For those of us that have been to the gym and continue to go gym etiquette is a real thing and it’s highly appreciated when people follow it. The gym is not your personal playground and it’s not a place you goof off when you visit as most people, especially the owners and managers, will not look kindly on those that do. Being one that enjoys going to gym whenever I get the chance I can’t help but wonder at the audacity of some people that feel the need to treat these places with such disrespect, but it happens.
With that said, let’s get into a few things that we would kind of expect and should be counted as good gym etiquette.
It’s not your personal space.
The gym isn’t your room and it’s not your personal haven, so you can’t do anything you want or leave stuff all over the place. This means you need to pick up your trash, mind the rules about shoes and shirts, and by all means rack your weights when you’re done with them. No one wants to come behind you and have to clean up after you. The chances are pretty good that your mom doesn’t work here, and even if she did she would probably tell you the same thing. Don’t treat the gym like your home, treat it like a business that deserves your respect and your attention when it comes to picking up after yourself.
Don’t be a gym hog.
This generally means don’t hang out on or near the equipment even if you’re using it. Do your sets, let people work in if they ask politely, and then move on when you’re done. Too many people congregate around bench presses, squat racks, and various machines around the gym. This makes it hard if not impossible for others to get their workout in without having to wade through bodies to get to what they need. The gym can be a social place, but not around the equipment. When you’re in the weight room or anywhere that people are working out, do your best to stay out of the way and get your own workout done.
Take care of your personal hygiene.
No one wants to smell you coming. It’s one thing to get to the gym and start sweating. Some of us do it (guilty) and some of us make a mess. But if you show up to the gym smelling like you haven’t bathed in the last few days then you’re not only broadcasting that you’re a filthy individual, you’re offending those that came to get a workout in and now have to smell your funk in an enclosed space. You don’t care? Fine, the don’t bother coming in. The gym is a sweaty enough place with a variety of odors and doesn’t need someone that smells like week-old funk making it worse. Take a shower or at least put on some deodorant before coming to work out. People will be thankful you did.
Have some respect for others when you’re lifting.
There’s a couple of big ways you can do this. One is to not be a grunter. This means you don’t absolutely NEED to make noise when you’re lifting. We get it, it’s heavy, but we also don’t want to hear what it sounds like in the birthing room of a maternity ward with every rep. If that’s how tough it is to push that weight up then you might need to adjust how much you’re lifting, and possibly find yourself another pair of shorts if it gets really bad.
Another thing is to don’t simply drop equipment. It’s an aggressive, macho thing, we understand. But there’s a big difference between doing this at home and doing it in a gym. For one, there’s no telling how much damage you could do to the equipment in a gym, two, it’s highly disrespectful to the establishment, and three, it just makes you look like an arrogant jerk to be honest.
Lastly, don’t ever shame anyone that comes to the gym.
Don’t smirk at a bigger person, don’t make comments behind their back, and certainly don’t stare and point at them as you whisper cowardly to your friends about how fat they really are. They’re there to make a difference in their lives and quite honestly they probably have enough issues with their body image without you piling them on. Plus, not all of us can spend hours a day at the gym trying to make our muscles pop out and look pretty, so what little time we do get is what we use to try and better ourselves. So do yourself and everyone else that comes to the gym a huge favor: don’t judge them, because it says more about your insecurities than it will ever say about theirs.
The gym is for everyone to use, if you can’t be polite and follow etiquette then it’s probably better that you stay home and invest in a Soloflex.