Gym etiquette 101: The unwritten rules of working out, written down

Feb 3 2017, 11:21 pm

This post was written for Daily Hive by Samantha Schonewille. Samantha is a hiker, runner and amateur climber following the call to the great outdoors. You can follow Samantha’s adventures on Instagram.

The New Year has come and gone, and with it so has everyone’s patience at the gym. The days of deserted squat racks, and empty workout stations are behind us, forcing us to learn to workout together in peace.

Now that all the “New Year New You” people have situated themselves in Vancouver’s already saturated gym population, we thought it best to make a list of appropriate gym rules to help keep everyone’s workout to an irritation minimum.

Keep your B.O. in check

Image: Sweat / Shutterstock

This may seem like common knowledge, but evidently it’s not and needs to be written down. Deodorant costs literally $3, and is worth its weight in gold at the gym. So do everyone a favour and apply it regularly.

Wipe down the machines

Since deodorant doesn’t cover your whole body you’ll still leave some sweat on the machines. No one wants to sit on stale (or fresh) crotch sweat, it’s your responsibility to wipe that grime down! Failing to wipe machines hypersensitizes everyone to how dirty the gym really is. To keep up the appearance of a “clean” environment please for the love of God, at least pretend to clean the machines!

Limit your phone time



We all like to take breaks in-between sets, but when your break is taking more than a few minutes it’s time to put your phone away, look up, and realize that your fellow gym-users are getting more and more annoyed as you continue to hog the only fly machine in the gym. The sanity of others is more important than memes.

Be mindful of other people’s mirror space

Getting healthy is only one of the reasons people go to the gym. The other reason is to look good. Let’s face it, gym lighting is epic so people love to check themselves out any chance they can. It’s not vain, or arrogant, it’s just a well deserved treat to see progress being made. Don’t be the jerk blocking someone else’s mirror space, let them see what they want to see- themselves.

As a side note, mirrors are also there to check form. Which is almost equally important as checking out how good you look.

Don’t circuit train when it’s busy

Fitness / Shutterstock

When the gym is packed full of people, it’s not cool to leave your water bottle at the smith machine, your hat at the leg press, and pile some Dumbbells up around you. Now you’re messing up others’ routines and just being an overall dick. Keep it simple and occupy one space at a time.

Keep the grunting to a minimum

Do you really need to grunt louder than the gym music? No, you don’t.

Only take the weights you need

Image: Fitness Gym / Shutterstock

You are a person, not a dragon, you don’t need to sit on a throne of Dumbbells. If you need two 50 lb dumbbells, use them, rack them and then choose a different weight.

Place the barbell down gently

If you’re not training to be an Olympian then don’t drop the 300 lb barbell on the floor. You’re breaking the concentration of literally every other person in the gym. Be courteous and only deadlift what you can actually lower. If you’re pushing yourself and you can can’t safely lower the bar, drop the bar but make eye contact with people around you and show them you’re sorry. On your next set reduce your weight, and DO NOT repeat the process.

Pay attention to your surroundings


Girl using phone/Shutterstock

Listening to music is one thing. Not noticing people asking you to move over, or to use a piece of equipment is something entirely different. Turn down the tunes, and be alert so others don’t need to learn sign language to get your attention.

Don’t be creepy

It’s 2017, you’d think we’d be beyond having ladies only areas in gyms. Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if the space was shared and the two genders could coexist? This could all be possible if you put your balls in your pants and don’t be a perv. No one wants to be stared at while doing hip thrusts, we all know it looks weird, but seriously eyes down.

Let people work in with you


Not only is working in the best way to get through your routine with fewer interruptions, it’s also a great way to make friends at the gym. If you end up helping someone reach their personal max, you’ve landed yourself a new gym buddy. Now when you see each other again you can work in without feeling awkward and have a friend to gossip with about gym news- just remember, at a coffee shop, not at the gym.

Don’t misuse the bench press

The bench press is not a bar to use for bicep curls, or overhead press, and it is markedly not a deadlift station, you can do all of that somewhere else. The bench is sacred in the gym, misusing it will earn you some serious sneers.

Don’t make the gym your social hour

Go for a post workout coffee to catch up, don’t hang out on the squat rack and talk for two hours.