In the gym and in life, unspoken rules can make a big difference—some simple ways to avoid unpleasant moments and become acquainted with gym etiquette.
Learn how to be comfortable in any gym environment and create positive experiences for everyone involved—from fellow members to staff.
We all know how frustrating it is working out at the gym and having someone come in and start hogging all the equipment, or not putting their weights away after they're done.
It's essential to be respectful to others when using a public space like a fitness center, which means following some proper gym etiquette rules. Here are some dos and don'ts to remember the next time you hit the gym.
Change In The Locker Room
It’s hard to get comfortable in a gym environment when you’re dressed inappropriately. First, you don’t want to be the person that is sweating profusely in the yoga room. Second, you don’t want to be the person with stinky feet in the cardio room.
Changing in the locker room allows you to put on fresh, clean clothes, so you aren’t wreaking havoc in the space you’re using. It also ensures that you aren’t creeping anyone out. Respect other members' privacy by changing in the locker room and not out in the open gym.
Put Your Weights Away When You're Done With Them
This one is simply common courtesy. When you’re finished using a piece of equipment, please put it back where it belongs so the next person can easily find and use it.
It's not only considerate, but it also keeps the gym tidy and organized. Plus, it shows that you're taking responsibility for your own workout space.
Wipe Down Your Equipment When You're Finished Using It
This is for both hygiene purposes and to show consideration for your fellow gym goers. No one likes getting on a piece of equipment covered in someone else's sweat.
Bring paper towels or a piece of cloth to the gym and wipe down your equipment when you're done using it. This will help keep the gym clean and prevent germs from spreading.
Shower Immediately After Working Out
If you are coming to the gym after a long day at work or from a laborious activity, you may want to shower. It is not necessary if you were not sweating or you smell fine, but if you start your workout already sweaty and smelly, you’re creating an unfriendly environment for others.
The steam room is for post-workout, not pre-workout. The steam room is a great place to relax after a workout, but it’s not a place to get your sweat on to prepare to lift.
Showering after you work out is a sign of respect for the people you’re working with and the staff cleaning the facilities. If you don’t have time to shower after every workout, bring a change of clothes.
This way, you can shower before leaving the gym and avoid leaving a trail of sweat behind.
Bring Deodorant, And Don’t Just Rely On The Facility’s Shower Gel Or Shampoo
If you want to smell good, bring your deodorant. You never know what’s been used in the gym. It’s always a good idea to bring your shampoo and conditioner, too.
The same goes for your hairbrush. If you don’t want to share your hairbrush with the other gym members, bring your own. This goes for your razor as well. So be sure to include these in your gym bag essentials!
Be Considerate Of Others Who Are Waiting To Use The Same Piece Of Equipment
When you're done, wipe it down with a sanitary wipe or towel. This will help remove any sweat, bacteria, or grime you may have left behind.
It only takes a few seconds to do, making a big difference in terms of cleanliness. Squat racks, free weights, and machines are all first-come, first-serve.
Respect Personal Space
When you’re in a crowded gym, you must be aware of the people around you and respect their personal space.
Don’t stand too close to someone when they’re working out, and be conscious of your body language. If you accidentally brush up against someone or step on their foot, be sure to apologize.
Group fitness classes are not the time to chat. This is the time to focus on your workout and get in the zone. If you want to chat, do it before or after the class.
Follow The Rules Of The Gym
If there's a dress code, make sure you're following it. Workout clothes should be comfortable and functional but shouldn't be too revealing if your gym doesn’t allow for that.
If the gym has specific hours for different workouts, ensure you're adhering to them.
Don't try to sneak in if there are age restrictions on particular areas or machines. It is unfair to other members, and you could also get kicked out of the gym.
Tidy Up After Yourself And Be Respectful Of The Environment You’re In
Please clean up your water bottles, protein shakers, and plates after you’re done using them. If you’re lifting weights, put them back where you found them. If you’re taking up space in the cardio area or on the rowing machine, stay within the lines.
