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Tips on Gym Etiquette

So that you and other gym goers have a comfortable and productive time at the gym, please adhere to these simple tips:

1. Re-rack your weights. It seems like a very obvious action to take in a gym, but you would not believe how many people just drop their dumbbells and walk away when they are finished using them. Or people leave all the plates on the barbell after finishing their bench or squats. The gym floor becomes a landfill of iron and neoprene. Please return the weights where you found them… err, unless they were not where they were supposed to be to begin with.

2. Wipe down your equipment after use. There’s nothing worse than waiting on a machine, and when somebody is done, they leave a puddle of human perspiration waste on the equipment. I have seen so much sweat on equipment you’d think the machine just got pulled out of a lake. Even if you don’t consider yourself a sweaty person, it’s courteous to wipe down your equipment after use. Most gyms come equipped with easy methods to sanitize equipment before and after use. Please take advantage of it.

3. Do not be a gym hog. We have all been witness to it. Somebody comes in and puts their bag down by one piece of equipment, their jacket by another piece of equipment, their hat by another piece, etc. essentially “claiming” half the gym. Or they spend an hour on one machine, taking ridiculously long breaks in between each set, with no consideration of other gym goers. And if you ask them how much longer they’ll be, they grunt and glare as if how dare you even question them. Unless it is your private at home gym, please be courteous of your fellow gym goers’ workout routines.

4. Men, under no circumstances do you try to approach, “holler at”, or flirt with a woman that is wearing headphones. Those headphones are specifically there to repel you. She is systematically trying to block out the world (you being a part of it) to handle her business. If God wrote eleven commandments, the eleventh would have stated, “Thou shalt not approach a woman whose lobes are covered by a device delivering music into her ears.” The only occasions you may speak to a woman wearing headphones are 1) If the gym is on fire and the woman does not hear the fire alarm, and 2) If you have a medical emergency and the sole person in your immediate vicinity is a focused, headphone- wearing lady, then you can maaaaybe approach her for some help…. but it better be life or death. If not, leave the ladies alone.

5. Once again men, do not be “Mr. Know-it-all”. No matter the physique or fitness education, there is a culture in the gym in which men believe they are all-knowing about the proper way to get in shape. These men spurt out faux informatics and statistical analysis pertaining to specific exercises, how many reps and sets should be performed, and what protein shakes and powders should be mixed properly during the day to obtain optimal results. This “bro science” runs rampant in gyms. I’ve observed men built like sandbags approach lean, fit women (wearing headphones nonetheless) offering “advice” on how to properly use a machine, or what exercises are best to build specific body parts. Not content to just spew their faux knowledge to women, I have seen men that can be labeled “flabby” approach defined men with similar “advice”. Unless somebody asks for your input, it is best to just leave them in peace.

6. Decrease social media activity while at the gym. While hogging up machines by taking too much time between reps is an issue, another time waster are people who pull out their phone to snap photos of their workout after every set. Geez…. And usually these people take a minimum of twenty photos to get that one picture to post online. Most gyms have mirrors in the bathrooms. And the bathrooms usually have good lighting so you can get some quality photos in there ;) That is the perfect location for a private photo shoot, and it leaves the equipment free for other gym goers.

7. Do not use the gym as your private sound studio. Many gyms have a space or room separate from the main floor in which group classes can be held. When not occupied, this space is normally available for use by anyone. There is nothing wrong with hooking up your phone to the speaker system and playing some music for your workout. But jamming out at max volume to the point the mirrors are vibrating is a not so subtle way to tell other gym goers to eff off. It is akin to hogging gym equipment by spreading out your personal belongings. This has become such a problem at some gyms that they have disallowed patrons to use the sound system at all. So please keep the volume at a tolerable level for everyone (or preferably use headphones).

8. If somebody asks you a question and adds the word “bro” at the end, simply ignore them and continue on with your workout. Nothing that comes out their mouth is coherent or substantial enough to yield a response. Ignoring them will save you precious breath and vocal strain. You’ll thank me for this one.

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