Gym Etiquette

by laury on August 30, 2011 · 44 comments

Good Morning!

I was glad to hear that many of my bloggie friends did not suffer the wrath of Irene. It was a scary storm for sure. Watching all the damage on the news and hearing about lives that were lost in the storm was heartbreaking.

 Today I want to talk about common gym courtesy.

A few weeks ago I was finishing up a leg workout on two machines. I like to super-set with these and then get to stretching and get the heck out. Often times someone will come along and want to work in with me..and they usually do the same thing, with super-setting, so we swap which is fine. This time, a few weeks ago, a girl in her early-mid 20’s jumped in on the machine, and I waited patiently until she was finished her set to say “Do you mind if I work in on there, I only have one more.” She looked at me like how dare you ask me such a thing, and said “I’m not finished” like I had 4 heads. I watched as she proceeded to do like four sets, resting between, not allowing me to finish out my one set.  She had to feel me watching her, and getting impatient…these days I don’t have much time to workout, so time is of the essence.

My conclusion was that this girl was either A. Not familiar with proper gym etiquette or B. Just plain rude (is the nicest word I can come up with).



Here’s a few tips so you don’t become “that” person in the gym that comes across as rude or annoying or worse…

Gym Etiquette 101:

-Working In:

You either got what they want or want want they got. I asked Michael his biggest pet peeve, and it was similar to mine. People that circuit train on 500 pieces of equipment and them get annoyed if you want to use something in their circuit, when they may not even be back for 10 minutes. On the other hand..never just jump in on someone and switch up the bar if they leave to get a quick sip of water. It’s one thing if you didn’t know…but if you were close by and were unsure if a person was through, ask.

If you are using something, and rest between, or are super-setting/ circuit training/ etc…be courteous to others that want to work in, if at all possible.

-Respect the person letting you work in:

If someone is nice enough to let you work in on a machine, always put the weight and seat setting BACK where it was when you got there. Also, do not sit there and do 5 million reps…that person may be trying to rest a minimal amount of time and get their sets finished accordingly.


-Cell Phones:

There is nothing more annoying than someone pacing around the gym floor on their cell phone. I don’t mind in the locker room, in the outskirts of the gym. However, do NOT sit there chatting away around the equipment. It’s not only distracting, it’s annoying and you are in the way. Since Ella was born, I keep my phone with me at all times in case one of the M’s need to reach me (mom, MIL, Michael) …but I never talk on my phone or answer it unless it’s one of them. AND if they did (which hasn’t happened yet)  I’d walk into the locker room or outside.

Throwing Weights:

It’s not only dangerous, it’s not necessary. If the weight is so heavy you can’t place it down on the ground…maybe you shouldn’t be lifting it. When I was pregnant there was a guy tossing weights around when I was lying on a may right near my head. True story.

Filling your water bottle:

This is one I am notorious for. I’ve been going to my gym since I was 16 years old. I drink a lot of water. I drink even more when I workout. My bottle gets filled often. However..if there is a line or someone coming to get a sip, I let them go ahead of me. When I used to workout 6pm on Monday night (“big chest Monday is what they used to call it because ALL the guys were in there benching on Mondays)..I would stand there for quite a while waiting for a line to diminish. Be courteous and don’t sit there and fill your bottle when there are others waiting to just take a sip.

Very Loud Grunting/Moaning:

If you are working out hard there’s going to be some noises every now and then. I respect that. However…I don’t want to feel like I am on the set of a porno movie. There is “one of those” at my gym. Hardcore. It’s awkward.


When you are finished with something…put it away..for the love of GOD! Thank you.

No banging, please:

It is not proper form or proper etiquette to bang weights together. It’s obnoxious. Don’t do it.


Mirror Mirror:

There was once a guy at my gym whose nickname was “mirrors.” You would often catch him doing the “wipe my chin with my shirt while I nonchalantly check out my abs” move. Constantly checking himself out. Point being, the mirrors in the gym are not only for vanity purposes. They are there so that people can check their form. I couldn’t care less if you are obsessed with staring at yourself. However, be courteous if someone is in the middle of a set and do not linger in from of the mirror where they are. I understand sometimes it’s hard to not walk by, but if you HAVE to, do it quickly. Try not to though or wait until they are finished their set.


I can’t speak for everyone…but most of the time, if someone has headphones on, doesn’t make eye contact, and seems to be really into their workout, they don’t want to talk to you.


Never ever, ever interrupt someone when they are in the middle of a set. It’s dangerous!

Chatty Cathy:

Don’t be “that guy” or “that girl” who’s known for cornering people and chatting their ear off. People come to the gym to workout, some to socialize, but respect the time limit. If  you find someone that wants to converse longer than the small talk between sets, don’t do so while holding up equipment.

Respect Others Space:

I usually set up my own little area, out of the way (as much as possible with my gyms unfavorable new layout) to do my Body Rock or own Bosu or body weight workout. There is nothing worse than others coming and crowding your space and you have to sit and worry about someone tripping you in the middle of a burpee. On the other hand..never set up in areas that are high traffic or in front of weight racks where others need to go.

Cardio Deck:

I don’t workout at peak hours anymore…but when I did there used to be a time limit of 30 minutes when people were waiting. Be respectful of this. You would want others to do the same if you were waiting.

Asking the trainer:

Trainers are in the gym to help. However, they are also there for hire. If a trainer is with a client, who is paying them for their time, do not come over and interrupt with elaborate questions. Wait until they are through with their session, or look for one that is not busy. I am sure they would be happy to help.

Your stuff:

If you have a towel, water, place it out of the way. My biggest pet peeve is when someone places their stuff on a bench they are not even using! I see it happen all the time, and have not used certain things because I thought they were “claimed” (which is another no no), only to watch and find out someone was using it as storage.

Your stuff in the locker room:

If you are showering at the gym and have your bag with all your toiletries and clothing, just be aware of others trying to get in their lockers, especially at peak hours. I could do a whole post on locker room etiquette.

Unwanted advice:

I haven’t worked in a fitness club for a long time. I do all private training in homes and corporate gyms. At my gym, I often bite my tongue and cringe at some of the stuff I see people doing. I learned a long time ago that most people don’t want your advice. I know I’ve fallen victim to some meat head coming over trying to tell me something I should do. There’s a difference between unsolicited advice and someone that is receptive. If you aren’t sure the difference, you’re better off keeping your mouth shut. Especially if you are not qualified to give advice.


There are SO many more I could add…like…wear deodorant and wash your gym clothes. Don’t be a pervert. Oh, I have stories. There was a guy that used to carry around cut out pictures of women in bathing suits and tight clothes from magazines and kneel down and pray to them between sets. It was super creepy. I would try to stay far away from him because he beyond creepy. Like guys in the gym I never spoke to would come over to me when I was the only girl in there and tell me to stay away or ask me if I was okay with him being there. Eek. He eventually got thrown out when myself and a bunch of others (a lot of men even) complained.

What’s your biggest gym pet peeve???

Off to avoid violating the above now 😉



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