The group fitness class is an excellent opportunity to get out of the house and treat yourself to a beneficial exercise session for the body. However, in a group, it is crucial to respect other participants. Nick Leighton, etiquette expert and co-host of the podcast “Were You Raised By Wolves?”, recalls in a HuffPost article: “Many of us view group fitness classes as a time to ‘relax’, but in reality, it is a moment of ‘sharing’. It is essential to keep in mind that you are not alone, and that others are also looking to benefit from the course.”
To help make instructor-led group sessions more enjoyable for everyone, etiquette experts were tapped by HuffPost reporter Caroline Bologna. To be a good sports companion in all circumstances and maintain team spirit, here are 11 behaviors to avoid:
Don’t arrive late. One of the basic rules during your group sports session is to arrive on time. Arriving late disrupts the flow of the session and can annoy the instructor and other participants. Make sure you arrive a few minutes early to prepare and warm up properly. Jodi RR Smith, president of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting, recommends: “Plan to arrive a few minutes early to find your location and be ready when the instructor starts.” For her part, Leighton advises: “If you have to leave class early for any reason, don’t choose a front row yoga mat. Take a seat near the door to minimize disruption.”
Avoid discussions with your friends during the session. It’s natural to want to socialize with your friends while exercising, but finding the right balance is essential. During the session, focus on the exercise and follow the instructor’s instructions. Excessive talking can distract other participants.
Don’t hog the water fountain. The water fountain is a key place to rehydrate during breaks between exercises. However, it is important not to monopolize it. Drink quickly, refill your bottle if necessary, then make way for others. This will ensure everyone has equitable access to water and avoid unnecessary delays.
Turn off your phone. Your cell phone can be a source of distraction during group exercise. Turn it off or put it on silent to avoid unwanted calls, messages or notifications. Leighton advises: “If you need to keep an eye on your phone during class, put it on silent and choose a seat at the back of the room, near the door, if you need to answer a call quickly.”
Respect the instructor’s time. The instructor is there to guide and motivate you throughout the session. It is essential to respect your time and instructions. Avoid asking questions during the exercise unless necessary. If you have concerns or questions, wait for an appropriate time, such as a break, to ask them. This will allow everyone to keep up with the pace and fully enjoy the session.
Be mindful of other people’s space. When playing a sport in a group, it is crucial to respect the space of other participants. Avoid getting too close to others during exercises and make sure you have enough space to perform your movements safely. This will ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone and reduce the risk of collisions or injuries.
Choose appropriate clothing. When choosing your workout outfit, make sure it’s appropriate for the group session. Avoid wearing clothing with offensive messages or images, as this can create an uncomfortable environment for other participants. Opt for comfortable clothing, suitable for physical activity, and which respects the rules of decency.
Follow the instructor’s pace. The instructor is responsible for the session and determines the pace and intensity of the exercises. It is essential to follow your instructions and maintain the pace of the session. Avoid taking excessive breaks or slowing down the group. If you need to slow down or modify an exercise due to physical limitations, communicate this to the instructor so they can provide you with appropriate alternatives.
Clean the equipment after use. After using any equipment, whether it’s weights, yoga mats, or weight machines, make sure you clean it properly. Use the disinfectants provided to eliminate sweat and germs. This will help maintain a clean and hygienic environment for all participants and prevent the spread of disease. Smith explains, “In busy rooms, be sure to gather your things, wipe down equipment, and exit quickly to allow the next class to start on time.”
Be encouraging to others. Remember the importance of encouragement and mutual support during group sport. Encourage your session mates, praise them for their efforts and share a positive attitude. This creates a motivating atmosphere and promotes the well-being of everyone. Group sport is an opportunity to build relationships and support each other in achieving your goals.
Avoid reserving seats for your late friends. It may be tempting to reserve seats for your friends who arrive late, but this can cause problems. Everyone should follow the same rules of arriving on time. If your friends are late, they should find available seats without you having to reserve for them. This helps maintain a fair environment for all participants.