A General Guide to Gym Etiquette
The gym is one of those things in life that can be your favourite place or a huge annoyance; it all depends on gym etiquette. This varies from person to person and most people just grow to accept that. It is what it is. The gym. You go, you train, you go home, right?
Every gym has its own very well stated set of rules and regulations, like when they open, what you can wear, how much it costs etc. BUT, what they don’t tell you, is gym etiquette.
It’s a tough idea to get your head around, but almost every gym follows the same unwritten code of conduct in gym etiquette that separates us from the animals of exercise. Don’t worry, it’s not as daunting as it may sound, you just need to know a few things first or you may get some evil eyes or awkward sighs in the background, and no one needs to feel self-conscious at the gym.
Want to move fast? Jump to the right section below.
- Go To Train
- Practise Good Hygiene
- Be Weary of Social Media
- Stop Hogging Equipment
- Avoid Rudeness
- Don't Be Obnoxious
- Keep it Neat
- Watch What You're Doing, & Help Out Sometimes
1. Go To Train
Okay. Gym etiquette rule 1. Generally speaking, if you go to the gym, you should really be there to train. If you’re not going to put in the effort, then why bother being there? It never looks good to be wandering around doing nothing, doing the odd set on the odd machine for no reason other than to look like you’re at the gym or to make yourself feel better.
What is the point? Really? Give it your best shot, or just go home and call it a loss. There’s not much point in wasting your own time or anyone else’s at the end of the day, and people are paying for the equipment, including you. You could be doing other things and enjoying your time.
2. Practise Good Hygiene
There’s always going to be someone who’s not the cleanest when it comes to the gym. It happens in every single aspect of life; there are clean people, and there are messy people. It’s normal, and people accept it. Just maybe don’t bring that to the gym. It's a sweaty place as it is!
There are very few things in the gym that can ruin your day more than going to use a machine and seeing a shiny damp outline of the last person that was on there, especially if you felt it before you spotted it. There is just no need what so ever. A gym towel is TINY, we’re sure you can manage. They even sell them. That's definitely one of the biggest parts of gym etiquette.
3. Be Weary of Social Media
This seems to be becoming more and more common as time and technology move on, but it feels like 50% of people in the gym are pulling silly faces next to weights that they can’t really set up, just to post on social media and pretend they’re stronger than they really are.
If nothing else, isn’t this just counter-intuitive? Why not spend all that time on effort on getting that strong? Other people actually do want to do that, and not put it on social media. It’s hard to believe we know, but you really don’t need your phone as much as you might think. You should focus on that all-important mind-muscle connection!
4. Stop Hogging Equipment
Some people in the gym really do not want to move from equipment. It feels like they must spend the entire day there just to finish their workout, or they’re trying to do a full workout on one machine. Regardless, it can get annoying for some people. the gym is everyone's, and everyone has a right to the machine. If you need it, you need it, but don't misuse. It goes against everything gym etiquette stands for.
Sometimes you can let it go if they’re really making the most out of it, they pay just as much as anyone else. Fair enough. But don’t just sit on your phone for 5 minutes between sets or start having a conversation with your friend for 10 minutes whilst they do the same elsewhere. Finish your sets and then go and do whatever it is that’s keeping you. Easy.
5. Avoid Rudeness
Some people in the gym could quite easily be considered rude, whether they are on their own or in a small group. They could well happily ignore you completely if you ask if they’re using something, they’ll nudge past you mid-set, they’ll even just walk up and blatantly take what you’re about to use. Try not to be one of them. If you can.
People can find the gym an intimidating place. Whether you're one of them or not is your business, but being considerate makes it a better place for everyone.
6. Don't Be Obnoxious
This is one of the most famous beaches of gym etiquette (and gym rules). It's a famous pet peeve of going to the gym; people who feel the need to sound like they are giving birth per rep. We’ve all seen it, it sounds like a tennis match every time you go to the gym, with random shouts from around the room for no apparent reason.
People get it, you’re lifting weight; keep it up. This isn’t just shouting either though! The same kinds of people often feel the need to throw down the weight they are holding after they finish their set or rep and let it bounce across the floor.
If you’re doing a deadlift and you’re upping your one rep maximum, it’s forgivable, but not for every single rep from a set of 10. Just don’t, and the gym will thank you for it.
7. Keep it Neat
This is another thing that annoys the majority of the gym. It's one of the fundamentals of gym etiquette. You go to pick up your dumbbells and they’re not there. Fair enough, someone beat you to it, what can you do.
Decide to go down a weight and do your thing since you can’t see them anywhere, and then it hits you. You see one of them 20 feet across the room and the other one literally in the middle of the gym, for no reason what so ever, nowhere near anyone. You learn that kind of thing in the nursery! Put the equipment back when you’re done with it, it’s really not that difficult.
8. Watch What You're Doing, & Help Out Sometimes
This is a debatable one, but still worth talking about non-the-less. It may not quite be gym etiquette, but some people in the gym have bad form, no matter how big they are, and that’s not always a problem for everyone else unless they make it a problem.
New people join the gym all the time, that’s just how it is, which is great, and some of these new people are completely new to the gym. Don’t just watch them struggling with new equipment they aren’t confident with or laugh at them. Offer advice and be friendly, otherwise, how are they supposed to get better?
Everyone has been helped by someone in the gym at some point in life, it just happens. On the other hand, some people that seem to act like they own the gym despite having terrible form can really stress some people out, so just be careful of what you are doing.
The Gym Etiquette Summary
In summary, people generally appreciate it if you’re not cocky or arrogant and if you respect people and the gym itself. If you are polite, respectful and reasonable, you’ll get on just fine. That's all gym etiquette is really.
Just think how you’d want people to treat you, and you’ll manage. Don’t be afraid to ask for help either. We all need it from time to time, but also don’t be afraid to keep yourself to yourself.
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