What is Proper Gym Etiquette (or Gymtiquette)?

what is proper gym etiquette?

 

It’s January and the gym is crowded with new year’s resolutioners who have either just joined or are actually using their gym memberships now. I get so pumped when people invest in their physical fitness and are putting in the time. It’s so important to take care of ones health. However, it is also important to make sure you’re abiding by the rules so that everyone can get their pump on as seamlessly as possible. So what is proper gym etiquette or gymtiquette (say that 10 times fast!)? Some gym etiquette rules are common sense and others are just ones that you don’t learn until you’ve been there for awhile. So what’s a newbie to do when they don’t know the rules that long-time gym members abide by? They check out Buddha Belly! Keep reading for the deets!

Now gym etiquette changes from gym to gym so you have to pay attention to the culture of your surroundings, but the below rules are typical of most gyms.



Proper Gym Etiquette

 

Rerack those weights. I am not your mother and I don’t want to clean up after you. If you take free weights out put them back in their spots. If you rack a barbell on the squat machine or chest press make sure to take them all off. Not only do I not want to waste my precious workout time taking these weights off sometimes I literally can’t because they’re too heavy for me. People don’t want to spend time searching around for the 10 lbs dumbbell you forgot to put back and if you are a constant perpetrator of this you will eventually be recognized as such. That’s not the kind of reputation you want to spread.

Don’t hit on people at the gym. Now this is probably going to be a controversial rule with some of my readers so just wait a second before forming an opinion. Sometimes there is a time and place for flirting with people at the gym and what better place to find like-minded individuals to date than where you spend a great deal of your time? I’m totally with you on that. The behavior that I’m talking about is men and women who pester another individual who is very obviously just there to workout. If you hop up next to the cardio bunny on the treadmills and start speaking to her and she answers politely and goes to put back in her earbud leave her alone. Make sure you are taking cues that gym goers are sending and if they seem to want to be left alone then let them finish their workout in peace.

If you’re sick stay at home. If you have a respiratory infection or anything else that’s inhibiting your breathing you shouldn’t be working out anyways, but if you’re sick stay at home and do some body weight workout stuff. I know it can feel super shitty to be off your workout schedule, but don’t come to the gym sick and infect everyone else like a zombie plague. Even if you don’t look sick, but you feel sick keep your booty at home because karma is a thing.

Ask questions. If you don’t know if someone is using a machine or not just ask. If you don’t know how to use a piece of equipment take advantage of the free training session most gyms offer. Don’t be afraid to look like a newbie because we’ve all been there and most people will help you out.

Let people work in with you. If you’re on a machine and someone else needs to use it let them work in with you. That means allowing them to work between your sets and you work between theirs. It lets you both complete your scheduled workouts, you wouldn’t be on it at the time anyways and you may make a new gym friend! That being said if someone is already working in with someone else and there’s two people already to the equipment don’t ask to join in. That will end up taking way too much time and cut into their sets. Go find another piece of machinery that will work the same muscle group or find something else to do while you’re waiting.

Wipe down the machines. I really don’t care if people aren’t sweating and don’t wipe down the machines, but I know a lot of people do. However, if you’re sweating and you use a piece of equipment just take 2 minutes to wipe it down for the next person. It’s courteous and doesn’t take a lot of time. No one wants to sit down at a machine only to feel someone else’s sweat on their back. Gross. 

 

Gym etiquette

Don’t take up a ton of space. It’s fine to set up your own little section where you’re lifting weights, doing core work, etc., but don’t spread out more than you have to. It’s a communal area that you’re all sharing and you wouldn’t want someone else to leave you with no space so don’t do it to other people.

Don’t crowd other people. This one is piggybacking off of the above rule, but don’t crowd someone else. If someone has their own area set up and isn’t taking up a huge amount of space then wait until there’s more space or find somewhere else to go. It’s super annoying when you’re trying to plank and you have someone breathing down your neck and doing kettlebell swings right by your head. If they are taking up a ton of space kindly ask them if they could move over a bit to make space for you.

