9 Gym Etiquette Rules to Sweat By

The New Year is quickly approaching, and we all know what that means: time to dust off the resolutions and make plans to hit the gym. People love to start the new year off with a gym membership, which means that the gym that was quiet as a mouse during December will be rocking in January, as everyone hits the club with new — and renewed — fervor to tackle their fitness and weight-loss goals.

If you’ve never been a member at a gym before or it’s been an embarrassingly long time since you’ve been, you might need a refresher on gym etiquette. After all, we’re all there with the same goal: get in, have fun, work hard, and get out. We should all be working together — politely — to achieve those goals! So if you’re a total gym newbie or a seasoned gym rat who has gotten a little lazy with the etiquette, these rules for the gym are for you!

  • 9 Gym Etiquette Rules To Sweat By 1 of 10

    Follow these nine basic gym etiquette rules, and you'll be a pro at the gym in no time!

  • No Reserving Equipment 2 of 10

    If you're doing a circuit workout and rotating between machines, it would be wonderful if you could stake your claim on equipment so that no one else would grab your equipment when you walk away. It would save you time, not having to wait between moves. But you can't call dibs on equipment. If you're not actively using a machine, it's open season for anyone to use. So this means that yes, you may have to share with someone while you're doing your circuit; you may have to constantly switch between their heavy weight setting and your lighter-weight setting. It can be a hassle, but think of it this way: if you only had 10 more reps of a move to complete, you wouldn't want to wait 10 minutes for someone to complete their whole workout, would you?


    Photo credit: CherryPoint, Flickr

  • Observe Time Limits 3 of 10

    I once went to a university gym that was so busy, the time limit on cardio machines was 30 minutes. If this is the case at your gym, respect others who are waiting and observe the time limits. If 30 minutes isn't long enough on the treadmill for you, grab another machine like the rowing machine, elliptical, stair stepper or bike and get a diversified cardio workout. Better yet, hit the weights for a little circuit training after your cardio session.


    Photo credit: hectorir, Flickr

  • Don’t Hover 4 of 10

    If you're waiting to use equipment, don't hover too closely. Don't invade others' personal space to make a point you're next in line. Simply let them know you're waiting for equipment or a machine and keep a natural distance. And just like you wouldn't sit right next to someone in an empty auditorium, try not to grab the machine directly next to someone if there are a hundred empty machines (unless you have a really good reason!).


    Photo credit: Brisbane City Council, Flickr


  • Wipe Down Machines 5 of 10

    After you use a machine, wipe it down. You don't want to come across someone else's sweat drops on a treadmill or on the grips of a machine, and they don't want to come across yours! It's not just a politeness concern, either. Gyms are warm, moist breeding grounds for all kinds of bacteria and viruses, so wiping down machines can cut down on the transmission of all kinds of infections.


    Photo credit: campdarby, Flickr


  • Put Equipment Away 6 of 10

    I'm always telling my kids that if they're done with a toy, they need to put it away. And the same rules apply at the gym. If you grab a foam roller, yoga mat, dumbbells or any other apparatus, put it back where you got it. Also, don't steal the jump ropes; my gym requires them to be checked out because too many people leave with them.


    Photo credit: Jhong Dizon | Photography, Flickr

  • Avoid Heavyweight Behavior 7 of 10

    Unless you're a heavy-duty lifter at a meathead-type gym, try to avoid slamming weights, grunting and shouting while lifting. It's super jarring to be in the middle of your workout and have someone shriek from across the gym or drop a heavy weight after a lift. In a quest for a non-intimidating environment, Planet Fitness even has a Lunk Alarm that gets set off if someone doesn't follow their no-grunting, no weight-throwing rules.


    Photo credit: ednl, Flickr

  • Cut The Chit-Chat 8 of 10

    The gym can be a great place to make friends. After all, you're there a lot, you see people at the same times, and you have something in common — a desire for a healthy lifestyle. But not everyone comes to the gym to make friends. If someone has ear buds in or seems really engrossed in a fast run, it's probably not the time to chat.


    Photo credit: Dano, Flickr

  • Avoid The Selfie 9 of 10

    In the age of the selfie, it can be so tempting to want to document your hot, sweaty bod in the gym mirror … I guess? But it just looks kind of silly to the rest of us. Use the mirrors for making sure your form is correct, not to endlessly ogle yourself and snap selfies!


    Photo credit: deanetr, Flickr

  • Keep Stuff Out Of the Way 10 of 10

    The locker rooms are there for a reason, so if you've got a backpack and stuff to stow do it there. If the locker room is grimy or you forgot your lock, just make sure your stuff is out of the way so no one else will trip on your oversized gym bag.


    Photo credit: deanetr, Flickr


For more of what not to do at the gym, check out this article on 12 types of people you’ll see at the gym!

Also from Erin:

Why I’m Going to Stop Clicking On Post-Baby Body Articles

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7 Fabulous Fusion Workouts to Spice Up Your Routine

Eating Healthy Meals at Airports Is Getting Easier

Read more of Erin’s writing at Fit Bottomed Girls and Fit Bottomed Mamas.

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Article Posted 3 years Ago

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