Perfectly Polite While Working-out

This month's Mannersmith Monthly was written by our office fitness fanatic, Mannersmith Consultant, Marianne Cohen.

January is here and the start of the year comes those well intentioned New Years Resolutions. As a self-proclaimed gym rat, I find it fascinating to watch others at the gym, especially in January. Of particular note is how the "resolutioners" (those that join in January) interact with the old-timers like me. Below are tips and techniques to ensure that everyone is comfortable using their gym.

Whistling While Working Out ~ Although you may think you will make it to the final round of American Idol, others may not have the same feeling! Be aware that when you begin to sing or whistle that not everyone has the same taste in music. Plus, it is hard for us to join in when we can't hear what song you are listening to on your iPod.

Rules Are Not Meant To Be Broken ~ If you are not aware of the policies and procedures of a particular gym, make sure to ask an employee to show you the ropes. Look to see what others are doing, or set up a session with a trainer. Knowing the rules of the gym allows everyone's experience to be enjoyable.

Reservation for One ~ Gyms differ in their sign-in procedures for popular classes. If yours is one where you need to make a reservation for a class, please honor your reservation. If you cannot make the class, be sure to cancel ASAP so someone else can take advantage of the opening.

Privacy Please ~ Remember, that the locker room is the place to change, shower, and get on with your life. It is not the time to show off your "assets," conduct a telephone meeting, or reorganize your entire gym bag. While you may be comfortable walking around in your birthday suit, cornering your long-lost step aerobics instructor for a hug makes everyone uncomfortable.

Phone Booths Needed ~ Cell phones at the gym is of great debate. Talking on your phone while waiting for children to finish swimming or for a class to begin is acceptable provided you are off to the side with the sound minimized. Carrying on a full-blown conversation while on the elliptical is unacceptable. Either forfeit your machine and move to the side to keep talking or return the call when you have finished your work out. No one should be subjected to your one-sided conversation.

Water Cooler Gossip ~ Many people like to use the gym as a social support group and forge many new friendships. Be sure your chatting does not block the traffic flow on the gym floor or access to any of the equipment. Better yet, meet in the lobby for the life-update or swing by a local coffee shop.

Wipe Up to Wipe Out ~ With the flu season upon us the gym can become a germ-a-palooza! No one wants to walk in to a gym and be accosted by machines with germ-ridden, sweaty handles. The rule is simple, you use - you wipe; cardio machines, weights, and exercise mats. Most gyms supply antibacterial wipes and gels. Use them! Your personal towel does not protect others. You still need to use the provided wipes or spray provided to prevent the spread of infections.

Perfumania ~ While working out, there will be sweat. And where there is sweat, there is bound to be body odor. To minimize unpleasant odors, opt for deodorant. Perfume or cologne applied on top of body odor combines to a nocuous smell for others. Plus, you may trigger someone's allergies. Best to wait until after your workout and after you have showered to apply those new designer perfume, cologne and lotions.

Regulars Relax ~ Just because someone recently joined a gym does not mean they are there to ruin your work out. Remember, even if you were not a "resolutioner" when you first joined, at some point, you were new too. Be kind, be courteous, be helpful. The faster they feel comfortable, the faster they will become part of the flow. Remember the golden rule. It goes a long way to keep the spirit of holiday giving going.

Now is a great time to start an exercise routine. While Mannersmith always promotes good behaviors, remember manners matter, but safety first. Please check with your healthcare professional before starting any exercise routine. The holidays are over and January is a great time to hit the gym to get in shape... bathing suit season is only 6 months away!