We’ve all been in the gym and know what it's like when people are sneezing all over the equipment or talking really loud on their cell phones. Point blank - it’s not fun. Or polite. Or sanitary.
For many new gym goers, the less than obvious unspoken rules, or “gym etiquette” may not be so obvious, and how are we supposed to blame them if they are not told? Whether you’re a gym veteran or a novice to the gym, it’s always important to stay mindful of the space and people around you while getting your sweat on.
Below I highlight the top 10 rules of proper gym etiquette and ones you should practice in order to not be that... well... ya know.
1. Practice sanitation principles on all gym equipment. AKA wipe the equipment down when you are done with it!
Whether you leave an obvious sweat stain or not, this is just a common courtesy when moseying your way around the gym floor or making your transition to different equipment between sets. Despite if you will be returning to the machine or not, wipe it down if you walk away from it.
2. Allow others to work in with you!
If someone asks to work in with you between sets, it’s common courtesy to say yes. It’s not cool or polite to sit at the Lat pulldown machine and hog it for 5 minutes while you sit there reading the newspaper or checking your phone. Allowing people to work in with you is a common practice of having good gym etiquette. As long as the machine and weights aren’t changing drastically, it really isn't that big of a deal. Also, if you and this stranger are in deed going back in forth between sets, it’s a nice gesture to stack their weights back for them. You’ll usually find they will reciprocate the gesture each time they get up to let you work in. Remember, kindness is contagious.
3. Practice good self hygiene
I’m a firm believer in proper hygiene and I don’t judge people if they choose not to wear deodorant. I understand the reasoning behind the safety issues with all the chemicals in them and how bad they are for us. However, there is a certain threshold of smell and if you surpass it...well I’m sorry but please get the hell out and go shower! There’s body odor when you get close to someone, which is usually manageable and then there is other odor that makes you want to faint and/or puke at the same time. Also, please, please, PLEASE do not workout in dirty clothes! I mean clothes that you already worked out in. This is a recipe for disaster and although you may think you can get away with it when you initially put them back on from yesterday's cardio session, I promise you as soon as you start sweating again you might as well hit the entire gym with a new epidemic of the bubonic plague because you may ransack the entire gym floor. So just be mindful of your smell and keep your BO under some control.
4. Keep your cell phone convos to a minimal and stop talking so damn loud
This isn’t social hour or the time to catch up with your mom or girlfriend. We’re all here to grind and lots of us use this as therapy. We don’t care about your personal life and issues. We have our own shit and this is our escape from it. So check your personal convo’s at the door.
5. Rerack your weights. ReRack your weights. Re-rack your weights
Need I say more? My theory is I don’t come to your office and leave shit everywhere. Why would you do the same in the gym? Some of us actually work here and have to clean up after your mess. You may not realize or think people notice but they do. It’s not cool to put heavy weights on a machine or carry DB’s over to a small secluded area just to leave them there. Someone eventually does have to put it back or some older woman will want to use that machine after you. Do you think she has enough strength to take your 45lb weight plates off of that leg press? Don’t be that guy/girl.
6. Be mindful of the space you are taking up- especially during prime time
Prime time hours are usually early in the morning before people head to work and evening hours when people get out of work. The gym gets busy and there is absolutely no reason why you need to be hogging the squat rack to do lunges holding DB’s or using it to do bicep curls with the 45lb bar. There is a limited amount of specific equipment- be mindful of staying practical and aware of space you may be unnecessarily taking up.
7. Please don’t come to the gym sick
I get you want to “sweat it out” and that’s all good if you have your own private gym. If you are sick and sneezing, have a runny nose or are coughing up a lung, going to your public gym and spreading your germs everywhere is selfish and dumb. Some of us have to touch those weights after you. If you are showing obvious symptoms of being sick, do everyone a favor and stay home.
8. No need for the access moaning and grunting
Seriously, some of us don’t have headphones loud enough to zone out your bedroom noises and this goes for ladies too- I’m so happy you are pushing yourself to the limit and grinding your butt off- but there's a certain level of noise and a certain grunt or moan that just becomes a bit too much. If I close my eyes and feel like I could be listening to a live porn, we have a problem.
9. Don’t. Slam. The. Weights.
Unless you are in bro-nation aka Bev Francis gym with other juicy juice heads, this is not the place to slam your weights down and cause a scene. I get that their heavy but, bro, there’s a time and place. There are airex pads you can put under you to alleviate the slamming if you do indeed need to drop the weights.
10. The locker room is not your private bathroom
So please don’t shave your you know what on the sink counter or in the steam room, do not leave your towels everywhere, or take up the entire row of benches when getting dressed at the lockers.
Practice these 10 tips and you’ll be good to go in any gym, and read more workout tips on my blog.