your local gym should be getting crowded about now ... mine is. thanksgiving is the first tipping point for people to start new gym memberships. its the guilt from gorging themselves on turkey day that pushes them over the edge. this will continue through new years (resolutions), but around february most of the newbies will be gone and then the people i see at the gym will be the same regulars that i've seen for the last couple months. newbies are sometimes fun to watch, just because you get the guys that show up all decked out with a belt, gloves, straps, sweatbands, mp3 player ... and sunglasses. i swear, i've seen more than a handful of people working out in sunglasses. it usually takes these people longer to get ready to lift than the time they actually spend lifting. but newbies mostly piss me off because they dont know gym etiquette. here are some of the rules
let people work in - if you're going to be on a machine for a while, then let somebody else use it while you're resting.
dont be a superset hog - this has you doing different exercises right after the other with minimal rest. so one person is effectively taking up 2 machines. definitely let people work in if you are using this technique.
rack your weights - i dont get any stronger by putting up the weights you leave behind. and racking your weights lets somebody know when you are done with a machine.
be aware of what machines are available - dont just go and jump on a machine after you get a drink of water. there is a chance that the person that was using that machine is getting a drink of water right then. at least ask somebody nearby if anybody is using it. if they are, then wait for them to get back and ask to work in.
wipe up your sweat - even if you're a hot chick.
fill up your water bottle when people aren't waiting.
be a spotter - if somebody asks for a spot on a lift, then definitely help out. even if the person is ridiculously stronger than you, they are just asking for a little help. if that person did not think you could help them, then they would not have asked you in the first place. about the only legit excuse for not spotting somebody is if you are injured. the best i've heard is that the person did not want to be held libel in case i hurt myself.
dont abuse a spotter - dont ask for a spot until you really need it. its really annoying to go spot somebody and they end up handling the weight easily. also, dont ask for a spot and then have the spotter lift most of the weight for you. if they are helping with more than 5 or 10 pounds of assistance, then you should lower the weight.
no phones - if you're going to chat, take it elsewhere. otherwise there is a good chance i might drop a 120 lb dumbbell on it.