If you’re new to the gym, or not, there are a few things that you ought to know, some unspoken rules if you will, about gym etiquette and the do’s and don’ts when you workout.
We have listed a few rules down below, but in short, the list can be summed up in three:
- Be aware of yourself and your surroundings.
- Take care of the equipment you use.
- Be polite and non-judgemental to others.
Now without any further ado, let’s begin.
CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF
Do you want to work out with a piece of equipment dripping with someone else’s sweat on it? No, I’m sure you don’t. So, when you finish using equipment, be sure to wipe it down afterwards, with a towel at the very least. The next person will thank you for it.
SHARE YOUR KIT
If you bring your own equipment along to the gym, then that’s fine to keep it to yourself. However, if you’re using the gym facilities, then that equipment is public and free to be used by everyone in the gym. Don’t ‘claim’ pieces of equipment, just do your set and put them back for someone else to use.
DON’T HOG EQUIPMENT AREAS
You’re not the only one who wants to workout when you’re at the gym you know? Everyone else there wants to get a good session in as well. Knowing this incredible piece of information, don’t hog equipment areas. Move to a place that allows other people to use the space at the same time as you, or try to alternate and mix up your routine to allow some form of circulation. It is annoying when you can’t do your pre-planned workout routine, but do you know what’s even more annoying? Hoggers. Don’t be that guy.
RESPECT PERSONAL SPACE
If you see somebody in the zone, don’t hover too close waiting for them to get a move on, and don’t get all creepy and workout right next to them so you can feel their breath when they exhale. Respect each other’s personal space and let them concentrate on what they’re doing. If you get in their bubble you might distract them and might cause them to accidently harm themselves or others.
DON’T TAKE TOO MANY SELFIES (NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO BE IN YOUR PICTURE)
Progress pics are very well and good, and we actually recommend that you take pictures of yourself so you can look back on them to see how far you have come; it’s also fine to film yourself too, so you can see how good your form is when exercising. What is not okay is hogging up the gym mirror space in order to turn it into your own photoshoot area, or filming so that the whole gym becomes your film set. Please be respectful, not everyone wants to be in your photo album or your new film. Be sure to keep the frame solely focused on you and you only – please be respectful of people’s privacy. We don’t all want to be internet famous.
KEEP GOOD HYGIENE
If you’re wondering whether you can get away with wearing the same gym clothes again – don’t! We don’t want to smell your arrival. It’s like when you put on perfume or have a new body spray on, you can’t really smell it, but believe me, others can and this time it’s not the sort of attention you want. Wear the outfit once and once only before putting it in the wash. Remember you’re used to your own body smell, but others will be able to sniff you out before they even see you arrive. Have a couple of workout clothes to wear throughout the week, it will be a worthy investment for any gym-goer, and keep good hygiene before and after your gym session. You won’t regret it.
DON’T BE IN THE WAY
We know that the gym can be a busy place sometimes, and it might be hard to find room to do warm-ups, but please don’t get in the way of anyone when you decide to do your stretching routine in the main pathway. Keep the lanes clear so people can move about easier, and go to the proper location. This rule also applies to your stuff too. Make sure you keep it close to you, not only for security but also for safety. It could be a serious trip hazard if you leave it sprawled out everywhere.
DON’T CURL IN THE SQUAT RACK
This kind of leads on from the previous rule, but I’ve seen it happen far too often that it needs its own point. DO NOT curl in the squat rack. You don’t need to use the squat rack so don’t be in it. Someone else can be using that apparatus for some other exercise, you don’t need the rack for your curls, so get out of there and find an appropriate place to curl safely.
DON’T SIT AND SCROLL ON YOUR PHONE, USE THE EQUIPMENT
It’s okay to be on your phone to change music or to check a text or two when you are resting between sets, but please don’t hang about on your phone. You can go anywhere else and scroll on your phone, just not the gym. The gym is to workout, so either use the equipment or leave so someone else can.
DON’T DRINK OR EAT AT THE GYM
Please, don’t bring your whole breakfast, lunch or dinner to the gym. For one it will stink up the place which isn’t nice you’re not the one eating the food; and two, it can leave a mess of crumbs, waste and even spillage. The gym is not a restaurant, so please don’t treat it as such. The only exceptions to this rule are water and protein shakes, but that’s it. Eat before or after you go to the gym, but not during.
