You’ve just purchased a gym membership and you want that summer shred. Before you start switching to protein only diets and supplement shakes, make sure you read this first!  No, I’m not going to tell you to wait your turn and wipe your own sweat; we aren’t basic. This is the worst-case-scenario-gym-survival-kit.


Scenario 1 – You want to use gym equipment but there is a towel on it.

This happens a lot, when you want to use gym equipment but you see a small towel on it. Well, that towel being there could mean one of two things. Either someone is done using the machine and forgot the towel, or the towel is there as a placeholder while that person is grabbing a drink of water or something.

What do you do? The first thing you do is to ask the people around that towel if someone is using the equipment. Usually they won’t know so you wait a few moments, and then if no one returns, by all means start using the machine. If someone does return, don’t worry, as that person will probably say “hey i’m not done using it” then you can either wait until they’re done, or (if you’re in a rush) you can politely ask to “work in”.


Scenario 2 – You don’t have time to wait and want to share gym equipment.

Most people at the gym are nice and therefore, if you ask to “work in”, they are usually accommodating. In gym vernacular, “working in”, means two people taking turns using the same piece of gym equipment during the same period of time. More often than not, people usually decide to work in with regards to gym machines and not benches.

If you decide to work in, make sure you place the machine back to its original position before you started using it; do it, it’s courtesy.

Scenario 3 – You need help lifting some weights.

As mentioned earlier, people are generally nice and helpful as long as you treat them with courtesy and respect. So if you need help hitting that repetition or catch weight, there’s no need to worry, simply ask. But before you do so, know how many repetitions you want to do and how much weight you want to lift. Doing this avoids confusion and allows the other person to help you more effectively. Likewise, if someone asks you for a “spot”, or help, and if you’re up for it, oblige.

Now that you know how to navigate some awkward scenarios that may happen at your neighborhood gym, here are a few quick-fire phrases and words that are used in the gym setting:

Work in – means two or more people taking turns using the same gym equipment.
Spot – basically means help using weights.
Reps (repetitions) – is the completion of a particular exercise, such as 1 squat, 1 curl, or 1 sit-up.
Sets – is a series of reps. Example, 10 reps in 1 set.
Rack – is the act of putting the equipment back to its original form or place.



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