Tag Archives: gym equipment

The Firefighter Fitness Guide to Gym Etiquette; The Dos and Don’ts of the Fitness Floor

The gym is undoubtedly one of the most interesting places for people-watching. There’s the lady in the neon spandex who looks like she stepped out of an aerobics class in 1984, the guy who’s constantly flexing in front of the mirror, the girl in full hair and makeup who’s just there to show everyone how cute she looks in track pants, and the guy who’s shorts are always just a little too short. And while the gym may be full of characters, there are a few rules everyone should know in order to get in a good workout while allowing everyone else to do the same. Therefore, we’ve put together a list of dos and don’ts that every gym-goer should follow to make the most of every workout.

1. Do- Use the mirrors to your advantage.

The mirrors aren’t just there so meathead guys can flex their muscles and check themselves out; they actually do serve a useful purpose. You should perform exercises in front of the mirrors so that you can check your form and make sure you are performing the exercise correctly. This can help you avoid making mistakes that could prevent the exercise from being as effective, or even lead to injury. A lot of people are uncomfortable watching themselves during their workout, and it can be a bit awkward at first, but getting used to watching your form during each exercise will help you to make each rep count.

2. Don’t- Talk on the phone.

We get that sometimes this can’t be avoided, like when you’re waiting on a call but aren’t sure when to expect it, but for the most part, do you really need your phone in the gym? You’re only going to be in there for an hour or so, and pretty much anything can wait that long. It’s distracting to other people (not to mention annoying) to have someone chatting on their cell while walking on the treadmill or worse, standing in the way of others trying to move around the gym in order to take a call. It can also cause you to lose focus and miss out on getting in a good, hard workout. Leave your phone in the car or in your gym bag, and return any missed calls after your workout.

3. Do- Have a plan.

It’s a good idea to know before hitting the gym what exactly you’re planning to do once you get there. Separate your weight training days by muscle group (legs one day, chest the next, etc.), and at least have an idea of which exercises you’re going to do. It may also help to keep a notebook with sample workouts and number of sets/reps for each muscle group. This will help you stay on track and you’ll be less likely to leave the gym until you’ve finished what you planned to do.

4. Don’t- Block others in front of the mirror.

While it’s a good idea to use the mirror to check your form during a workout, you don’t want to prevent others from being able to do the same. Be mindful of others while choosing where to stand in the weight room, and make sure you aren’t blocking someone else from being able to see. It’s easy to forget that there are other people in the gym when you’ve got earphones in and are focused on doing your own thing, but remember to be courteous of other gym-goers who are trying to do so as well.

5. Do- Wipe down the equipment when you are done.

This one seems to be a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone up to a bench or piece of equipment only to find that it’s covered in sweat. Gross! The gym is already a minefield of germs, so the least we can all do is clean up after ourselves. Sweating is inevitable during a great workout, but be polite and wipe down the machines after use. If you tend to sweat excessively, bring a towel to the gym with you to prevent dripping.

6. Don’t- Forget to hydrate!

Be sure to drink plenty of water during every workout to avoid dehydration and to keep your performance levels at their peak. Losing just 2% of your body weight in fluid during exercise can decrease performance up to 25%, and most people drastically underestimate how much they actually sweat during their fitness routine. To keep this from happening, try to drink a glass of water fifteen minutes before hitting the gym, and another eight ounces every fifteen minutes during exercise.

7. Do- Invest in the proper gym gear.

The right fabrics and fit can make or break your workout, so be sure you are adequately dressed for whatever type of exercise you plan on doing. Tight-fitting fabrics are ideal for both cardio and weight training to ensure that your clothing will not impede a vigorous cardio session and will allow you to better check your form while lifting weights. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes that are gym-appropriate (we’ve all seen the guy who wears flip flops and khaki shorts to the gym!) and consider investing in a pair of fitness gloves for added comfort and ease while lifting heavy weights.

8. Don’t- Take too long on one piece of equipment.

I actually once saw an old man sit down on a leg extension machine and open up a newspaper to read…seriously?? The gym is not for your personal use only; there are others who want to use the equipment too. Just because there’s no one standing over you waiting for you to finish up on that weight bench doesn’t mean that someone isn’t keeping an eye on it so they can snag it as soon as you’re done. Avoid sitting for too long in between sets or stopping to text or chat with a friend while sitting on a bench or machine (another good reason to leave that phone at home!). Limit cardio sessions to thirty minutes per machine, and allow others to work in with you on the weight machines. Variety is key to a good workout anyway, so there’s really no need for you to be on that elliptical for a whole hour or clock in 100+ reps on the bench press.

9. Do- Ask for assistance.

If you don’t know how to use a particular piece of equipment, you need a spotter or just someone to double-check your form, don’t be afraid to ask! While not all of the gym staff and personal trainers have the same certifications (and no, not all certifications are created equal), they should be able help you with the basics, such as navigating the equipment if you’re a gym-newbie, and helping to ensure that you are performing exercises correctly and efficiently.

10. Don’t- Make loud noises such as grunting, yelling or dropping the weights.

Not only is doing so distracting and irritating to others, dropping the weights can be dangerous to others and damaging to the gym floor. If a weight is too heavy for you to safely re-rack it, you should be using a lighter weight. As for the grunting, is it really going to help you perform that rep? We think not. Focus instead on keeping your breathing normal and steady during each set.

