The Ultimate Guide To Gym Etiquette | Stephen Coleclough
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The Ultimate Guide To Gym Etiquette

The Ultimate Guide To Gym Etiquette

Spending time in the gym is one of best ways to improve your fitness.

You will have access to a wide variety of machines that are designed to target different muscle groups and improve your aerobic capacity.

However, stepping into a gym can be quite daunting for newcomers or anyone restarting their fitness program.

There will be many very fit and busy-looking people moving between machines in rapid succession.

You’ll also notice that people seem to abide by certain unwritten rules, which can make the gym feel like an unfriendly place.

This guide will take a closer look at gym etiquette and identify the written and unwritten rules that you should follow.

Understanding these rules will help you “fit in” at the gym and make some friends!

#1 – Wipe your sweat off any equipment you use

You probably already new this rule, but it is worth repeating.

Nothing will give you a bad reputation faster than not wiping your sweat off the equipment you use.

Take a large towel and remember to use it.

No one wants to walk up to a machine and find it covered in someone else bodily fluids!

#2 – Don’t use two pieces of equipment at once

This is another big no-no in most gyms.

Don’t monopolise multiple pieces of equipment.

You will annoy other people who are simply interested in getting their workout done.

If you really want to perform a circuit or a superset, schedule your workout for a time when the gym isn’t busy.

#3 – Don’t pressure other people to get off a machine

If someone is already using the machine you want to use, be patient and wait for them to finish.

Don’t stand over them or watch them intently.

It can be very intimidating or annoying to other gym-goers.

Instead, wait nearby or let them know you will jump on the machine after them.

You can even offer to lend a hand by spotting them, which is a great way to make new friends at the gym.

If they look like they will be on the machine for a while, lift some free weights or jump on another machine.

#4 – Re-rack your weights

Speaking of free weights, you should also re-rack all of your free weights after using them.

Leaving weights lying on the floor isn’t just messy, it can be a potential trip hazard for people in the gym.

Re-racking of weights will be appreciated by both the gym staff and other gym-goers!

#5 – Get off your phone

Everyone has had to take an important phone call while at the gym at some point.

If you receive a call, correct gym etiquette is to get out of earshot of other people.

Gym-goers really don’t want to hear you talking about work or what you will be eating for dinner when they are focussed on their workout.

#6 – Respect the headphones

If you see a person wearing headphones in a gym, that means they probably don’t want to have a conversation with you.

They are listening to music and concentrating on their workout.

They don’t want to be interrupted and taken out of their routine.

If you really need to communicate with a person wearing headphones, use non-verbal cues.

For example, if you need to ask them if they are still using a piece of equipment, just point to it.

#7 – You can reserve piece of equipment (for short periods)

Have you ever wondered why some pieces of equipment have a towel draped over them?

It’s usually because the person using it has briefly stepped away to get a drink or to use the restroom.

They will probably be back within a minute or so.

It is poor form to remove their towel and start using their machine.

However, if they aren’t back within 5 minutes, go for it!

#8 – Ask if you can “work in” with someone

Working in means sharing a piece of equipment with someone.

This can work well if two or more people are doing circuits involving multiple pieces of equipment.

They might not come back to the machine you are interested in for 4 or 5 minutes, which gives you plenty of time to use it.

Simply ask the person if you can work in.

They might say no if they will be back on the machine very soon or if they only have a few sets remaining.

#9 – Wear appropriate gym clothing

Wearing clothing that you find comfortable is important when going to the gym.

However, some thought should be given to the effect that your appearance has on others.

Avoid clothing that is extremely revealing or inappropriate for the exercises you will be performing.

If someone at the gym catches an unexpected glimpse of your genitals it could really ruin their day!

#10 – Don’t hog the mirrors

Surprisingly enough, gym mirrors aren’t just for checking your lipstick or the progress of your six pack abs.

The primary purpose of mirrors is to check your form while lifting weights.

If someone is standing in front of a mirror as they lift, don’t block their view by walking in front of them.

#11 – Give other people breathing room

Exercising around strangers can be a little off-putting to some people.

When you can, avoid putting yourself in the way of other people or invading their personal space.

If there are a row of machines available, don’t pick the one next to a guy who is already working out.

When you are in the change rooms, don’t spread your personal possessions all around the place.

Give other people at the gym some breathing room!

We hope you enjoyed reading The Ultimate Guide to Gym Etiquette.

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Stephen Coleclough
Stephen Coleclough

Stephen Coleclough is a personal trainer and online fitness/nutrition coach from the UK. He loves heavy squats, smashing PRs and bacon sandwiches. You can follow him on Twitter at ColecloughPT.

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