Gym Etiquette

April 30, 2014

By: Lacey Thacker

The gym, like any other public place, has a set of written and unwritten rules. Like all forms of etiquette, these exist to make everyone comfortable.  Below are a few ways we can work to make our time at the gym as pleasant as possible:

Cleanliness:

  • Ever wonder why there are random cleaning supplies sitting around the gym? Most will have a station or two with paper towels and a spray bottle of cleaner. Between each station you use, you are expected to spray down a paper towel and wipe the equipment.
  • For another buffer between yourself and other’s perspiration, it’s also acceptable to bring your own towel, or use one provided, to sit on at each seated station.

Cardio Etiquette

  • Some gyms have rules clearly posted about the length of time allowed for cardio machines. These gyms are typically the busier ones; so don’t look for it everywhere. If there are no rules posted, and you notice people waiting around for equipment, it’s considered polite to limit your time to thirty minutes or less.

Weight Etiquette

  • Do not drop weights. It can damage the equipment, and the sound is quite loud.
  • Don’t monopolize equipment. If you’re doing hard sets, of course, take a minute or two between each one—then put your weights back, or clean your machine, and leave it for the next person.
  • If the gym is very busy, and there’s a line for the machine you are using, consider letting someone else use it while you recover. Taking turns at sets is a great reason to bring a partner to the gym.

General Etiquette

  • There’s nothing wrong with talking between sets, but try to keep it to a minimum. If you find you are involved in a serious discussion, it might be best to go out to the lobby. People trying to work out can be easily distracted by non-workout-related conversations.
  • When you choose to engage in a conversation, engage with those you know. Don’t assume the girl on the treadmill next to yours came to the gym to have social hour.
  • It’s important to breathe correctly when working out, and sometimes that will come with a grunt. It’s natural—but try not to call in the wild with your exhale.
  • If you are in great shape, it’s absolutely something to be proud of. If a conversation arises, and it’s appropriate, disclosing your max-lift weights is reasonable. But many people are not concerned with how much weight you lifted last night, and it may, in fact, make them uncomfortable—so answer questions, but save bragging for a more private conversation.

Some people are in great shape, others are at the beginning of their fitness journey; while everyone puts on a brave face, you never know what effort it took to walk in the door that day. Following these few rules, based in general politeness, will help everyone have a great workout and think positively of the gym.