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Gym Etiquette: What not to do in the Gym

I love the gym. It’s a great place to improve the mind, body, and soul all at once. If you’re lucky, the gym you train at has a competitive atmosphere, loud music, and an environment conducive to being absolutely awesome. Unfortunately, it’s not always this amazing. The few many  behaviors I see on a daily basis leave me shaking my head. On occasion, I am left completely speechless by the gym etiquette, or lack-thereof.

Having spent thousands of hours in the gym in my lifetime you would think one had seen it all, but I routinely see myself saying ” Are you F%^ing Kidding Me?”

The gym is a great place. But rules must be followed. Here is what not to do if you want to follow gym etiquette.

When it comes to exercising in a public place such as your local health club or gym there are many written, and unwritten rules. Unfortunately, there will always be people who don’t seem to follow the rules.

These are things you should avoid doing at the gym, both for the sake of humanity and your fellow gym goers.


1. Talking on Cellphones

Seriously, what the hell is that important? Your workout is time to get away and do something for yourself. Focus on one thing at a time, get away from work for a bit. Besides, no-one wants to hear your latest beef with a landlord or unfinished conference call. Get off your phone or get out of the gym.

2. Not wiping down equipment

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of sharing gooch sweat with the last guy seated on my bench. Not only is leaving your juice on the bench vile and inconsiderate, it’s dangerous due to the presence of bacteria and fungi.

3. Resting on equipment

Ever have someone jump on the equipment you were using while you grabbed a slug of water, only to sit, read the newspaper, and hang out? It’s not happy hour, go somewhere else to hang out.

4. Over-Grunting

 Noise is fine, you should be pushing yourself to the limit and moving weight. But, don’t the guy who is squealing like a stuck pig between each rep on the lat pull down machine, only to conclude it with a slam of the weight. Grunting is fine, but keep it within reason.

5.Equipment Hijacking

True Story: A few weeks ago I was crushin’ some  deadlifts, picking up heavy shit, letting it hit the ground, and blowing chalk all over the platform. I had my bag with my roller, wraps, chalk etc. and my belt all sitting on the platform with a barbell loaded with over 400 lbs. After grabbing a drink I came back to some “bro” doing planks on the platform directly in front of my gear and loaded barbell. Who does planks on a fully loaded platform in a mostly empty, 60,000 squat foot facility?
I sat patiently, plotting my revenge. He stayed for 2 sets until I had enough, I “politely” asked him to move. Then he did it again to another lifter. Really? But anyways, ask to work in if necessary, but don’t blatantly get in the way of others training.

6. Dousing Yourself in Stank Water

Every stand up from a brutal set, lungs screaming, only to choke on someones cheap, overpriced cologne? That kills baby kittens.

I understand the importance of smelling “fantastic” for your next date, but seriously. No-one hits the gym to smell you, keep the cologne for other occasions.

7. Being Sick at the Gym

Yes, exercise it vital for your health and a healthy immune system. No, I don’t want swine flu. If you plan on leaving infected mucous on every dumbbell in your wake I plan on dropping a dumbbell on your foot. If your sick, stay home and get some rest.

8. Curls in the Squat Rack

I admit, I have done these before. For that, I apologize. But, if you are curling 65lbs in the squat rack you need to spend more time squatting the bar and less time with curls. In facilities with a limited number of squat racks and platforms keep squat racks and platforms for major, compound exercises like deadlifts, cleans, and lunges.

9.Not Putting Away your equipment

I am an uber-organized neat freak. That being said I believe there is a special place in hell for people who don’t re-rack their equipment. Are you that important, lazy, or exhausted that you can’t pick up after yourself? No, stop being lazy, unload your bar, re-rack your dumbbells, and put your equipment where it belongs.
The gym is a great place. But rules must be followed. Here is what not to do if you want to follow gym etiquette.
And last but not least….Drum Roll Please

10.Being the Locker Room Nudist

It’s fine to be naked in a locker room, that what it’s for. But keep it to showering, changing, shaving (your face), and getting back to business. Don’t be the nude dude who stands in front of the mirror dousing yourself with lotion, and then proceeding to lay down face up on a bench. It’s wrong. ( Yes, I have seen all of these things happen.)
Etiquette is important, especially in the gym. Be respectful, don’t be an asshole, and focus on your workout. It’s that simple!
Like this list? Share some of the wacky things you’ve seen in the gym and share with your favorite social media site.
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Top 10 Tips to Add Muscle

tips to add muscle, high performance exercises

I’m going to keep this simple and straight forward.  If you’re not building muscle, you’re probably missing the basics.

