15 Gym Etiquette Rules That Are Super Important To Follow

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

People don’t always have the best manners at the gym. For gym newbies, it might seem like there’s some secret code of conduct when you first step foot in a gym, but gym etiquette rules are really just common sense. According to Nerd Fitness, good gym etiquette really just amounts to being aware of how your behavior affects other people and not treating the equipment like it’s your own personal stairmaster. Ultimately, says Nerd Fitness, it’s about keeping everyone safe in buildings that are full of heavy equipment. Easy enough, right?

Really, these gym rules are a lot like what we all learned in kindergarten. Clean up after yourself when you’re done using stuff. Share with others. Don’t do anything that’s mean or obnoxious to other people. Give other people the personal space they need and deserve. Don’t spread germs. Oh, and wear appropriate clothes. When everyone follows these rules, it creates an environment of comfort and safety, allowing everyone to exercise without having to worry about what the person next to them is doing. See, no secret code of conduct here. Just no nonsense, common sense rules we live by in everyday life. These 15 gym rules are just a few we should all start following right away.

1Never Make Fun Of Other Gym-Goers

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This rule should go completely without saying, but if there's one piece of gym etiquette you follow, this should be it. No secret Snapchats of the person on the next machine. No Instagram stories of person on the treadmill in front of you. Invading their privacy for any reason is just wrong.

2Wipe Down Equipment After Using It

Even if you didn't leave any visible sweat, it's just plain healthy to wipe down any equipment after you're done using it. According to BBC News, bacteria can live for several hours on gym equipment, and viruses can survive for several days. Wiping equipment down with disinfectant can stop the spread of those germs.

3Share Equipment

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We get it; you've got fitness goals. But if you're in a gym setting, other people have goals, too, and they might need to use the same equipment you're using. So just be aware if other people might need to use the equipment you're on, and be willing to change up your plans if someone else needs to use that piece of equipment, too.

4Keep Phone Conversations To A Minimum

Like any public space, you should really keep any phone conversations short and quiet. You came to get your fitness on, not call your bestie to talk about your day. If you have to make a quick phone call, step out into the lobby or into the locker room so you don't disturb the other gym-goers.

5Avoid Excessive Grunting Or Vocalizing

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We all know that person. You know, the one with the heavy weights who's practically screaming in the back of the gym. We're not saying you have to be quiet as a mouse when you work out. But there's a point at which we all know that noise level becomes, well, too much. Just be aware of the people around you, is all I'm saying.

6Just Let Your Friends Exercise

It's one thing if you're both exercising side by side, but it's really not good gym etiquette to be that person who stands next to their friend while they're working out, chattering away. You might think your friend is having fun talking to you, but chances are, they really just want to focus on their workout. It's OK to chat for a little bit — obviously, you came to the gym to work out together — but then get back to your own reps.

7Ask Permission Before Changing The TV Channel

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Most gyms have a few public TVs in addition to the private ones attached to single pieces of equipment. During various sports seasons, you'll see groups gathered around them while key games are on. You definitely don't wan to be the person who just randomly changes the channel without asking permission from the masses.

8Only Sing Your Tunes In Your Head

You may have vocals that could get you to the finals of American Idol, but that doesn't mean you should belt out the tunes while stretching out your hammies. It'd be funny at first, but pretty obnoxious in the long run.

9Remember That The Locker Room Isn't Your Living Room

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Some people get super comfortable in the locker room. Like suuuuuuper comfortable in the locker room. Changing out in the open is fine — it's a locker room, after all — but just be mindful that not everyone is comfortable being around naked strangers, and keep your towel close by.

10Follow Bathroom Stall Rules On The Machines

If you're not familiar with bathroom stall rules (or urinal rules), they're simple. It's all about giving people personal space. If someone is using a stall, you skip the stall next to them and use the stall over. The same applies to fitness equipment. Don't just jump on a piece of equipment right next to someone if there are other open machines. Spread out and give people their personal space.

11Don't Sit On Equipment When You're Not Using It

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Sitting on equipment is basically calling dibs. Even if it's a bench, try not to sit on it if you're just chatting with a friend. Someone might need that bench, and they might not feel comfortable asking you to move. If you need to sit, find a space that's designated for sitting, like a lounge area or a locker room.

12Keep The Selfies To A Minimum

It's totally OK to be proud of the work you're doing to improve your health. Just don't hold up someone else's workout because you're trying to get the perfect selfie with equipment they need to use. Snap a quick photo of your progress and move on. We all know you're rocking it.

13Only Give Advice To People Who Ask You

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We know you're probably just trying to be helpful and don't get people to get hurt, but walking up to complete strangers and giving them advice they didn't ask for is a real turn off. In fact, it can make people feel unwelcome in that space. Unless you see someone who's in immediate danger, keep your advice to yourself unless someone asks you for help.

14Put Equipment Away When You're Done

Gyms are public spaces you're sharing with lots of other people, so it's up to everyone using that space to keep it clean and organized. Yes, there are employees who are paid to clean the space, but that doesn't given anyone license to trash the space. That's like going to the movies and leaving your popcorn on the floor after the movie because there someone else is paid to clean it up. You put your weights away when you're done, just like you put your empty popcorn tub in the trash.

15Keep Your Dating Game On Tinder

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Can you meet a date at the gym? Sure. But don't hit up the gym for dates. The gym should be a safe space for people to go to exercise. They shouldn't have to worry about getting hit on or catcalled.

The rules of the gym are basically the rules of life. Be kind to other people, and clean up after yourself. Just like the gym, we share this world together, so let's act like it.