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From Bottles to Bags: Make the Most of Your Workout with our Top Rated Gym Gear!

Sweating it out at the gym isn’t always comfortable, but that doesn’t mean your gear shouldn’t be! From ear buds falling out to hair bands sliding off, the wrong gym gear can wreak havoc on your workout. In order to help you make the most of your gym time, we’ve compiled a list of the best fitness products on the market. From watches to water bottles, we’ve got you covered with these tested-and-approved personal picks.

 

  • Yoga Mat

Manduka PROlite Mat:

($78) http://www.manduka.com

A favorite yoga mat brand among instructors and yogis alike, Manduka products are known for their durable, comfortable, slip-resistant and eco-friendly designs. The PROlite model is our pick due to the fact that it is also super lightweight, making it ideal for travel.

  • Sport Watch

Timex Ironman Sleek 50-Lap Watch:

($60) http://www.timex.com

The #1 consumer-rated sport watch on Amazon, the Timex Ironman Sleek 50-Lap watch covers all the basics in sport watch technology at an affordable price. It features tap-screen technology which allows the user to simply tap the screen in order to stop and start the timer. Other features include hydration and nutrition alarms, water-resistance, and incredible durability. The watch is featured in a variety of colors, and is available for both men and women.

  • Pedometer

Fitbit Zip:

($59.95) http://www.fitbit.com/zip

This little gadget is an absolute must-have for any fitness techie. The Fitbit allows you to track your progress through an online dashboard that is updated automatically and wirelessly to your computer or mobile device. You can set goals, track your distance and steps, and even challenge friends. The Fitbit utilizes a personal profile set up by the user to accurately assess calories burned, and it’s small and lightweight enough to easily attach to a waistband or bra strap without hindering movement.

  • Water Bottle

Vapur Element

($11.99) http://vapur.us

The self-proclaimed “anti-water bottle,” the Vapur bottle is really more of a plastic bag with a spout for sipping, making it more lightweight and easy to grip than the aluminum or hard plastic kind. The bag is designed to stand upright when filled with liquid, but can be rolled up when empty, so it’s ideal for tucking into your gym bag post-workout. Other features include a wide mouth flip-cap for easy drinking, a clip for attaching to your belt or bag, and it’s dishwasher safe, making cleaning the bottle a breeze.

  • Ear Buds

JayBird Freedom:

(99.99) http://www.jaybirdgear.com

If you’ve ever dealt with the frustration of ear buds that just won’t stay in your ears, then you know how detrimental this can be to your workout. Enter the JayBird Freedom; a lightweight Bluetooth set that features patented ear cushions for comfort and security. Not only will the ear phones stay put, but you no longer have to deal with cords getting in your way during exercise. Additionally, the ear phones are sealed against moisture, making them ideal for the sweatiest of workouts. Even if you do happen to damage your JayBird device, the 24/7 online customer service feature and lifetime warranty will have you covered.

  • Head Bands

Sweaty Bands:

($15) http://www.sweatybands.com

Forget diamonds, Sweaty Bands are a girl’s new best friend! Available in a wide variety of colors and prints, Sweaty Bands are non-slip headbands that stay put during even the most intense sweat session. Featured on the Today Show during Kathie Lee and Hoda’s “Favorite Things” segment, these headbands get rave reviews for their comfort and ability to work with any hair type. Whether you have short hair, fine hair, bangs, or flyaways, Sweaty Bands will keep your hair in place and out of your face!

  • Sport Towel

FROGG TOGGS Chilly Pad Cooling Towel

(14.99) http://www.sportsauthority.com

FROGG TOGGS cooling towels utilize a special hyper-evaporative material which retains water while keeping the towel dry to the touch. When wet, the towel gives off a cooling sensation, making it an ideal choice for summer outdoor workouts. Rinse the towel under cold water before your workout to experience the towel’s unique cooling feature for up to four hours. The towel is also machine washable for ease in cleaning.

  • Gym Bag

Women- Sherpani Meta 4 Yoga/Gym Bag:

(79.95) http://www.shepani.com

With a yoga mat strap, two exterior pockets, a detachable shoe bag, and an internal wet pocket for swimsuits, the Sherpani Meta 4 Yoga/Gym Bag is a true do-it-all bag for any athlete or fitness enthusiast. Bonus: the material is composed of 67% recycled fabric, so it’s a purchase you can feel good about in more ways than one.

Men- Ogio Flex Form F3 Gym Bag:

($90) http://www.ogio.com

Light and durable, the Ogio Flex Form F3 Gym Bag is sweat-resistant and features a ventilated compartment for sweaty clothes and sneakers along with a padded adjustable shoulder strap, making it perfect for the man on the go. With a discreet inside pocket for valuables, this bag will help you go from the locker room to the conference room easily and conveniently.

  •  Shoe Inserts

Superfeet Running Insoles

($39.95-$44.95) http://www.superfeet.com

If you’re a runner, you know the importance of keeping your feet stable and comfortable when hitting the pavement. The running insoles by Superfeet are designed to work with the natural movement of your foot to prevent blisters and pain caused by the shifting of your feet inside your shoes during motion. The insoles are customizable to the wearer for maximum comfort and support.