Gym Etiquette: What to Do and How to Act

Posted by FiscusFitness, LLC on January 2, 2017

The New Year is here, and so is your motivation to workout. So, you've got yorur gym membership and are ready to go. But the gym is a whole different ecosystem with it's own natural laws.

There are some unspoken rules when it comes to working out in the gym.  If it's your first time using a facility, you may not even be aware that you're doing something wrong.  But, by familiarizing yourself with this gym pet peeve list you can save yourself some embarrassment and earn the respect of your fellow gym-goers.

1. Don't Do Dumbbell Curls in the Squat Rack

There is a reason the rack with the big barbell is called a squat rack... it's for squats.  Often, gyms only have a couple to go around and if it's some one's leg day... chances are they will need one.  Don't use this piece of equipment for bicep curls.  There are plenty of machines, barbells, cables, and dumbbells for that.

2. Watch the Volume on Your Headphones

It's a scientific fact that listening to your music can help improve your workout.  But, just because you like heavy death metal doesn't mean everyone around you does.  To test your volume.... set it where you want...take your headphones off and see if you can still hear it.  If you can, turn it down a notch.

3. Wipe Your Sweat

It's common courtesy to keep your sweat to yourself.   Bring a towel and wipe down anything with a headrest or seat that looks like you may have perspired on it.  A towel will also come in handy to wipe it down for yourself... in case the person before you doesn't know about this rule, or is too lazy to follow it.

4. Learn to Work in with Others

Gyms have a limited number of equipment.  Maybe there are two squat racks and three bench presses.  During peak hours, it's important to know how to work in with someone.  Try to pick a person who is doing a similar weight as you so you don't have to keep racking and un-racking pounds of weight.  As soon as they are done a set, ask.. "Do you mind if I work in with you?".  Chances are they will not. If they do mind, you probably don't want to work in with them anyway.  If you get the go ahead, once the piece of equipment is clear perform your set.   When you are finished, return .the weight to how you found it.  Then the other person goes, then you go, etc.

5. Don't Hog the Equipment

Similar to the point above... you need to watch yourself during peak hours or if your gym only has one of certain items.  This is especially true of cardio equipment.  Most gyms have 30 minute time limits during busy times of the day.  Think of it this way... how would you feel if you were waiting to use a piece of equipment during your entire workout?  Annoyed?  Be respectful of others and the good gym karma will spread.

6. Wear Enough Clothes

I don't care if you have a bangin' body or the thickest lats around... please cover up.  Sports bras and tops that bear your midriff are usually not appropriate, especially if the gym is family friendly.  Most gyms have dress codes against wife beaters, do rags, and non athletic shoes.  I definitely don't recommend working out in jeans...ever.  And,only  about 1% of the population can pull off biker shorts-- male or female.  If in doubt, don't wear them, or put something over them.

7. Stop Checking the Mirror

If you do a set of bicep curls, go flex in the mirror, and repeat...this pet peeve is for you.  Your muscles are not going to get bigger and your appearance is not going to get better with every rep you do. Also, don't hog the mirror to check out your washboard abs.  The mirror is there to watch your form, not admire you body.  If you are a bodybuilder and need a mirror for posing practice, check out an aerobic room or dance studio where you can do it in private.

I am sure you can think of even more pet peeves! But, if you avoid these big 7, you'll fit right in and have a much better time, look like a pro, get less hassle from others, and have more confidence.

Now, go hit those weights and stick with it through March 31st. Remember to take before pictures, because when April comes around and you're not sure how much difference you see despite friends, family and colleagues telling you that you look great, you'll have proof!