Gym Etiquette 101

Ok, it’s rant time, so buckle down, people. As a personal trainer, I have naturally spent a fair amount of time in gyms. Enough time to observe some seriously gross and obnoxious behaviors. What follows is a list of dos and don’ts if you want your fellow gym-goers and the gym staff to think you are a decent human being.

  1. Wear clean clothes. This may sound obvious, but check that your detergent actually removed the body odor from the last workout. If you notice people shying away from you as soon as you break a sweat, you might be stinky. 
     
  2. Use the lockers. They are there for a reason. Do not leave your bag on the floor, in the corner, or drag it around the gym with you. It creates a tripping hazard and someone might mistake your backpack for a bomb. You’ll be pretty unpopular around the gym if everyone has to evacuate because you were too lazy to lock away your stuff.
     
  3. Pay attention to your surroundings. Nothing breeds enemies in a gym more quickly than stealing equipment. Be mindful that an empty machine might be part of someone's superset. If in doubt, ask politely, “Hey, are you using this? Can I work in?”
     
  4. When you’re the one doing supersets, share. When someone asks if he or she can work in, the only acceptable scenario in which it is okay to say “no” is if you have one more set to go. Other than that, don't be a baby. 
     
  5. Similarly, if you're doing straight sets, share. If you're browsing Facebook during your two-minute rest, don't cop an attitude with someone who politely asks to work in.
     
  6. Don't change the attachment. If you're sharing, chances are you're not using the same resistance. Changing the pin is quick and easy. However, changing the grip on a lat pull-down from wide to close grip, or reversing the pec deck to rear fly mode, means you're not really doing the same exercise and it's probably best to wait until the machine is free.
     
  7. Wipe down the machine when you're done. Most gyms offer some sort of disinfectant spray or wipe. They’re there for a reason.
     
  8. Re-rack your weights. Again due to the tripping hazard, but also because everybody likes to know where to find things when they need them. If you have to spend 15 minutes looking for the thing I last used, you'd be pretty frustrated.
     
  9. Respect that the gym is a business operation. If your trainer has to sign in as a guest at your gym to work with you, you need a new trainer. 
     
  10. Don't be Monica Seles. A little grunt of effort here and there is fine, but every single rep? BRO.
     
  11. Try to keep your belongings in a tight space while changing in the locker room. No, you do not need the entire bench to yourself. 
     
  12. Don't be creepy. Sometimes getting lost in meditative thought means we're accidentally staring at someone as they work out or, worse yet, are changing in the locker room. Don't. 
     
  13. Put your phone away.  Don't risk someone thinking you might be taking photos or videos. Besides, no one wants to hear about what happened at the club last Friday, or how you're so happy that the chick you hate at work finally got fired. 
     
  14. Clean up after yourself in the locker room. Yes, there is a cleaning crew, but their job is not to be your personal maid. 
     
  15. And last, for the love of all that is good and pure, do NOT use the hair dryer to dry anything but the hair on your head, lady/manscape in the steam room, or engage in activities that might also be done in the bedroom (yes, that is a problem gyms must deal with). 

There. Rant over. I hope this was entertaining if not educational. The big takeaway here is that we are all sharing the gym. Keep that in mind whenever you utilize the facilities.