If you are an avid gym user you know the after New Year’s routine – for the first few weeks you meet some new faces. Each year some of those faces stay and some will go, only to reappear next year.

The reasons those new faces disappear may be that they had a bad experience, they were intimidated, or they weren’t quite sure if they really belonged.

One thing that may help both the old school and the modern gym user is an update on proper gym etiquette. The following are some items you may want to keep in mind while spending time in the very social environment of a fitness club.

A big complaint of staff and members alike is people who seem to have enough strength to put the weights on the machines, but never seem to have the energy to take them off. Please take your weights off the machines. You may be able to lift a 45-lb plate onto the machine, but the next person may not be able to take it off.

You are not alone in the gym. Especially at peak times, please share equipment. Let someone work in a set, don’t leave your towel on a bench while you walk away for 20 minutes chatting with your friend.

Towel off before leaving the shower and try not to drip-dry on the floor. It is dangerous to walk around the change room leaving a trail of water behind, and wet socks suck for everyone else. Please try to dry off before leaving the shower area.

Nobody likes to get sick: the towels and spray bottles are there for a reason. Please wipe off machines, benches, mats, anything you have sweated on.

When using a steam or sauna room, please sit on a towel. It protects both you and others.

This is always a hard one, but please do not come to gym sick. If you are coughing everywhere, please keep it at home.

Take outside shoes off at the door. Wearing dirty, wet shoes in the facility is not only disrespectful to other (who were kind enough to take off their outdoor shoes), it also wrecks the equipment and the flooring when you are grinding dirt into them.

Respect each other’s space, both mental and personal. Do not interrupt people while they are training. If you know somebody, it’s okay to say hi and then continue on with your own training. Be respectful. If they are in the middle of a set, do not interrupt.

Especially this time of year, we are all looking to get our cardio minutes in. Don’t hog the cardio equipment. Respect busy-times rules of a 30-minute maximum. Look around for others, change machines and try something else if you have more cardio to do.

Unless it is an emergency please stay off your cell phone. No one else wants to hear your conversation. And with all the cameras on cell phones these days, we don’t like the chance that you may be taking photos or video of others. Respect privacy, please.

Show up on time, or early, for classes and appointments. If you arrive late and miss the warm-up, take five minutes to warm yourself up without disrupting the class.

Take your clothes home and wash them. This should go without saying, but a lot of people change their clothes, then leave them in their locker for the next workout. This is not a good practice for you or others.

Please refrain from giving unsolicited advice. Unless you are a certified instructor employed by the facility, please do not give pointers unless asked to. I know you think you are helping, but maybe they are doing it that way for a reason.

Simply put: think about others. Most women can’t lift large plates off machines, everyone needs time on cardio equipment, staff members do not want to pick up your sweaty towel and garbage, no one wants to slip on a wet floor and no one wants to hear your whole phone conversation.

Remember everything you learned in kindergarten: be kind, respectful and gracious to others. And let’s have a fabulously successful, healthy 2011!

This column is provided by Peak Fitness. Mrs. Lee Randell is an ACE certified personal trainer. Contact information and past articles are available at www.peakfitnessyukon.com. Anyone who wants to begin an exercise program should consult their physician first.

This column is provided by Mrs. Lee Randell, independent fitness consultant, who is an ACE certified advanced health and fitness specialist and personal trainer. You can reach her at www.mrsleerandell.com.