Feature Archive

The Gym Culture Handbook

Simple tips for acclimating yourself at the gym.

WebMD Feature Melyssa St. Michael has witnessed more than her share of health club etiquette violations. As a veteran bodybuilder and Director of Baltimore's UltraFit Human Performance gym, she's seen members hog the treadmills, block the aisles between weight machines, and take marathon showers in the locker room.

"You always have people who think they own the gym and forget that everyone else pays a membership fee, too," St. Michael says.

Yes, even at a health club -- a place where skimpy attire, profuse sweating, and mild grunting are perfectly acceptable -- there are rules of etiquette.

"You're going to be interacting with other people, so there's a protocol that's important to follow," St. Michael says.

If you've recently joined a health club, you may find the environment intimidating. Learning the unwritten rules can help you feel a lot more at home at the club -- and help you make friends while avoiding nasty stares.

If you come across a situation that you're not sure how to handle, simply ask one of the trainers on duty. "The experts can save you from embarrassing moments," New York City fitness trainer Mike Gostigian says.

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