Don’t set up in front of someone who’s using the mirror. If someone is within a couple feet from being in front of the mirror and are obviously using it to check their form do not set up in front of them. Form is important. If they don’t seem like they are using the mirror and you need it just ask them nicely if they’re using it. I know it can be awkward to talk to strangers for some people, but it’s going to be a lot more awkward if you piss off the guy who can squat 400 lbs.

Use your headphones. Everyone has different musical tastes and even if I like the music you’re listening to I want to listen to my own. The gym is no place for you to bring your portable speakers or play your music from your cell phone without headphones. This is my number one pet peeve. I’m trying to be nerdy, damnit, and listen to my audiobook and if all I can hear is your Lady Gaga it’s going to be a rough time for you. Now we all know Lady Gaga is queen, but my point still stands.

 

proper gym etiquette

Don’t have extended phone conversations. The above goes for this as well, I don’t want to hear an hour long conversation with your mother while I’m stuck on the stairmaster next to you. Everyone needs to take a quick call now and then, but the gym really isn’t the place to chat on the phone. You are usually being louder than you realize and I don’t care about how evil Chris was and how he gave you an STD (true story).

Don’t hog machines. Everyone needs to get their workouts done. Take rests your allotted rest times, but please don’t just sit on a machine texting for half an hour.

Don’t take all the weights, bands, balls, etc. Circuit training is a fantastic workout. It allows you to strength train and get some cardio in because it keeps your heart rate up, but it can take a lot of equipment. If you need to do some circuit training then go to a class or make sure it’s on a day/time when it’s less busy. When there’s only two sets of 15 lbs dumbbells it’s really frustrating when someone takes them, along with the 10’s and the 5’s and they don’t come back for an hour. Circuit training also usually takes up a ton of space which is another reason it should be done at less busy times.

Have fun! I know I sound like a cranky, gym monster who hasn’t had enough coffee (or perhaps too much preworkout) and a lot of these seem common knowledge, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t know proper gym etiquette. Most of all though you should be having fun because the workouts that are fun are the ones that keep you working out and that is the most important thing.

 



I hope you like my tips on proper gym etiquette.  Anything that you think I missed and should be added to the list? Let me know by sounding out below and make sure to share with your friends. Also,  check out my posts on why compound lifts are the bee’s knees and what accessory lifts are and why you should be doing them right now!

41 Comments

  1. Laura
    January 24, 2018 / 3:29 am

    I don’t go to the gym a lot anymore, but I used to hate it when I went to use machines and people hadn’t wiped it down. Nothing worse then wanting to ride a bike but it’s still covered in sweat!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      January 31, 2018 / 4:07 am

      I feel ya. I’ve been hitting up my apartment gym lately just because with my chronic pain it makes gym pass not really worth it at the moment. I definitely don’t miss that part, but I do miss being in the gym!

  2. January 24, 2018 / 4:01 am

    This is my pet peeve! If you’re sick, don’t spread the love! Snot and then touching weights and machines grosses me out!

  3. January 24, 2018 / 8:34 am

    My pet hate was when the equipment wasn’t wiped down nothing worse.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      January 24, 2018 / 3:20 pm

      Haha, yeah, the idea of someone else’s sweat on me is super gross. I feel ya.

  4. January 24, 2018 / 2:28 pm

    Thank you for this! I can’t tell you how much it annoys me when people leave the equipment sweaty or they don’t place weights where they found them .

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      January 24, 2018 / 3:20 pm

      Haha, you’re so welcome! I’m right there with you.

  5. Jane
    January 24, 2018 / 7:01 pm

    Amen to no flirting at the gym! There is a place for that, can we all just workout and go home, please? And please could you wipe off your sweat on the machine before you leave?

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      January 24, 2018 / 10:48 pm

      Preach!

  6. January 24, 2018 / 7:38 pm

    Yes!! I think this should be made into a poster and place in every gym!!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      January 24, 2018 / 10:48 pm

      Haha, in my dreams! That would be awesome 🙂

  7. January 24, 2018 / 8:48 pm

    Great post. Thanks for the tips! Especially the one about staying home if you’re sick!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      January 24, 2018 / 10:47 pm

      You’re very welcome. Thanks for reading!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      January 25, 2018 / 3:09 pm

      I know, right!? Hopefully it’s helpful for those that don’t know better.