1. Eat Big to Get Big

You can’t put 60 miles worth of gasoline and drive 120 miles can you? Providing your body with the essential calories and nutrients is rule #1. You will be working hard in the gym, you not only need to provide enough calories to fuel your workout, but you also need a caloric surplus in order to gain weight. For each meal aim for 1-2 fistfuls of protein (30g or so), 2 fists of vegetables, healthy fats, and carbs such as sweet potatoes or rice. Track what you eat using a site such as livestrong.com and consider reading up on carb cycling to maximize muscle and minimize fat.  Supershakes are a convenient and easy way to pack your body full of quality nutrients for muscle growth.

2. Progressive Overload

To build muscle you must follow the laws of progressive overload. You must continuously work to add weight to the bar, increase the speed you move the bar, increase the number of reps, or decrease rest periods each time you set foot in the gym. Give your body a reason to grow by challenging to a new level every chance you get (within reason), repeating the same workout pound for pound and word for word will not help yield the gains you are looking for.


3. Stick with Compound Exercises

Mixing in endless amounts of curls, leg extensions, calf raises, and lateral raises will do little more than delay your recovery and hinder your progress. Stick with squats, deadlifts, presses, bench presses, chin ups, dips, hip thrusts, and rows to build a well rounded physique. Major structural exercises like these will work the most muscle mass and stimulate the biggest release of testosterone to fuel your muscle growth. You don’t need gimmicky machines, cable crossovers, and shiny new equipment to get the job done; they are often a waste of time. Pay your dues with a barbell, kettlebells, dumbbells, and your own bodyweight to move your body the way it was built to move.


4.  Train Heavy

Training heavy is becoming a lost art in many gyms. I see so many people training every exercise at 12-15 reps chasing the pump that it makes me sick. Most individuals tend to follow body part splits with crazy high volume and rep ranges that only work for beginners and/or steroid users. Most drug free lifters make phenomenal gains by putting more weight on the bar and focusing on rep ranges between 3-8. Anything over 8 reps really begins developing endurance unless you can handle significant weight for reps. Bottom Line: If you add 50 pounds to your squat or a deadlift in a year you will be bigger, add weight and see magic happen!


5. Get In Get Out

Workouts are meant to stimulate, not annihilate the body. Get in a solid warm up and try to complete your workout in 45 minute or less. You are in the gym to work out and see results, not socialize in-between sets on the preacher curl. Get in, get out, eat, and repeat.

6. Sleep 8+ Hours

You need to recovery to grow, and optimal growth and recovery comes with getting 8+ hours of sleep per night. Sleeping well and long will increase your testosterone naturally while giving you more energy and making you more efficient throughout the day. Turn off the TV and get some sleep

7. Foam Roll

Staying healthy and recovering from workouts is absolutely vital to making consistent progress in the gym. Foam roll troubled areas such as the shoulders, pecs, IT bands, calves, and piriformis to improve movement quality. Pick up a foam roller or use tennis balls, baseballs, softballs (ouch), medicine balls to break up scar tissue. If you are financially able try to get a deep tissue massage once per week.


8. Incorporate SOME higher reps into your training

The emphasis on your training still needs to be on lower repetition multi-joint exercises to build muscle. However, increasing reps on occasion to 10-15 reps will increase your muscles ability to store glycogen and water. This will add volume to the muscle and increase their size. This is known as non-functional hypertrophy. If you goal is solely aesthetics and not strength/power mix 1-2 exercises per workout with a higher volume. Just be aware this can compromise your performance on big lifts!


9. Keep a Workout Journal

Writing down your workouts and tracking your progress is incredibly important to make consistent gains in the gym. How in the heck will you know when you have a new PR, or when you increased your reps by 5 on your squat from 2 months ago? Keeping a detailed workout journal will show you exactly what has worked in the past and what has not. Your workouts will improve and so will your knowledge of how your body reacts to different workouts.


10. De-load every 6-8 weeks

De-loading the muscles and nervous system every month or two will keep you healthy and mentally fresh in the long term. Muscle building is not an overnight ordeal, it takes years to build and smart programming. Take a complete week off on occasion, drop your intensity, or your volume for a week to allow joints, ligaments, and the nervous system to health up.

The Top 10 Tips to Add Muscle

Lift heavy, eat, sleep, repeat to get the gains you want. By taking these tips and focusing on 1 at a time until it becomes common practice will bring your training and physique to where it wants to be.
And if you’re looking for a program to get rollin,’ I’ve got you covered here.

Get Your 12 Week HFT Mass Program Today

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