Gym Etiquette: 9 Things to Consider When Working Out

Proper Gym Etiquette
02 May

Last Updated on May 21, 2023 by Michael Brockbank

Now that I’ve been going back to the gym, it’s apparent that a lot of people don’t care about etiquette. Of course, this is true with just about anything in life when you think about it. Still, it would be awesome if people would have some class when going to the gym.

No, this isn’t going to be purely one of my rants. However, I would like to point out a few things you should be doing when going to any facility.

Think about it; if you’re paying for a monthly membership, wouldn’t you want to have a good experience?

Proper Gym Etiquette and Why it Matters - Fitness in Theory Ep 30

How to Go About Proper Gym Etiquette

A lot of etiquette for the gym is common sense. However, not everyone seems to practice the same sense of class and style. Especially when it comes to men.

Perhaps it’s the level of testosterone in the air.

You can pretty much sum up the entirety of gym etiquette with one simple phrase: “don’t be a douche.”

1. Don’t Bring Dumbbells to the Weight Machines

Weight machines are nice. Yet, not every gym carries an adequate number to accommodate those who want to use them. Every one needs to wait their turn.

So when you bring dumbbells to the fly machine so you can work on your biceps in between sets, you look like an asshole.

Don’t tie the machines up longer than necessary. The equipment is there for everyone to use.

2. Clean the Machines When You’re Done

It’s common courtesy to clean the machines when you’re done using them. Most gyms have cleaning supplies nearby for that very purpose.

Not only does someone not want to get your sweat on their body during a workout, but it’s incredibly unhygienic.

In fact, it’s quite possible to catch various infections at the gym. So, be kind and wipe down the equipment after every use. Even if you don’t sweat, you can still pass on a lot of different germs.

3. Don’t Reserve Machines with Your Stuff and Then Go for a Walk

One thing that drives me nuts is when someone puts all of their stuff on a weight machine to “reserve” it and then walks around the gym.

I get that sometimes you need to cool down or work out strenuous muscles in between sets. But tying up the equipment for 20 minutes after your 12-rep set is ridiculous.

It’s a gym, not a fine-dining hall. Use the equipment or let someone else.

4. Keep Off of Social Media When on a Machine

Today, I watched a guy scroll through TikTok for 10 minutes after doing 8 reps on the bicep curls. In fact, I did all three sets of the tricep pushdown and he was still watching videos when I went to my next exercise.

As I said earlier, wasting time sitting at the machine is taking it away from someone else who may want to use it. TikTok can wait until you’re done.

And if you want to film yourself working out, make sure you’re not including others in your show. Not everyone wants to be on your Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter feed.

5. Don’t Hit on Someone When They’re Working Out

We’ve debated this a couple of times on my Monday night live streams. Going to the gym should be about the gains, not the girls.

Sure, a lot of them are nice to look at. But most are there to exercise, not catch the passes you’re throwin’.

Wait until he or she is walking out the door before approaching. Some of us are on time constraints and don’t have much to spare for chit-chat because you’re horny.

6. Don’t Assault Someone with Body Odor

When you’re on a treadmill, the last thing you want is for someone to use the unit next to you who smells like burnt oil grease from McDonald’s. Unfortunately, this happens more often than you might think.

Yes, it’s common for people to work up a sweat, and depending on their physiology, the aroma can be quite potent. But there are these things you can buy from the store that are relatively cheap called deodorant sticks.

Your significant other might appreciate your natural odors, but the rest of us would rather not experience such things.

7. Give Others Room and Personal Space

Personal space is one of those things that help everyone feel more comfortable regardless of location. Not only that, but it can also help alleviate the odor point I just covered.

The gym is not a mosh pit, and you should give others the courtesy of not sitting in their lap when they’re trying to work out.

This includes hovering over someone who is using a piece of gym equipment, such as a machine or a set of dumbbells. No one wants to be rushed to perform strenuous activities, including yourself, right?

8. Don’t Stare at Others When They’re Working Out

A lot of us learned this as kids, but it seems quite a few missed those days in school. Don’t stare at someone who is working out, even if they’re the most attractive person you’ve ever laid eyes on.

For one, it’s creepy as hell. Secondly, most people are going to the gym to exercise. It’s not a spawning pool.

Now, sometimes, innocent flirtations and such happen while at the gym. You might even get a phone number or two. What I’m talking about is that creepy, lingering glare or video recording someone’s movements so you have masturbatory material for that night.

You can toss a glance, just be respectful of boundaries.

9. Keep Opinions to Yourself Unless Asked

If you see someone using a machine incorrectly, mind your own business. Unless someone asks you for help directly, you have no idea what that individual is trying to accomplish. From his or her point of view, they could be right on target.

Your workout is your workout. What someone else is doing does not impact you in the slightest. There’s no need to involve yourself or through making fun of someone who is doing what he or she thinks is correct.

Everyone is on their own fitness journey. And part of proper gym etiquette is realizing that point. As long as someone isn’t in dire need of assistance or performing something that is overtly dangerous to themselves and others, focus on your own gains.

Why Worry About Gym Etiquette?

A lot of people are already intimidated by going to the gym. By practicing proper etiquette, you can help those people feel more at peace, which may be one of the most helpful things you could actually do.

And the more aware you are of others, the greater the experience.

Think about it this way; do you want to be the one on the treadmill being assaulted by an overwhelmingly bad odor from the guy next to you? Then do what you can to not be that guy.

I guess all of this can be wrapped up in the adage, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” It’s a pretty golden rule for just about any of life’s situations.

How Well Do You Practice Proper Gym Etiquette?

Personally, I’ll shower, put on deodorant, and splash on a bit of cologne before even leaving the house. Then, I put on my headset and focus on my own routines.

It also helps that most of the girls at my local gym are in their early 20s, which is WAY too young for me to even show interest.

In any case, I do what I can to ensure my workout doesn’t intrude on anyone else’s routines.

It’s all about respecting others and boundaries. After all, no one goes out of their way to have a terrible experience at the gym. Be respectful and everyone can enjoy the venture.

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