Let's Make the Gym Great Again: Easy To Follow Gym Etiquette
The gym should be a community of folks who are considerate of one another and share a common goal of fitness, however they define it.
The gym should be a GREAT place, but too often becomes a hub of angst and anxiety. So, how do we get to great? My approach is rooted in etiquette and education! By knowing “the rules” you can feel more confident in the gym AND not piss off everyone around you. It’s a win-win. It’s all the wins. #winning
So here we goooo!
NUMERO UNO: Read your gym’s specific rules
Every gym is different- some allow chalk, some don’t, etc. If you don’t read a single other item on my list here, at minimum, following your gym’s specific rules should have you off to a civilized start.
2. Rack your weights
Rack your plates and dumbbells when you're finished with them. Always. Whether at a squat rack, bench, leg press, calf raise- rack it!
3. And put away whatever other equipment you use too!
The rule goes for any kind of equipment, really. Bosu balls, kettlebells, resistance bands, etc, if you use it, return it to where it belongs, regardless of where you found it.
4. Get back, get back
Standing right up on the dumbbell rack is lazy and inconsiderate. Find a free space several feet back where you have space to work, but aren’t standing in the way of anyone else who may also want to access the rack.
5. Wipe off the equipment you use
No, actually, I’m not thankful for the sticky sheen you left on the bench back there. If I could sell your stank on eBay, I wouldn’t. Wipe the ish off! Most gyms have multiple wipe stations. Find one.
6. Get off the phone!
If you must make a phone call, go to your gym lobby or exit the facility. Nobody really wants to listen to your conversation and it’s extremely rude to sit and hold a piece of equipment while socializing when someone who’s actually ready to work could be using it. Same goes for extending your rest period between sets because you’re texting or instagramming- keep it moving, sister.
7. Use considerate selfie practices
I'm actually not opposed to a gym selfie now and then AS LONG AS the selfie taking is not preventing someone else from using a desired piece of equipment- take one or two shots, not 50,000 :) And please, no selfies in the locker room.
8. Hold ONE piece/set of equipment at a time
Don't be the guy sitting on a machine with 4 pairs of dumbbells spread out around you. You love your supersets and tri-sets, I get it, but you’re not actually using all those pieces of equipment simultaneously and you don’t have the right to withhold said equipment from another paying member in between your sets! If you’re at your gym when it’s fairly empty, maybe taking 1 pair of dumbbells with you to a machine is acceptable. But if it’s prime-time? Forget about it and modify your workout accordingly.
9. Don’t hog equipment for an extended period of time
Again, somewhat dependent on the time/crowd, but it’s really never cool to use one of your gym’s two squat racks for an hour+. Nor is it necessary to get a decent workout. I COMPLETELY understand that certain styles of lifting (looking at you, powerlifters) require long rest periods and thus more time spent at a rack, but choice of training style does not entitle you to equipment any more than someone else. I try to always limit time spent with any piece of equipment (including power rack, dumbbells, machine, cable station, anything!) to 20 minutes.
10. Avoid interrupting someone’s set
This means allowing for a personal bubble. Don’t scurry around someone as they’re squatting to pick a plate off the holder on their rack. Don’t start talking to someone mid-set. When possible, avoid breaking someone’s view of the mirror if they appear to be using it during their set, and definitely don’t set up camp directly in front of them. Respect their workout as you would want someone to respect yours!
Real life story------------------------>
Interrupter just aint't a good look! Also, do yourself a favor and check out @court_vital_fit on Instagram asap :)
11. Don’t do curls in the squat rack
Please. Just don’t. The squat rack and/or power racks should be used strictly for exercises that can’t be done elsewhere (mostly squat variations, overhead press, bench press- if there’s no dedicated bench station at your gym- etc.)
12. Drinks and food in the gym
Main thing here should be obvious, but clean up after yourself! If you spill your purple fizz BCAA drizzank, clean it up! If you want to munch on a protein bar or some quick carbs while at the gym, I suggest doing it in the lobby instead of the actual gym space, and avoid eating something with an intense aroma that others may find distracting.
13. Water fountain sippers should have right of way over water bottle fillers
I think most people carry a water bottle in the gym, but some still rely on the water fountain. Let's remember who the water fountains are really for! It's perfectly fine to refill your water bottle, but consider allowing the person in line behind you to grab a sip before you sit there filling your gallon jug for 5 minutes.
14. For God's sake, use headphones
This is one of the most mind-blowing offenses to me. You may be totally feelin your jamz, but no one else should have to be subjected to them. You can grab a cheap pair of ear buds for what, $5 these days? Use. The. Headphones.
15. Be friendly!
Trust me, I'm not one for making gym time into "social hour." I'm there to do my workout and get out. However, giving a friendly nod or smile of acknowledgement and getting to know your fellow members by name doesn't take a lot of time and goes a long way toward cultivating community. It's much harder to be oblivious to your friend than to a stranger! So go out there and kill 'em with kindness :-)
It's pretty simple, bees! Treat the equipment like you personally invested money in it. Be mindful and respectful of your fellow gym-goers. That’s really what it’s all about😊