Gym Etiquette for the Common Human Being

So with the New Year having just rolled around, we’ve seen a LOT of gym etiquette posts. (And I really mean a lot… I haven’t even been looking for them and I’ve stumbled upon about 10 different ones since the 1st.) But a lot of times these sort of lists come off as being very elitist. They are almost saying “NEWBIES NOT ALLOWED,” and they tend to make beginners feel unwelcome or out of the loop. That or they’re extremely picky and make a gym sound like no fun at all… any list with “no grunting” on it makes me want to throw a loaded barbell at the writer.

So I decided I wanted to make my own version of a gym etiquette blog; one that isn’t just meant for the benefit of gym rats and super buff dudes. This post is a list of guidelines for how not to be a totally terrible human in the gym.

Let’s do it!

(1) When it is not okay to approach someone at the gym:
– Is that person wearing human-repellents (aka: headphones)? Don’t approach them.
– Is that person literally right in the middle of an exercise? Don’t approach them.
– Is that person knee-deep in cardio? Don’t approach them.
– Are you going to ask, “hey are you done with this” while they’re still clearly using it? Don’t approach them.

(2) When it is probably okay to approach someone at the gym:
– Are you going to ask, “can I work in?” Sure, this is fine.
– Are you going to ask for advice on your own exercises? Sure, and this will probably make whoever you’re talking to puff out all proud-like.
– Are you going to politely offer advice to someone else for fixing form? Fine line here; some people will be okay with this, others will not. You’re just going to have to use your best judgment, but the key word is POLITELY. Don’t come at them like the world’s cockiest, unsolicited fitness coach. Maybe start first with asking if they even WANT help.

(3) Distribution of equipment/not being a total jackass:
– If someone asks you to work in, don’t say no. (The only exception here would be if loading/unloading the weight would take an excessive amount of time.)
– Do not “mark your territory” on more than one machine at once.
– Conversely, if there is a towel on a machine and/or weight is racked make sure no one else is using it before jumping in.
– Do not be the infamous dumbbell hoarder.
– Also do not be that jerk that stands literally right in front of the dumbbell rack to do your exercises. (And especially don’t refuse to move over when you wind up in someone’s way, which is pretty much inevitable.)
– When it comes to cardio machines, 30 minutes really is enough time on one.
– If space is limited, sharing is caring.
– Whether your texting, wandering around aimlessly, or just standing there, do not take unnecessarily long rests between sets.
– Re-rack your weights when you’re done, and for the love of god, put them in the right spots.

(4) General personal hygiene and respect:
– Are you a sweat monster? Wipe down your machine.
– No one should ever not wear deodorant to the gym. Period.
– Spitting, picking your nose, and scavenging for ear wax? These are all unacceptable gym-time activities.
– If you use a paper towel or something of the like to wipe your sweat (from yourself or a machine), the floor is not the proper receptacle for it when you’re done.

But most importantly:
– Remember that you’re not the only one using the gym, and you do not own the place when you’re there.
– Also remember that if you don’t like what someone else is doing it is well within your power to walk away.

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Okay! Go forth and don’t be terrible!