Thursday, January 23, 2014

10 Dos and Dont's for Getting Your Cardio On in the Gym

Morning y'all! Today we'll be talking about cardio. Love it or hate it, it's a key component to any health regimen. Whether you're being driven inside by this pesky polar vortex, just joining a gym, or if you prefer to get your sweat on in a climate controlled environment (i.e. me, I have a love/hate relationship with running outside... allergies, bleh) sometimes you have to cardio indoors. Let's take a moment to ignore that I'm making cardio a verb and take a look at 10 Dos and Don'ts of getting your cardio on in the gym.


1.) Do bring a towel if you're going to break a sweat.

People get sweaty when they're working hard, that much is known. But be polite and mop that brow. Sweat flies off of you when you're moving fast and nothing is more embarassing than accidentally sweating on your neighbor. Always remember your towel. If you forget your towel, grab a few of the paper towels that are for wiping down the machines.
Pro Tip: wash your towel weekly. I was trying to identify the source of a really awful smell in the gym and was horrified to discover it was my towel. Whoooooops. :)

2.) Don't forget your headphones.

This one might be a personal thing, but doing cardio at the gym without music is a few shades of awful. It's boring and when you hit mile two on the treadmill, you're going to wish you had your playlist or an episode of Radiolab to keep treadmill boredom at bay. It's difficult  [for me] to put effort into a treadmill workout without something motivating being piped into your earholes. 

3.) Do use bathroom stall rules when picking a machine.

Or prepare yourself for some side-eye if you immediately jump onto the treadmill next to the only other person in the room. It's weird.


4.) Do leave someone alone if their headphones are in, it means they're probably not interested in conversation.

Unless you have a specific question that can be answered by that one person, you're best off leaving them alone. Interrupt someone with headphones just to idly chat and you're risking annoying someone who is in the zone. Respect the zone.  

5.) Don't stay on your machine longer than the posted time limit during peak hours.

Those time limits exist for a reason, that reason is to keep patrons flowing through the gym at a good speed. If the gym is fairly empty and there's some open machines, keep on past the time limit. But as soon as people start waiting for machines and you're hitting forty-seven minutes when there's a big sign on the wall that imposes a thirty minute limit, that's kinda jerky and the people waiting for a treadmill will notice that kind of thing. You're not the only one who can see your readout screen.

6.) Do use only one machine, the machine next to yours is not your coat-rack.


Hanging your towel on your own machine? A+
Hanging your towel on the machine to your left and your sweatshirt on the machine to your right, which I have seen before in my own gym? F

Someone braver than I actually asked the lady I saw hogging three machines if she wouldn't mind moving her sweatshirt and I kid you not... "I don't want it on the floor or hitting my leg." That is what the locker room is for. Locks are maybe $5 at Target/Walmart/CVS/etc. Don't be that lady.

7.) Do make sure you're wearing clothing that fits.

Wardrobe malfunctions in the gym are cringe-inducing and [admittedly] funny if you're the onlooker, horrifying if you're the one whose pants fell down around your ankles while you had weights in your hands because they're so big and comfy, or like this poor guy on the treadmill... I've never had an issue with my pants before, but I did have one embarrassing incident with an ill-fitting sports bra that did not to its job during a run and I looked absolutely ridiculous. Got rid of that bra immediately upon getting home.


8.) Don't answer your phone...especially on speakerphone.

If I had a dollar... Having a phone conversation in the gym is distracting to everyone who isn't blasting their music at a level that may actually melt eardrums. It interrupts your workout and the workouts of [most] everyone within earshot. I've overheard one half of some way personal conversations on the gym floor and in the locker room. If you can't keep your phone on silent or if you get a call that you cannot afford to ignore, excuse yourself and step into the gym lobby to field it. 

9.) Do wipe the machine down after you're done, even if you "didn't sweat that much".

First reaction upon seeing something like the image below... *dry heave*. Second reaction...holy crap that guy was working hard. Always leave them guessing, don't leave the evidence behind!


10.) Don't loudly narrate your workout to your invisible friend or the people around you.

To be fair, I've only seen one person do this. While it was really distracting, it was also kind of endearing because this person was really really new and was extremely excited about their workout. Do it at your own peril I guess. 


You can also check out my previous post "Things Nobody Tells You About Working Out" for some more etiquette tips.

If you want some awesome treadmill or elliptical workouts, try one of these 56 I've got lined up for ya:
5 Treadmill Workouts from WebMD
13 Treadmill Workouts for all Levels from PopSugar
10 Boredom Busting Treadmill Workouts from Self
9 Ways to Max Out Your Treadmill Workout from Men's Health
8 Elliptical Workouts from Self
11 Elliptical Workouts from FitSugar

Avoid some common elliptical problems by familiarizing yourself with this article from Prevention. 


  1. Great post! I've been victim to a few of these =/

    1. I'm guilty of forgetting my towel way too frequently. But I now know where every paper towel dispenser is in the gym. :)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.