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Gym Etiquette: 13 Faux Pas that Make You Look like an Asshole

A gym is just like any other place in society; it requires unspoken rules and norms. If you want to fit in, use these gym etiquette musts.

Gym Etiquette

There is a way to act at the gym, and then there is a way to make sure you no longer “belong.” A gym isn’t exactly like other social settings. You aren’t at a bar, or a meat market looking for your next meal. You are supposed to be at a gym to make yourself look better and increase your health, not to find a hot date for Friday.

13 rules for proper gym etiquette

There are specific rules to follow when you are at a gym, not only for the sake of your own embarrassment, but also for those around you. The key is to focus on you and not to be the center of attention.

If you want to join a bodybuilding contest, do so. But, don’t stand in the front of the mirror blocking everyone to show your goods off. That is just bad manners. These are the gym etiquette rules, and like them or not, if you don’t follow them no one will like you!

#1 Don’t gawk. There is nothing worse than someone ogling you as you sweat and try to work off some steam. You aren’t a construction worker, and even if they are that hot, staring them up and down isn’t going to win you a date.

Put the tongue back in your mouth and save it for the bars. Not everyone in tight pants is wearing them to put their goods on display; they are just easier to move around in. [Read: 10 types of creepy guys all girls avoid talking to]

#2 Don’t get too close. If you join a class, don’t sit uncomfortably close to someone else. A yoga or Pilates class is like entering an elevator. Don’t plop your mat right down next to someone when space is wide open. It feels like an invasion of privacy, and it can end up ruining everyone’s chi energy. Walk in, take a look around, and find your own corner of the earth.

#3 Use a towel. This is a huge part of gym etiquette. No one likes to get hit with someone else’s sweat. Hey, I get it. I am by nature a pretty sweaty creature. And, when I hit the gym, it can get pretty gross. That is why I never hit the treadmill which is right next to someone else without bringing a towel.

Gyms are supposed to be full of sweat, but that doesn’t give you license to let it fly all over the place without at least bringing protection.

#4 Wipe down your equipment. There is nothing worse than watching someone get off a machine filled with sweat and walk off without wiping the machine down.

Tantamount to watching someone come out of the bathroom without washing their hands, it is not only not nice, it is downright selfish. There is a reason they put out disinfectant wipes… use them, please.

#5 Wear the minimum please. You may not think of this as gym etiquette, but it is. I am saying this across the board so as not to offend anyone. I don’t care if you are a size 2 or a size 42, wear something appropriate, please. Just because gym clothes are allowed to be a little tight-fitting, that doesn’t mean that we want to see skin exposed everywhere and your bigger places sticking out where they shouldn’t be.

For the decency of us all, choose something appropriate. If you wouldn’t want your mom or dad to see you in it, keep it for home use. [Read: 25 inspirational tips to get motivated to work out]

#6 Don’t hog the machines. Yes, this is for you Ms. Four-Hour Stair Master. You would think that this is obvious gym etiquette, but it’s not. If there is only one stair master, then follow the rules and don’t monopolize it for more than the allotted time.

There is nothing worse than showing up at the gym with only an hour to spare and finding that someone else is going to hog the only machine you came to use. If there is a max time, don’t go over it.

#7 Put your weights away. We all learned in preschool that when we take toys out, we are supposed to put them away. Well, I say that liberally. I guess not all of us did learn the rule. If you take out an exercise band, a stability or medicine ball, or a free weight, then return it where it belongs.

Not only is it unsafe to leave things just lying around, but it is also flat-out rude. The other members aren’t getting paid for cleaning up after you.

#8 We don’t want to hear your nonsense. If you go to the gym with someone else, please remember that not everyone cares that Susie was a bitch at work. Talk at the gym is alright, but be considerate of others. They don’t want to be involved in your conversation, so use your inside voice please. [Read: 12 benefits of exercise on your mind, body and libido]

#9 Wear a towel. When you hit the locker room, the hot tub, or the sauna, it isn’t an exhibitionist show. I know that some women are totally okay with letting it all hang out. But, unfortunately, we all aren’t.

No one really wants to see you naked unless you are centerfold-hot, and even then, not unless we pay or ask for it. If you are going to hit the showers, please do so with something on other than your naked skin.

#10 Grunting should be kept to a minimum. Okay, we all get it, lifting as much as your body weight isn’t as easy as it looks *not that it looks easy*, but we don’t need sound effects.

When you make all sorts of noises and ridiculous movements, or pace around the club like you are something to behold, the rest of us wish that you would just sit down and be quiet. We get it; you are pumped up, but your insistence on making us all listen to it doesn’t impress us.

#11 Don’t try to talk to someone who isn’t interested. It isn’t that some people aren’t at the gym to make new friends, but there are some of us who are there for nothing more than the gym machines. Like being on a plane, if you are sitting next to someone who seems like they would rather just sit and watch the movie, then leave them alone.

A gym is a place where some people go to find solace and introverted-ness. Just because you want to be Chatty Cathy doesn’t mean that everyone else is on board.

#12 Wait your turn. If there is some sort of circuit, then stick with it. It’s gym etiquette 101. No one likes someone who cuts in line. If all you want to do is work your traps, I get it, but that doesn’t mean that you get to bypass everyone and insert yourself.

A circuit is a circuit for a reason. If you don’t want to join the circus, find another gym that is more your speed. Circuit training gyms are like golfing. You have to wait patiently for the golf club cart ahead of you, even if she is 80.

#13 No cell phones in the locker room. When you are at a gym, you can use your cell phone in the locker room, just do so with caution. There have been so many shaming incidents in the past that people are wary when you pull out your cell phone when they may be clothing-compromised.

Also, stop texting and holding everyone up while waiting for a machine, and, for goodness sake, if you are going to talk on your cell phone, just like having a friend there, don’t assume that we want to hear your conversation.

There is nothing more unnerving than someone talking on their cell phone next to you when you think they are talking to you or asking them a question. The whole thing is very distracting. Save the mobile for the car ride… wait, don’t text and drive either.

Everyone joins a gym for different reasons, but if you assume that the reason you did is the same as the person next to you, you are probably making a big mistake.

[Read: The first day and kinds of hilarious people you’ll see at the gym]

Just like you have to follow the rules when you live in an apartment building, there are ways you need to act for proper gym etiquette. So, know them intimately!

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Julie Keating
A writer isn’t born, but created out of experiences. No lack of subject matter, my life reads more like fiction than anything that could have been imagined in...
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