A group fitness class is a great way to get out there and treat your body to some healthy movement. But it’s also important to respect others who do the same.
Said Nick Layton, etiquette expert and co-host of “Were You Raised by Wolves?” Podcasts. “But it’s not really ‘my time’. It’s ‘our time’. So you have to be aware of the fact that you’re not alone and that other people are trying to take advantage of the class.”
To help make teacher-led group workouts a better experience for everyone, HuffPost asked Leighton and other etiquette experts to share some common mistakes and tips for avoiding them.
“Arrive a few minutes early to find your seat and make sure you’re ready when the instructor is ready to begin.”
You stop the class when you arrive late, so some studios have late arrival policies. Don’t assume they’ll make an exception for you. Be careful if you have to leave early too.
“Plan to stay until the end,” Leighton said. “But if for some reason you need to leave class early, a yoga mat in the front row is not for you. Choose a seat near the door to minimize disruption.”
Enter the Water Station:
Most gyms offer water stations to keep you hydrated. However, avoid taking more than you need.
“As you fill your water bottle before class, ask yourself if you’re really going to drink 128 ounces in the next hour, or if you really don’t need to fill up a gallon while a long line of people is forming behind you.”
Keep your Phone On:
Ideally, you can keep your phone in a locker or hide it during class. But if you want to be in the room with you, don’t turn the volume down!
“Nothing kills the vibe faster than someone’s phone ringing,” Leighton said. “If you need to keep an eye on your phone during class, keep it on silent and sit in the back of the room near the door in case you need to leave quickly to take a call.”
Coach Time Monopoly:
Remember, a group fitness class is different from a personal training session. Don’t use everyone’s training time to have a private chat with the trainer.
“Asking questions about form or to avoid injury is a good thing,” Smith said. “The monopoly of the coach’s time is not.”
Ignore The trainer’s Move:
“While you’re encouraged to work out at your own pace, doing something completely different means you can do better in a different group,” she said. “In other words, the people behind you will generally follow your lead and your performance in the samba rather than showing that you are out of line with your chosen category.”
Do not Turn Off the Equipment:
Before you leave, you’ll need to clean carpets or pieces of equipment you sweat on, unless the studio says otherwise. This is an important way to show interest in the students in the next class.
“In crowded places, be sure to collect your belongings, clean any equipment, and leave quickly to let the next class start on time.”
Not Supporting Others:
“This is not a high school,” Smith emphasized. “Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. People take classes at all fitness levels. Make sure they’re inclusive and supportive.”
Even if you are a regular in a certain class and feel more comfortable, don’t forget to be friendly with everyone.
“People tend to make friends with other people in their fitness classes, but don’t leave out the new people who join them,” Gottsman insisted. “If you see them struggling to find a place for their gear or they seem to have a question, reach out and offer to help.”