  8. January 25, 2018 / 10:46 pm

    When I go to yoga, I am one of the few people who wipe down the yoga blocks. It kind of grosses me out to know that when I pick up my blocks, someone probably did not wipe them down:(

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      January 26, 2018 / 2:51 pm

      Ewwwwww, I didn’t even think of that! I know for a fact that my yoga studio wipes them down each evening, but a ton of people use them in between. I’m definitely wiping my down before and after now!

  9. January 26, 2018 / 4:31 am

    Yes! I wish everyone knew this. There’s so many people at the gym who need these reminders.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      January 26, 2018 / 2:52 pm

      Yeah, and you don’t want to be that asshat who’s like “please stop being rude”.

  10. January 26, 2018 / 4:39 am

    I feel like these are essentials that need to be posted at every gym! The worst is when someone uses a machine for way too long !!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      January 26, 2018 / 2:50 pm

      Yeah, it really messes with your routine and timeline. It’s very frustrating. I’ll just secretly print some out and post them all over my apartment gym, haha!

  11. January 26, 2018 / 7:11 pm

    These are great tips! I didn’t think about letting someone use a machine in between my sets and me between theirs. Thank you!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      January 26, 2018 / 8:43 pm

      You’re very welcome. I’m glad I could bring up something new!

  12. January 27, 2018 / 9:57 am

    We all need posts like this. It is important to have gym etiquette or even etiquette in general. Thanks for sharing

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      January 28, 2018 / 8:25 pm

      Thanks so much. Much agreed!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      January 28, 2018 / 8:24 pm

      Thank so much!

  13. January 28, 2018 / 12:11 pm

    A bunch of these are actually good practices in life period. For example, when you are sick, please stay home. At the gym, at work, at the grocery store, at school — just stay home. Courtesy for others in so many areas could make for a happier, healthier world. 🙂

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      January 29, 2018 / 4:51 pm

      Great point! I’m totally with you on that.

  14. January 30, 2018 / 3:57 pm

    Love that you’re talking about gym etiquette! I have been weight lifting for 15 years now and I always see people doing completely the opposite. Ugh!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      January 30, 2018 / 4:52 pm

      Thank you! It is so frustrating because I don’t want to be mean, but I also want to get my workout done in relative peace.

  15. February 2, 2018 / 2:43 pm

    I only work out from home now, but when I did go to various gyms…wow, I can relate to every one of these “gymtiquette” rules, because I saw people breaking every one of them! Very well said.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      February 2, 2018 / 6:05 pm

      Haha, I know right! They need like gym security guards except it’s to stop people from leaving treadmills all sweaty and dumbbells all over the place.

  16. February 4, 2018 / 5:54 pm

    I get so angry when people hog the weights or when people stare at you doing weights or exercising! So unnerving.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      February 4, 2018 / 10:22 pm

      The staring thing is just so weird. If they want to work in or need to use something please just come over and ask. I’m more than happy to share! As far as the hogging goes, I absolutely adore circuit training, but there is a time and place for that. If I want to incorporate circuit training into my workouts I make sure to do it when I know it’s going to cause the least convenience.

      Just yesterday at my apartment gym a younger kid moved right in front of me to watch himself to overhead presses while I was obviously trying to look at my form while doing deadlifts.

  17. February 5, 2018 / 8:08 am

    wiping down the machines makes a lot of sense – imagine lying on a bench press which has sweat on it from another user – gross!!!!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      February 5, 2018 / 3:04 pm

      Ew, that sends chills through me. No thank you!

  18. April 4, 2018 / 6:29 pm

    These are some great tips, which are so common yet so ignored. Using the machines and then not wiping them off for the next person really puts me off. These tips should be indeed framed and put in the gyms, these are the basic manners everyone should have.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      April 5, 2018 / 6:47 pm

      Yes, leftover sweat from others is so gross.

  19. May 23, 2018 / 6:06 am

    Those are absolutely great tips for gym etiquette. Everyone should learn and follow these manners. Using the machines and then just leaving it with full sweat on makes me really cringe all the time. And, that sweat small is totally awful. Thank you for your post. Hope it will teach some people how to behave at gym.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      May 26, 2018 / 5:35 pm

      Yup, it’s terrible. Thanks so much for reading!

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