Whether you're an exercise class junkie or a nervous newbie, here are a few dos and don'ts when it comes to group fitness class etiquette
In the world of fitness, no one's perfect—but that doesn't just mean whether or not you reached a new max weight on your deadlift or PR time on the treadmill. With the popularity of boutique studios and group fitness classes, you likely spend just as much time at your favorite studios as a traditional gym (if not more), so why do your manners go out the window as soon as you check in? While everyone has checked their phones, laughed with a BFF, or slipped out a little early during a group workout class—it happens—there are certain faux pas that really get under your instructor's skin. So what are the biggest etiquette no-nos are? One group fitness instructor opens up about the worst mistakes and shares how you can fix them ASAP.
You Show Up Late...All the Time
The most common complaint among group fitness instructors and gym staff? Students who saunter in after class has started. (Some studios actually lock the doors the moment class starts.) Even if your instructor appears not to mind, he or she is probably just being nice. While they love to have a packed house, sometimes instructors make changes based on the number of students who show. So when you waltz in late? You throw 'em off big time.
You Leave Early
If you tell your instructor ahead of time, he or she won't mind at all that you have to rush back to work or pick up your dog from the puppy playground. But if you don't give a heads up, jetting out can look pretty bad. "The warm-up and the cool-down are what makes a workout more functional," says Tricia Murphy Madden, education manager and co-creator of Savvier Fitness and finalist for IDEA 2016 program director of the year. Cool-down also plays a big role in preventing injury, she adds, so you run a risk by taking off early.
You Like to Do Your Own Thing In Class
Want to do something different from what the instructor's suggesting? If you're injured, that's one thing. Modifications are A-OK. But doing your own thing or totally altering the routine? Those are surefire ways to drive your instructor (and the rest of the class) crazy.
You Don't Clean Up After Yourself
Repeat after us: Sweaty towels, work stations, and equipment are not for your instructor to clean up. Think about it: They likely have a lot more on their schedule than teaching this one class. Depending on the facility, your instructor might be required to do general cleaning, maintain equipment, run payments, lock up after class, and (oh yeah) teach. Plus, there might be back-to-back classes scheduled, and no one appreciates secondhand sweat.
You Talk Through the Entire Class
So you picked spin class to tell your BFF about your big night last night. "Music is on, mic is on, and I think people don't realize the entire class can hear them," says Murphy Madden. It's one thing if you're asking the person next to you how to turn your bike monitor on or shouting out an enthusiastic "woo!" It's another to chat about the weekend's escapades throughout the entire class.
You Show Up Every. Single. Day.
A blessing can quickly become a curse when you get obsessed with your favorite class. But no matter how much you love hot yoga, if you're doing it six days a week and not adding in any other exercise elements, your body isn't getting what it needs for optimal health, says Murphy Madden—not to mention, you're probably going to get bored. (So, is it bad to do the same workout every day?) You'll feel better than ever when you equally divide your workouts between flexibility, strength, cardio, and endurance. Not to mention a fit body needs rest, girl!