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by Casey McIlvaine

One of the few downsides to more people attending gyms and working with personal trainers to get fit and healthy is a general lack of understanding of long-held gym etiquette parameters. It seems a good a time as any to do a quick refresher course for old hands and newbies to ensure that everyone has a safe, comfortable and faux pas-free time at the gym.

How to be polite at the gym


While a certain amount of conversation at the gym is a good thing, there is good communication and bad communication. No one wants or needs to hear you yell to yourself or to your gym partner during heavy exercises. The same goes for unnecessary loud grunting.

The gym is not the place to talk on the phone, so keep your phone on vibrate. If you must take a call, make it short, quiet and away from everyone trying to concentrate. When you see that someone is busy, don’t unnecessarily interrupt them and break their concentration.

A gym can be a great place to meet new people, but avoid forcing conversation on others. Keep it friendly but not flirty. Watch you language and don’t say anything that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to hear.

Definitely do not talk about others at the gym whether it is praise for their physique or shaming them for their lack of muscle development or for being overweight. The whole point of going to the gym is to get healthy or stay healthy. It defeats the purpose if you’re providing verbal disincentives for being there.

Personal Space

Don’t be that person that grunts loudly and drops weights. This is not only distracting for others, but can be dangerous while showing poor use of the equipment and facilities that you rent and do not own. Be sure to give people there personal space while working out at a station or on a piece of equipment.

Don’t take smiling and eye contract to the extreme. A certain amount of looking around is not a bad thing as you can observe proper technique as well as poor technique to avoid, but be sure to glance and not stare.

Refrain from providing unsolicited advice to others, but if you do see someone doing something dangerous, politely interjecting is not a bad thing. Keep your gym bag in your locker and not on the gym floor or on equipment where it can interfere with others.


Come to the gym clean and showered wearing deodorant, and try to be aware of the amount of time it takes before you begin to sweat, and therefore, begin to smell. It will be greatly appreciated if you use a break to freshen up before continuing your workout. The same goes for flatulence. Wait until you go to the restroom whenever possible to pass wind.

Shower before you use any hot tub, pool or soaking facilities at the gym. Always have a clean towel with you when you work out so that you can be sure to keep your sweat from dripping on the floor or the equipment. Always wipe down any piece of equipment that you use when you are done for the next person that uses it. Keep your towel with you rather than lying around the gym or on equipment.

Fair and Proper Equipment Use

Always clear the racks and return the stack to its original weight, seat height to its original height, and make any other necessary adjustments when you are sure no one else is using the equipment. Be sure to replace dumbbells and barbells to their proper place, and use them at least four to six feet away from the racks so that others can get to them.

Never use equipment improperly such as doing curls in the squat rack. Avoid using multiple pieces of equipment during peak times, or while others are waiting to use them.

While safety is a big part of gym etiquette, it definitely requires its own post. Just keep in mind that many of the etiquette rules above also have safety implications. The goal is to make the gym a place where you and others that have shared goals of better fitness and health want to be.

One Response to “A Guide to Gym Etiquette”


    Informative & Educating…thanks a lot for the tips…


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