The Unspoken Rules Of The Gym – How To Make Sure You’re Not “That Guy”

Alain Saint-Dic
Alain Saint-Dic, Health and Fitness Editor at 20something, brings over nine years of experience in the health and fitness industry. Though he studied pre-law, his love for the human body, it's adaptive ability and unlocking the largely untapped potential of human beings led him to pursue a passionate career in health, fitness, and athletics.

Like most places that you walk into, the gym has its own set of rules. Some of these rules are spoken, and some are unspoken. These rules are generally understood by most patrons and many are even posted up in the locker rooms. However, day after day these rules are broken. Some may plead ignorance while others just like to watch the world burn. If you happen to fall into the “pleading ignorance” category, here is a short list of some essential rules that will help you develop proper gym etiquette:


1. Rack Your Weights

It’s common courtesy. You used it, so put it away. Very basic preschool principles – “Clean up clean up, everybody, everywhere…” Besides, if your grandma was going to the gym, would you want her to have to re-rack a pair of 45 plates before she benches, just because some douche didn’t have the decency to do it himself? No.


2. Keep Your Eyes to Yourself

Besides Instagram, the gym might be the second highest ranking thirst trap in the world. Yes, thirst is real and maybe uncontrollable, BUT DON’T STARE. It’s painfully obvious. Glance from the side of your eye if you must, take a mental picture (not a real one, creeps!) and keep it moving.


3. Bring a Towel

If your sweat glands are as powerful as your muscles, then please please please carry a towel. Seriously, it’s not your fault and everyone understands because sweat is just a bodily function. What we don’t appreciate, is the trail of puddles left behind by a melting human icicle.


4. Wipe your Machine

Same concept as your sweat. It’s yours, don’t leave it for someone else to sit in.


5. Odor Control

If you work up a sweat when you workout, that’s great. If you work up an odor, keep it under control. Breathing is an essential part of exercise, which is very hard to do when taking in someone else’s stench. Don’t be that guy.


6. “How many sets you got left, brah?”

It’s a public space that everyone pays to use, so respect everyone in the space and out of it. If you can, work in with other people, and try to share equipment as often as possible. If someone is waiting to use a machine or a set of weights, you don’t have to oblige them immediately. You should, however, be considerate to the fact that they’re waiting, or at least address them and let them know that there’s no chance in hell that they’re getting that bench in the next 20 mins. Similarly, if someone is clearly in the middle of an intense circuit, don’t just jump in; wait until they’re resting to pop the big question.


7. Cardio Equipment

In non-peak hours, it’s yours for as long as you want. Just wipe it down when you’re done. In peak hours, try to limit your workouts to 30 mins so other people can jump on as well.


Realistically, treat the gym like the work environment in which your boss is watching your every move. Just because no one will check you on it, doesn’t mean you should do it. Be courteous, my fellow 20somethings. Lift long and prosper!


Comment below with some of your gym behavior pet peeves or etiquette recommendations!


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