The 8 Essential Rules Of Gym Etiquette


While I have been known to expel indulgent giggles from time to time while reading listicles about the different types of people who frequent the gym, I would like to take this opportunity to retool that theme to be a bit more useful and little less judgemental. After all, the common thread here that binds us is really our frustration with the gross etiquette faux pas often committed by those stereotypes, not necessarily our need to laugh at them as eccentric people.

I just recently finished a 6-month stint working at one of those “manly man”, bodybuilder gyms. After witnessing countless infractions committed at yet another gym where I also trained, I’ve decided it’s time we all get on the same page about a few things for the greater good of humanity and our eternal quests to get sexy.

And a little old-fashioned real talk never hurt anyone.

Don’t give unsolicited advice

If you are not a qualified personal trainer employed in the very gym where I am presently “gettin’ my sweat on”, please, please, pretty damn please, keep your tips to yourself. If I wanted to have a deeply philosophical, and likely one sided, conversation about various schools of broscience thought, I would subject myself to hours of reading fitness threads on the interwebs. You’re chit chat about your amazing and proven technique is really just getting between what my heart rate and I are trying to accomplish here, so shush!

Mind your hygiene

Now I know that there is absolutely no need to come to the gym with the same attention to your presentation as you would for a cocktail party, but there has got to be a line somewhere and I would like to draw it at offensive odour. It really is unacceptable. And don’t you dare try to lie to me. I know that small has nothing to do with your freshest batch of sweat, and everything to do with the fact that you’re trying to get a 3rd or 4th cycle out of that t-shirt you’ve had in your locker all week. I’m know your game, bro.

Give space where you can

This is especially true for cardio equipment where pieces are often packed tightly together. Think of treadmills the same way you think of urinals or seats in an auditorium-sized university class. Go with every other open machine when the area is not busy. If there are 5 open machines, and you choose the one right next to the only other person on a treadmill, you’re a horrible, horrible human and should probably be heavily punished. No protein shake for you today, or something.

Respect the headphones — I don’t want to talk to you

The universal sign for “I am not interested in engaging in any sort of conversation whatsoever” is often ignored by chatty kathys. Respect the headphones. They are an extension of me and I love them. They are hosting my internal pump up party, and you’re just not invited. It’s not about you, it’s just that my relationship with 90s hip-hop and today’s cringe worthy pop music is complicated and none of your beeswax. I’m trying to be in my zone, friend!

Don’t be lazy

The gym is the last place in the world where laziness of any variety should be tolerated. Maybe you want to clean up that kiddie pool of sweat you just created under that elliptical? Maybe you want to throw away that empty water bottle or snot-filled paper towel? And the worse offense of all: Why, oh why, can’t the same enormous dude who just piled several massive plates onto a barbell manage to remove those plates when he’s done effectively deadlifting a Buick? You know who you are, dude. You know. You’re probably the same guy wasting 10 minutes of squat rack time during peak hour taking selfies in the mirror with your shirt half raised. Which leads me to…

Sharing is caring

If you owned this gym, you wouldn’t be paying for a membership. Therefore, all these heavy things lying about are not yours, so stop being a selfish turd and share. Personal trainers are also quite notorious for this. Furthermore, when you’re done with a machine, please move along.

Basically, if you aren’t using a machine or pausing to catch your breath between sets, kindly exit the gym floor. You’re just in the way.

Don’t put your parts on display

I’m no prude and I’m all for being proud of the sexy parts your hard work has given to you, but I just really don’t want to see all that scrotum/vajay/naughty bit of you in this extra communal context, whether you are attractive or not. Love yourself more than that and just put it away.

Don’t be creepy

Lastly, do not be the gym perve. If you are this guy, there’s a good chance you remember Vietnam and have just been getting away with inappropriate comments due to your advanced age. Sometimes the young ones try their hand at this, but it’s much easier to hurl obscenities back at younger offenders.

And I’m not talking about a few cheeky glances here. I get it. We’re all sweating and getting in touch with our animal selves. I’m going to have a little look; you’re going to have a few sneaky peaks. We are just humans, man. But no girl needs to hear about your thoughts on where you’d rather see her yoga pants from a shrivelled old man she’s just met. I think we can all agree that’s out of order, but he somehow exists at most every gym.

If you are reading this, there is a good chance you are not part of the problem. And for that, I thank you. Please keep up your high standard of courteousness. If we ever meet, I’ll owe you an enthusiastic high-five because of it. TC Mark

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