5-star Fitness

Gym Etiquette​

Written By Samantha Crosland • 10 min read

Do you have proper Gym Etiquette? Think of the gym as an adult playground, there is a ton of equipment that ANYONE can use, different locations that offer different ways to play (i.e. train), and usually a grass/park area and/or a sandbox for those who prefer to entertain themselves using a personal toy they brought or using one that the playground provides… If you can’t guess I’m alluding to the machine, free weights, and free space training areas in a gym. Just like a playground you are supposed to be friendly and while making sure you get in your fun time you are also to be aware and accommodating of other people and not hog play structures or toys… or, you know, machines and equipment.

Here are some of the biggest pet peeves of gym-goers, use this as a list of things NOT to do…

Don’t be a creeper

In the words of Atmosphere “Wish they would keep their eyes to their self- already insecure, don’t need any help!” Although I’m sure this has happened to men, women are usually the victims of this act. Many men seem to think of the gym as a good place to look for a “hook-up”… you are wrong. Women, like men, go to the gym to work on their fitness, health, and wellness- not to be hit on and made to feel like they’re being preyed upon. It is disrespectful (see #2) and makes women feel extremely uncomfortable. If you truly feel that you want to get to know someone more, maybe ask if they might be interested in meeting for a coffee or lunch date, or even a gym date so you can get to know them on a personal level in a place where they feel comfortable so they don’t feel like a piece of meat.

Don’t interrupt someones set

Whether you’re a friend, a trainer or someone with a question, do not- I repeat DO NOT -interrupt someones set. This doesn’t just distract the person from where they are in their training session, but it can pull them out of their “training zone”, make them really annoyed with you, and can actually ruin their training session. The biggest reason to not interrupt: you could cause them to be startled or distracted thus performing their exercises incorrectly and potentially severely injuring themselves, and no one wants to carry that responsibility on their shoulders. Also- it’s very rude and disrespectful; It shows that you think their training time isn’t as important or valuable as yours. 

Enough with the grunting

Occasionally, on the last rep or two, when you really, really, really, really need to… go ahead and grunt. BUT DON’T DO IT EVERY SINGLE REP. We heard you, and we’re not impressed- we don’t care if you’re training for some competition and you’re lifting 2724387 Lbs (obvious exaggeration), this is a shared space an no one wants to hear your weird grunting. If you want attention, you’re getting it- but not in a good way. Guaranteed: you’re getting a ton of complaints at the front desk and soon you’ll be asked to “please keep your voice down, you are disturbing our other guests”. This isn’t your personal gym, so respect others around you and keep it down.

Wear Deodorant 

While going to the gym most people work hard and get sweaty- nothing wrong with that. But the smell… you’ve got to think about other people. No one wants to deep breathe-in your stench while trying to replenish oxygen to their bloodstream and muscles. Just wear deodorant- there are brands out there that are all-natural, non-GMO, and don’t contain ingredients that many find to be unhealthy for our bodies. Some people stink more than others, even if you wear deodorant your body odor can still seep though- which is ok… just as long as you have some deodorant on. Make the effort, we all really appreciate it.

Class Etiquette

Lots of gyms provide classes included in your membership that you can choose to participate in, and they are great ways to get in shape in a friendly and educational environment. It is important to always be on time, which usually means showing up about 5-10 minutes prior to the class start time. You want to make sure you allow yourself enough time to sign up for the class, drop your bag off in the locker room and use the restroom beforehand if you need to. The rudest thing you can do is show up to class late and disrupt the class with excess noise and talking- this is distracting to the teacher but also everyone else in the class. The teacher takes hours to plan classes and prepare to the program out of respect for those wish to take classes from them, it is only right that you respect your instructor and fellow classmates by being on time as well. Another etiquette lesson: do what the teacher instructs you to do unless of course, you have an injury that prevents you from doing so. Be sure to let your teacher know beforehand so they can give you an alternate, safe exercise. If you want to do your own training routine, don’t take the class, it is that simple.

Clean your space

Whether you’re just using a pair of dumbbells, or you’ve set yourself up with multiple barbells, kettlebells, a mat, a medicine ball, a bench, and a foam roller tidy up your space when you’re done. What that means: PUT EVERYTHING AWAY- WHERE IT BELONGS. You know how annoying it is to look for a pair of dumbbells where they should be only to find them in the completely wrong space in the rack, or not even on the rack at all! Just tidy up your space, there is no maid at the gym to put your things away for you, and no, it is not the employees of the gym jobs to put away your equipment. Clean your stuff – most gyms have a designated disinfectant spray and paper towels on hand for your convenience. Wipe everything down, put your mat away, re-rack your weights, and but your medicine ball in it’s designated spot. You expect the equipment to be there when you look for it, and others expect to find it where it ought to be after you’ve used it. Respect. 

