If you’re considering going to a gym for the first time, or if it’s been a while since you’ve gone, it can be beneficial to understand some of the rules and etiquette surrounding the place, especially at the start of a new year. A little bit of consideration for others goes a long way to ensuring you have an enjoyable experience and that you don’t inhibit others from doing the same. While each gym may have its own quirks or regulations, Personal Trainer, Austin Alexander Burridge, affirms that the following decorums are almost universal ways to respect your fellow gym patrons and help avoid awkward interactions.

1. Don’t hog the equipment

It’s sometimes easy to get lost in your workout and forget that others are waiting for the limited equipment in a gym. Whether you need a particular weight bench, spending hours on an elliptical or bike during the busiest part of the day, or doing super-sets that require multiple machines, you should remember that other patrons have workouts too. There are not many more sure-fire ways to ruin a good gym session than waiting for half of it to hop on the bench press. As such, Austin Alexander Burridge encourages you to get creative with your workout routine. Mix it up and experiment with different ways to do exercises that don’t require you to take up multiple pieces of equipment at a single time, and avoid taking extended rests between sets while surfing the web on your phone. This also goes for free-weights: if there’s a limited number of dumbbells and you have three or four different weights with you, you’re probably keeping someone else from doing their workout.

2. Re-rack your weights

You’ll see signs everywhere for re-racking your weights, but it’s always worth a reminder that it is for a reason. Not everyone lifts the same amount of weight as you do, and it can be mildly frustrating to see a couple of 45’s sitting on the machine that you then have to pull off and find a place for. Once or twice can be chalked up to an oversight, but if you consistently neglect to re-rack your weights, you’re going to make some people upset. Instead, please take a minute at the end of your set to put them back where they belong. This also goes for dumbbells or benches you’ve moved across the gym. Nobody minds if you do that, but please put them back, so patrons aren’t forced to wander around in search of a flat bench.

3. Wipe down your equipment

Most modern gyms have ample amounts of disinfectant wipes that are placed strategically throughout the equipment. Along with re-racking weights, taking a few seconds to prepare a piece of equipment for the next user by wiping it down is a quick way to show consideration to your fellow gym patrons. While you probably aren’t going to get actively thanked for doing it, you’ll appreciate it when your fellow gym enthusiasts reciprocate the deed.

4. Watch your selfies

This is another one that goes without saying, but sometimes people don’t want unauthorized pictures of themselves snapped by someone who’s indiscriminately taking selfies all around the gym. Besides the amount of time you might take trying to catch the perfect “impromptu” moment, those people’s likenesses are going to be forever trapped on your timeline, and they might not necessarily like that. Post-workout selfies are a popular thing, and nobody is saying you can’t take them, but have some consideration and try to be aware of those around you when you do.

5. Avoid loud noises

This one’s mainly aimed at men, but the rare woman might be a culprit as well. Unless you’re an Olympic power-lifter putting up insane amounts of weight, there’s no reason for you to grunt, shout, or roar to make sure everyone knows how much you’re lifting. A soft grunt of exertion is acceptable and even natural, and with almost everyone having headphones, it isn’t going to cause any issues. However, if you’re letting out something more than that on every rep, it probably means you’re lifting too much, and that’s what everyone’s going to think. Save the loud noises for your home gym when you’re alone, but at a public fitness center, it’s unwarranted.

As mentioned above, each gym has its own rules for patrons. Some might require you to have a sweat towel, some might have explicit rules about dropping weights, and most have some sort of dress code to avoid showing too much skin and for safety reasons. It’s easy to forget some of these rules, but if you remember anything, remember this: having a good experience at the gym is closely linked to being considerate of others. Take these tips seriously, and you’ll stay out of trouble.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Austin Alexander Burridge is a professional fitness guru and personal trainer from Columbia, South Carolina. A healthy lifestyle has always been at the core of Austin’s values, and his focus on implementing a well-balanced diet with an adequate amount of exercise is a passion he imparts onto his clients as well. When he is not busy helping people become their best selves, Mr. Burridge can be found hiking, biking, or kayaking along the Saluda River with his two dogs.