11 Gym Etiquette Rules You’re Likely Forgetting

by Carina Wolff

Most of us know our basic manners by now (hopefully), but if you're someone who works out at a gym, there are a few other things to remember. When you're so focused on your workout it's easy to forget some of these common workout etiquette rules, but once you start paying attention to what's polite in a shared workout space, they'll soon become habits. Everyone wants to have a good experience when they go to the gym, and you can help contribute to that by being respectful to other people in a number of ways.

"Workout etiquette is important in order to maintain a smooth, friction-free and not intimidating gym atmosphere where everyone can feel comfortable enough to challenge themselves," says Steven McDaniels, director of fitness and athletics at Beacon College, over email. "Workout etiquette is also important to keep everyone safe as injuries can occur while working out."

Gyms don't always come with clear rules of conduct, so it's best to err on the side of caution when it comes to doing something that could make someone uncomfortable. If you're not sure how good your gym behavior is, you might want to consider these 11 workout etiquette rules you're likely forgetting.

1. Not Using Your Phone

Don’t spend your time texting or talking on the phone when you're in the gym. "This should be a given, but so many people are addicted to their phones," says personal trainer Kim Lyons over email. "If you need to have your phone with you, put it on silent and take it outside if you need to answer or text."

2. Refraining From Taking Selfies While Using Equipment

"Gym selfies are 'a thing' and heck if you are teaching someone or inspiring someone, by all means shoot away," says Lyons. "However, you should not hog a machine or workout area while you do a photoshoot with yourself. Find a quiet corner of the gym to take your selfies or be quick about it."

3. Not Wearing Too Much Perfume

It's always good to smell nice, but load up on too much perfume, and the scent can get too strong when you sweat and bother other people. "Once you start sweating, it just smells like a perfumed garbage can and that can be a smell that no one wants to endure," says fitness expert Rachael Blumberg over email.

4. Staying Home When You Have A Cold

Although some light exercise can actually help fight off a cold, if you're feeling sick, you're better off doing a quick workout in your own home. "if you have a bad cold or an illness that others can catch, stay home," says Blumberg. "With all the bodily fluids floating around and everyones pores open, you put others at risk of getting sick as well."

5. Wiping Down Equipment After You're Done

Sometimes, once we're finished with a workout, we're so eager to get home and shower and eat, we just put the dumbbells down and head out the door. But it's important to wipe down the equipment you've used when you're finished so it's not covered in your sweat and germs for the next person to use it.

6. Not Taking Pictures And Videos Of Others

"There’s no doubt that people can do some pretty weird and wonderful stuff in the gym," says strength coach Tim Blake over email. "But that doesn’t give anybody the right to take a sneaky video, upload it to social media, and feel good by putting somebody else down. At some point we were all beginners, and we all made some pretty embarrassing mistakes. Making somebody feel awkward or uncomfortable could put them off training for life, and that does precisely no good to anyone."

7. Not Giving Unsolicited Advice

"Even though I’m a pretty experienced coach, I wouldn’t give unsolicited advice to anybody (unless they’re doing something that could lead to an acute injury)," says Blake. Let people do workouts on their own, and don't bother them, even if you feel if their form is imperfect.

8. Picking Up After Yourself

"Whatever weights you use, put them back," says trainer Cristy Nickel over email. "Dumbbells, barbel's, plates, mats, bands, clips, etc. all need to be put back in their place after you are finished using them. This rule is important because no one should have to come behind you, first pick up after you, and then organize their own work out. This also includes putting the bench back where you found it."

9. Not Chatting Loudly With Your Friends

Having a fitness buddy can help motivate yourself to go to the gym, but try not to turn your workout time into social hour. "Remember that many people like to take a few minutes to breathe, meditate and arrive on their mat prior to the start of their favorite yoga session," says fitness expert Dempsey Marks over email. "Save the high-speed chatter for the post-class smoothie/latte break."

10. Being Cautious About Asking People Out

"The gym is a fantastic place to meet a potential date, but it’s important to know that not all gals or guys want to be hit on while they are escaping for a quick sweat," says Lyons. "The proper etiquette is to politely go up to her (or him) in-between exercises and let them know that you don’t want to interrupt their workout, but you’d love to take them out for a coffee (or protein shake) sometime after the workout. Avoid the staring, following, or tossing annoying little little comments."

11. Trying Not To Be Too Distracting

"Don’t be a distractor," says Lyons. "If you notice everyone is looking at you is probably not because they love what you are doing. Wear the appropriate attire, use the machines as they were intended to be used, and keep your grunts under control."

The gym should be a free space for you to exercise, but it's important to also be mindful of others who there to get just a good of workout as well.

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