PUT EQUIPMENT BACK
Ever gone to the gym and wondered where all the dumbbells were? Well, the chances of them being used are fair, but the chances that they were left lying around somewhere, misplaced, are even higher. Not only is misplaced equipment annoying for anyone trying to find equipment to workout with, but it can also be a safety hazard if anything is left on the floor. Please, put the equipment back properly after you have used it. This doesn’t just mean putting the dumbbells on the floor next to the dumbbell rack, it means actually placing them back onto the storage rack where they belong.
Putting the equipment back also encompasses taking plates off the barbell and leaving the bar empty after you’ve used it. This is especially important if you are lifting heavy weights, some people aren’t strong enough to remove the weight left behind, so be considerate and tidy up after yourself.
DON’T DROP EQUIPMENT THAT ISN’T MEANT TO BE DROPPED
Fitness equipment is expensive so be careful when using it. Don’t drop things that ought not to be dropped as they can easily be damaged and might possibly break. The exception to this rule is bumper plates. Bumper plates have been specially designed with dropping in mind, so it’s okay to drop them. But still, be aware of your surroundings as best as you can and try to keep the droppings to a minimum.
BE FLEXIBLE IN YOUR ROUTINE, ESPECIALLY WHEN CROWDED
One of the downsides to going to a public gym is that it’s public. This means that everyone, with a membership, is allowed to use the facilities available, meaning that the equipment that you had intended to use for your routine might not be available. So instead of hovering around uncomfortably or continuously asking the current user when they will be done, be flexible and change your routine. This will not only save you time, but it can also give you an opportunity to mix things up and try new machines and exercises.
People are at the gym for many different reasons. Some want to improve their physical appearance, others to lose weight, some might be there to increase functionality and the list goes on. Everyone is one is on their own journey, some further along than others. Whatever you do, don’t judge people for being at the gym. Hey, they’ve actually made the effort to go. That’s an achievement in itself.
DON’T STARE (IF YOU CAN SEE THEM, THEY CAN SEE YOU IN THE MIRROR)
You also shouldn’t stare at people, whatever the reason – to criticise the way they use the equipment (leave it to the gym employees) or to admire their form, it just makes people self-conscious and uncomfortable. No matter how ‘discreet’ you look, I promise you the person that you’re staring at knows. Whether you’re innocently picking something up next to them or covertly checking them out in the mirror. They know. Case closed. Just be cool, do your own thing, mind people’s business and don’t be a creep. See, not that hard.
ASK IF THEY ARE USING THE EQUIPMENT, DON’T ASSUME THAT THEY’RE NOT
Do you know what it means when someone has their headphones on? It means: don’t talk to me. So, if you need to ask that person something, try not to, as it can distract them. Wait until it is clear that they have finished a set and then ask if they are finished using the equipment or not.
If they haven’t finished using the equipment, go and do something else don’t hover around. It’s awkward. Also, if you need something that is close by someone who is in the zone, wait until they have finished their set and placed their equipment down safely and then get whatever you need. If you dive on in without letting them know, you could shock or distract them which could lead to an injury for either of you.
CHAT IN YOUR OWN TIME
Finally, if you’ve just bumped into someone who you haven’t seen in a while or you’re chatting to your friend on the phone, don’t start a full-blown conversation in the middle of the gym for everyone to hear. Some of us have had the misfortune of forgetting our headphones and actually have to listen to the gym music, and we certainly don’t want to be listening to your gossip, no matter how intriguing it is. Wait to catch up or spill the tea when you’re out of the gym. Remember, people are there to focus and workout not listen to you talk.
And that’s it. Those are our top 17 gym etiquette rules. Follow these rules and you’ll be fine. If you’re having trouble remembering them all, it just comes down to the three rules listed at the top: Be aware of yourself and your surroundings; take care of the equipment you use; and be polite and non-judgemental to others. You might also what to check the rules at your gym too, they might have their own requirements. But, with that in mind, you’re all set to be a respectable person at the gym. Well done!