My last two visits to the gym suggest it might be time for a gym etiquette refresher course. Summer is approaching rapidly, and Grand Junction's dedicated fitness buffs won't be slacking off. Let's take a look at a few simple health club guidelines.

I hope I'm not out of line with this. Chances are I may be doing things at the gym causing frustration for other people. My routine can occasionally get bogged down when I slip off into fantasy land and spend far too much time between sets. Aside from that, though, I sincerely hope my routine, while not setting any gym records, doesn't impose on other gym members.

Why am I mentioning this now? My last two trips to the gym were accompanied by some old frustrations. Here's an oldie but a goodie - people talking on their cell phone while "kind-of" doing a set. All gyms have a designated space where you can talk on your phone. It's called the "lobby." Better yet, do that at home.

In my youth, I worked for about five years as a facility manager at one of the larger health clubs in Western Colorado. After a while, you start to pick up a few pointers.

When using one machine, don't use the machine next to it as a place to set your water bottle, towel, and cell phone. It implies that machine is in use.

The universal rules of gym etiquette are ultimately very simple. Watch the instructional video, and we'll have a short refresher afterward.

Here is a short list of common sense items, most of which are posted in every gym.

  • Please re-rack your weights
  • Turn your cell phone off
  • Most certainly do not talk on your cell phone while occupying a machine or bench
  • When in the locker room, towel that junk up... no one wants to look at your genitalia... really.
  • No children running around while you're working out.
  • Do not use the squat rack for bicep curls.
  • It is pretty much impossible to super-set on 15 machines at once. Limit the number of machines you are using at any given time.
  • If someone has their headphones on and are working out, chances are they want to be left alone.
  • No martial arts moves while on the gym floor.
  • Don't bang dumbbells together. It is hard on your wrists, you can cause metal chips to fall in your eye, and it is really hard on the weights.
  • Do not chalk up to lift the little 5 pound pink weights. If you chalk up, get the chalk on your hands, not the floor and walls.

Recently, I've stopped wearing headphones at the gym Why isolate yourself to a tiny world? Get rid of those things and take in the energy of other people.

Some of the top fitness coaches in the industry advise against wearing headphones. They have the potential to be a distraction.

Western Colorado is home to a number of fantastic gyms and health clubs. When the atmosphere is right, the energy of other people can propel your workouts. You can literally feed off the aura projected by focused lifters. A tiny bit of gym etiquette goes a long way to drive a workout right through the roof.