Gym Etiquette – Proper Ways To Act When Working Out


The gym is the best place to go if you are trying to have a great workout session to build muscle and burn fat. However, nothing ruins a good trip to your favorite fitness facility like poor gym etiquette. Let’s break down some major mistakes a lot of people make when it comes to using proper etiquette while at the gym. Below are the top 15 ways you should behave in the gym and toward the gym’s employees. This list comes directly from gym staff, so take note and make sure to adhere to these rules if you want to stay on their good side!

Gym Etiquette 101

#1. Do not swipe your own card – receptionists have a job description and take pride in greeting you so be patient and kindly hand your card to the staff member and give them a nice big smile.

#2. Stop hitting on members and staff! This is a gym – not a meat market – so focus on training and keep your mind out of the gutter. Unfortunately, lots of men (and some women) signup for a membership not only to build up their bodies, but to also use the facility as a dating hub. There is a big difference between introducing yourself to someone in a nice way versus being a weird “creeper” who hits on everyone and annoys other gym members. So make sure you’re polite and respectful if you just have to go up to someone you find attractive. Make it quick and then get back to business!

#3. Personal trainers do not like being interrupted when clients are paying for their time. Avoid asking trainers about the best way to bench press or which carbs you should avoid when they are in the middle of a session with their client. Wait until it’s over and then you can get some advice.


#4. Group training instructors take offense when you leave their class early without telling them beforehand. Be respectful and let the instructor know if you need to bail early since leaving right in the middle of a workout session is not only rude, but very awkward to both the instructor and the people in the class.

#5. Sweat towels and gloves should get washed like other workout gear. Always do the smell test before throwing a towel into your gym bag. It’s not a good thing to walk around reeking like an old sweaty sock.

#6. Use deodorant at all times! This is even more important than using a fresh clean towel since you can always throw the towel out. If you smell horrible and have terrible body odor, it’s going to have a direct impact on other people in the gym. Pickup a pleasant smelling deodorant stick or spray and make sure to use it before heading into the gym.

#7. Each staff member has a separate role in the club – Don’t ask a membership consultant for exercise advice. Salespeople sell memberships and trainers train people, so remember each person’s specialty.

#8. Bodily processes should be restricted to the toilet – not the pool, steam room or shower. You’re not 6 years old and want to be funny going “tinkle” in your bathing suit while you’re in the hot tub or pool. Get your lazy butt up and head to the bathrooms.

#9. It’s not your house so don’t change the TV, music or temperature to cater exclusively to your needs. Nowadays, there are so many televisions all over the gym which display different channels, so find your favorite talk show or news station and pick a cardio machine close to it. You can also bring your own iPod and listen to your favorite music to bypass listening to the gym’s playlist.

#10. The gym staff are employees, not servants, so be respectful at all times and avoid bossing staff members around. If you have an issue with an employee or something else in the gym (broken equipment) go directly to the gym manager and let them know about it.

#11. Don’t be an “equipment hog”. If you are the type of person that hangs on to your favorite dumbbells or using one piece of exercise equipment for your entire workout, then you are a hog. There are other people waiting patiently for the equipment so be courteous and do a few sets and move onto a different one.


#12. Always carry a lock with you. This is a very important tip because most gyms have lockers available to their visitors but offer no locks. There are some people who store their wallets, purses and other private property in these lockers without locking them up. The last thing you want is to be a victim of theft. Locks are very inexpensive so lock it up and be safe.

#13. When you finish using a machine, please wipe it down for the next person to use. If you are covered in sweat and just finished an exercise, the polite thing to do is wipe the bench clean with a disinfectant and a towel. Bacteria thrives in places that are warm and moist, so you may put people at risk of getting sick if you don’t clean up your sweat after using equipment. Most gyms have disinfectant sprays available all around the facility. By cleaning up after yourself, you are contributing to a bacteria-free environment.

#14. If your machine is not working properly, please tell a staff member so they can try to fix it or put an “Out of Service” sign on it. There are some people who might get on a machine, only to find it’s not working properly. So, instead of notifying the nearest staff member, they just get off and move to the adjacent machine while the next person hops on the same broken machine. By doing this small yet kind task, you are letting the staff know that there is something wrong with that particular machine which helps out both the gym management and other members.

#15. Please don’t leave any weights, bars or any other type of exercise equipment lying around the gym. If you do a set of bench with 315 pounds, that’s six 45 pound plates that are loaded on the bar. If you just get up and leave after your session in finished, that’s extremely poor gym etiquette! What happens if an elderly woman wants to use the bench after you and literally can’t because it’s impossible for her to lift all of the weight off the bar? Once again, clean up after yourself and be respectful. If you take all the weight off the bar, but just leave it on the ground and forget to re-rack the weight plates, then this is also a huge mistake. This type of negligence is not only inconsiderate but also dangerous. If a person trips over a bar, plate or dumbbell, this could easily result in injuries that could have easily been avoided. So, please put everything back where it belongs so nobody gets injured.

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About Author

Lee-Ann Barnes

I'm a newly resigned, self-employed personal trainer, group trainer and strong chick looking to make a difference in people's lives. I'm brutally honest and straight forward and write about things as I see them. See my profile page for more information!

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