set?”.......”You’re driving me nuts, can’t you understand that you are not the center of the universe and you should remove yourself from that station at once?” Okay, maybe the first two questions are the best options, even though there may be times the last question seems appropriate. After the question is asked the user should, in turn, allow the inquirer to work in.
Another common issue involves returning equipment to its location. This is a pretty simple concept that will forever be difficult for some to actually execute. Free weight areas are notorious for this. Simply put, if one is strong enough to lift the weight off the rack and use it, one is strong enough to put the weight back on the rack. This also goes for exercise balls, medicine balls, resistance tubing, etc. Putting things back where we find them is something we are taught as two year olds.
Fitness centers may have different rules, clientele, and atmospheres, but the protocols are the same. No matter the situation, it all boils down to using common courtesy. The three examples above could just as easily be named clean up after yourself, be kind to others, and put things back where you find them. As long as you error on the side of common courtesy and common sense, users in a fitness facility should get along like one happy family.