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All about Gym Etiquette

Now is the time of year the “resolutioners” will start overtaking the gym.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to change yourself and get in better shape, but based on my past experience year after year, every January there’s a huge rush of people awkwardly flailing their limbs around on half stability balls, doing 10s of curls as fast as they can (then leaving the weights all over the floor), and those who leave a gallon of sweat on the equipment.  Come mid February, the crowds thin out and by March the gym is a ghost town.

Again, there’s is nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself or even deciding the gym isn’t for you, but if you are going to go to the gym, please have good gym etiquette by following this list I’ve put together.

Gym Etiquette 101 – Top 16

  1. Respect “the zone”
    • If someone is getting ready for a set, in the middle of a set, or wearing headphones, don’t bother them unless there’s a fire or emergency situation.
    • If you need to ask for a spot, wait until the person is finished with the set to interrupt.
  2. Respect the equipment
    • Even if you “only sweat a little”, when you’re done with any of the equipment please wipe it down with one of the gym-provided cloths or your own towel.
    • Don’t drop the weights unless its allowed by your gym.  By “allowed”, I mean unless a trainer, staff member, or sign specifically say “you may drop the weights”.
  3. Don’t hover
    • If someone in the gym didn’t get the memo about your appointment with the bench, don’t hover waiting for him/her to finish.  Continue with your other exercises and circle back to the equipment when its available.
  4. Be a team player
    • Unless you’re Ronnie Coleman maxing out the weights, which you’re probably not, when someone asks to work in with you, say yes.
  5. Re-rack EVERYTHING
    • This should be common sense, but unfortunately isn’t that common.  If you’re strong enough to pick up the weights in the first place, you’re strong enough to put them back where they belong.  If you’re not, ask the girls at the front desk and they’ll be happy to help you.
  6. Don’t gossip/Facebook/text
    • If you’re in the gym, you’re there to work.  Not to play games, watch Netflix, chat on the phone, gossip, text, take selfies, etc.  Everyone has things to do and places to be so don’t let yourself get distracted in between or during sets.  If you’re done, please move away from the equipment.  Oh, and if there’s a line forming by the water fountain where you’re standing, you should also move.
  7. It’s not a beauty contest
    • Despite how great you may look in your latest workout swag, the mirrors in the free weight area aren’t there for you to admire yourself.  They’re there for safety and form, so please don’t cross in front of someone mid-set if you can avoid it and definitely don’t use them to see how good you look today.  There are usually mirrors for posing and self-admiration in the locker rooms or a dedicated “posing room”.
  8. Be mindful at the drinking fountain
    • If you’re filling up a huge shaker bottle or gallon jug, it’s great that you’re trying to stay properly hydrated.  However, if there’s someone in line behind you waiting for a quick sip, please let them in before you keep filling.
  9. Don’t skip leg day
    • Just don’t do it.
  10. Don’t hog the weights
    • Circuit training is great, but the gym is a public place and can get crowded.  If there are a lot of people, don’t grab tons of equipment and take it off to a corner somewhere by yourself so you can do bicep curls in between bench in between your standing barbell press.
  11. Be kind, but not creepy
    • If someone smiles at you, it’s ok to smile back.  It’s not ok however to try new pickup lines on every woman (or man) at the gym.  We’re here to work, not to speed date.
  12. Ask for help
    • The trainers sitting behind the desk or wandering around are there to help.  Trust me, the gym wouldn’t be paying them to sit there if they didn’t serve a purpose.
    • It’s ok to ask fellow gym goers about how they do certain exercises ,or what they eat, etc. as long as you follow rule #1.
  13. Don’t wear denim
    • Not only do jeans prevent you from getting a full range of motion, but the denim fabric also wears the equipment down quickly.
  14. Use deodorant
    • Now, I have to clarify on this one.  Some people are sensitive to smells but none of us want to smell your B/O after an intense workout.  Please use underarm deodorant or even a light spray of cologne, but don’t take an Axe shower before your workout.
  15. Don’t solicit 
    • Don’t give unsolicited advice.
    • I know #10 may have been lost on some people so I’ll reiterate.  DON’T HIT ON FELLOW GYM GOERS, unless it’s a mutual attraction of course… even then, take it outside.
  16. Last but not least, be kind
    • We’re all in the gym to live healthier lifestyles so be kind and courteous to everyone in the gym.  Also remember that it’s not a competition so please leave your ego at the door.

If I missed any you feel should be on here, please let me know in the comments