Similarly, be respectful of the other members of the gym. Remember that not everyone working out is there for the same reason. The woman on the yoga mat next to you might have a different fitness goal than you do.
The guy bench pressing may be trying to get some extra strength training between work shifts. The best way to be respectful of others at the gym is to be mindful of your surroundings.
Don’t Be Afraid To Break Your Boundaries
If you’re intimidated by the gym environment, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most gyms have staff that can help you get the most out of your experience. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions, like what machines are best for your goals, how to use a specific machine, and where to find water.
If you’re uncomfortable asking the staff questions, don’t worry—they always get that. Many gyms have a mentorship program in place, so don’t be afraid to be proactive and ask for help. If you don’t have any friends who exercise, don’t be afraid to reach out to people and ask if they want to work out with you.
Don’t be afraid to break your boundaries if you're in a fitness rut. Try something new if you’re consistently hitting the same weights or machines. If you’ve been going to the gym for years, don’t be afraid to ask for help from the staff.
Some beginner gym goers get nervous about working out in a new environment, take a deep breath and follow the general etiquette guidelines outlined above. Before you know it, you’ll be a gym pro!
Give them a turn if other gym goers are waiting to use it. It’s as simple as sharing is caring. If there’s a long wait for a piece of gym equipment, go ahead and jump in line. If you’re done with a piece of equipment, free the next person waiting and let them use it.
This applies to the weight room as well. If you’re working with a trainer, they have the final say regarding how many people can use the equipment at once. For example, when using a squat rack, be aware of how many people are behind you.
If you’re not working with a trainer, use common sense and let others use the equipment while waiting. This can be an excellent opportunity to meet people and make new friends.
Show Up Early Or Stay Late—Don’t Show Up At Peak Times To Tan
If you’re new to a gym, you might not know that certain hours are busier than others. Try to avoid peak times like the early morning and late evening.
If you’re a beginner, you’ll likely feel intimidated and won’t get the attention you need from the staff if the gym is jam-packed. Instead, try showing up at a time when the gym is less busy so that you can get some one-on-one time with staff.
You’ll get more out of the experience and be able to ask questions you might not feel comfortable asking in front of a big group of people. If you like to tan, try to avoid the busiest hours. If you have limited hours to work out, tanning at off-hours will buy you more time in the gym.
Be A Creep
This rule should go without saying, but unfortunately, it needs to be said. If you like to stretch, be mindful that you aren’t standing directly in someone else’s space. If you want to sit and stretch, don’t sit right on the mats in the middle of the floor.
Find a wall where you can sit and stretch. Some gyms don’t allow stretching on the mats, so be mindful of where you are. If you like to use the rowing machine, treadmill, or stationary bike, try not to hog that space.
You don’t have to spend hours on the treadmill to get a good workout. You're likely annoying others if you’re there for an extended time. Swipe up on your smartphone, plug in your headphones, and get lost in your world.
Keep your noise level down so others can concentrate on their workout. If you’re using headphones, be mindful of the volume. If you’re talking to someone, keep your voice down. Remember, people are there to focus on their workout, not listen to you talk.
Leave Your Things Lying Around
Put your weights away and put your towel in the bin. Don’t leave your things lying around for other people to clean up. It’s disrespectful and creates an unpleasant environment.
Be Rude Or Disrespectful To Others
Be polite and respectful to others, regardless of age, size, or ability.
No one wants to be disrespected, we're all here to get healthy, so let's support each other!
Remember, we’re all here for the same reason—to get healthy and fit. So let’s support each other on our journey! If you see someone struggling, offer a kind word or helpful tip. If someone drops a weight, help them pick it up. We’re all in this together!
By following these simple etiquette rules, we can all make the gym a more pleasant place to be. Let's all do our part to ensure everyone can enjoy their workout peacefully.