Speaking of cleaning- CLEAN YOUR EQUIPMENT

When you’re finished using your equipment, clean it. No one wants to use a machine soaked in your sweat, and they certainly don’t want to clean it up for you. Not only should you be cleaning machines- could be treadmills or elliptical or even a squat rack, leg press, or cable machines- but you should also be cleaning the equipment you’ve used. This means wiping down the mat you used for ab work, stretching, or even yoga class. This means cleaning the dumbbell or barbell you used… anything you’ve touched you want to clean. Many people give a quick wipe down of equipment before and after they used it, to make sure they aren’t picking up any germs someone else may have left behind, and to make sure they don’t leave any nasty germs for the person using the equipment after you.

Don’t take up more space than you need

When your gym is packed full of people, you’re not going to be able to do sleigh runs. It can be a bit disappointing to not be able to perform the training exercises you’ve planned for the day… but you can always do something in place of the exercise you were planning that still activate the muscles targeted and doesn’t take up as much space. Example: planning walking lunges using a barbell, but there’s not a big enough area available in the gym? Just find a smaller, personal space and do alternating front and/or back lunges using a barbell or dumbbells. Be conscientious of the space available to everyone.

Don’t be an equipment hog

One of the biggest pet peeves people have is other people spending 5-10 minutes, sometimes more, sitting on a piece of equipment and not using it! Other people want to use the equipment. If you’re taking a phone call, get off the equipment and let someone else use it. If you need to take large rests in-between sets, get off the equipment. The only time it’s ok to sit on the equipment is if there aren’t many people in the gym and you’re confident no one is waiting to use it. Make the effort to be aware of your surroundings.

Get off the phone!

First off- no one wants to know about your life or hear your drama. Second- no one wants to wait for you to finish texting to get off of a piece of equipment so they can use it. Third- gym selfies are a thing now, and they can be really fun and motivating, especially when you get to see how far you’ve come! But… make sure you’re not blocking anyone who is using the mirrors for what they’re actually there for (keeping an eye on your form while you train). Also- just hurry up and take the selfie, this isn’t supermodel documentary hour, this is working your butt off and training so you can treat your body right hour, or as some like to call it “happy hour”. If you find yourself on the phone too much at the gym, try putting your phone on airplane mode- you can still listen to your music while limiting distractions like incoming calls, texts, or social media post notifications.

Mind the “buffer”

Simple: if there is one person on a treadmill and the entire rest of the row is vacant, don’t hop on the one right next to them. Leave at least one space between you and the other person- unless you really want to make that person feel uncomfortable. Obviously, if the gym is packed and there are slim pickings just grab what you can.

Pick your wardrobe carefully

While you may have a rockin’ six-pack, buns of steel, calves for days and enjoy showing it off, you ought to keep in mind how others may feel, including yourself. Sure, some people may be jealous or envious but most likely they’re offended by your lack of clothing, or really interested in your tailor-made physique. If you’re wearing micro-mini short-shorts and a sports bra you can expect to get a ton of different looks and vibes thrown your way. If you’re ok with that, you do you and have fun! Just remember… No matter how great of shape you’re in, no one is really interested in sitting on that same bench your bare butt cheeks were just on, or having to watch your short shorts ride even higher while you decide to squat right in front of their face. We love that you love yourself and are confident enough to be in your own skin… but keep in mind that you’re in a public space and not everyone wants to know every detail of your… business.

Don’t make fun of anyone

People come to the gym to improve their lives, and no one should have to suffer bullying or teasing for that. It doesn’t matter if someone is overweight, underweight, or in shape… for some people, it takes a lot of courage to even show up at the gym and walk on the treadmill due to poor self-image and self-esteem. If anything, the gym should be a place where people encourage one another and show respect for others working on themselves, no matter what part of the journey they’re on. A lot of people don’t know how to use the equipment correctly, and while it can be funny to see how some people think a leg press should work, offering to help the person and explain what equipment is used for is a much better way of going about it than laughing at them. Hey- you might even make a new gym friend! 

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