Have you ever hopped on an exercise bench at the gym only to land in a puddle of sweat?
Ever spent part of your workout time removing weights from machines so you can put yours on? Or searched high and low for weight plates and dumbbells that weren't where they're supposed to be?
If you belong to a gym, chances are you answered yes to some of these questions. And that raises another question: Why can't people at gyms mind their manners?
When hundreds of other people exercise in the same place, following an etiquette plan is key to making everyone's workout time rewarding.
"Think of the old golden rule: Treat others as you would have them treat you," says Deb Whitney-Johnson, owner of Fresno's Pro-Cor Sports and Fitness. "Show respect and consideration."
And don't be afraid to let the staff know if someone repeatedly fails to follow gym etiquette, she adds.
That said, here are some dos and don'ts of gym etiquette provided by Whitney-Johnson and other fitness facility employees:
Be friendly, but not
a social butterfly.
Most people go to the gym to work out, not socialize. Keep conversations brief. Don't disturb those who are reading, watching TV or listening to their iPod as they exercise.
Keep your sweat to yourself.
Wipe down equipment when you're done.
Jim Reyes of Fresno, a competitive bodybuilder who trains six days a week, carries a towel to "wipe up my messes but not someone else's, because I also use that towel to wipe my face. Sometimes I use my sweatpants or the bottom of my gym bag to wipe up other people's sweat."
Some gyms offer sanitizing wipes. Others ask gymgoers to bring a towel.
Pick up after yourself.
Don't leave behind food wrappers, water bottles or other trash.
Put your weights back on the rack.
Once you're done with weight plates, dumbbells or barbells, put them back.
Loud grunting, or singing along to your iPod are no-nos.
Turn off your cell phone.
If you can't miss a call, take your conversation outside.
Don't hog the equipment.
Many gyms have a 30-minute limit on cardio equipment that is enforced only when people are waiting.
If the gym is not busy, stay on that treadmill as long as you want. If it's packed, respect the rules. When working with weights, alternate sets with people who want to use the same equipment.
Better yet, avoid peak hours; ask staff members what are the busiest times at your gym.
Wear clothing and footwear designed for exercise.
Don't wear pajamas and torn clothing. But do wear undergarments that provide support and cover areas others don't want to see.
And if you're going to lounge in the sauna or steam room, bathing suits are a basic.