A little etiquette goes a long way

An article
By Chris Hibbard
Originally published in the Lethbridge Herald


A little etiquette goes a long way

There may not be an official ‘list’ posted in most fitness clubs or workout gyms, but there are a certain unwritten rules of gym etiquette that are most apparent when they have been broken.
While there are no concrete guidelines for appropriate manners and behaviour when exercising around others, the following ‘pet peeves’ provided by Stephen Mayall, Personal Trainer at Go-Mango Fitness Equipment, and Suzie Penner, Fitness Consultant at Gold’s Gym, paint a fairly clear picture of workout Do’s and Don’ts.
Following these guidelines will make the gym a nicer place for everybody.


1. Wipe your sweat off of the equipment you have been using.
2. Learn to use the equipment and your body effectively when working out. The dropping of dropping weights and ‘snapping back’ of equipment cables are noisy and annoying, and lifting weights improperly can be very physically damaging.
3. Learn about your own muscle groups. Many people don’t know the difference between their own hamstrings and triceps.
4. Buy a gym membership and actually use it. Some people spend hundreds of dollars on yearly memberships, only to never be seen or heard from again.
5. Wear antiperspirant, or deodorant at the very least. Relatedly, keep your perfume and cologne to a minimum.
6. Keep your soggy towels separate from the clean and dry towels, preferably in an area where they will be noticed and changed out.
7. Wash your gym clothes regularly. Your nose may not smell your own stale B.O., but other noses will.
8. Wear underwear, especially if you choose to work out in short shorts. Few people enjoy a free peep show at the gym.
9. Keep your voice down and don’t brag about how incredible or disciplined you are.
10. Wear appropriate exercise attire. A button-up shirt and jeans don’t allow for much breathing.


1. Sing out loud while listening to your IPod.
2. Hog the equipment. Over 30 minutes on any particular machine is a bit excessive, especially the cardio equipment. By the time anyone who has been waiting on that machine gets to it, their heart rate has dropped and they may not reach their target rhythm.
3. Wander around buck naked in the change rooms, no matter how strong your self-image may be. If you do feel the need to wander around naked, please don’t talk to others.
4. Leave your free weights or dumbbells lying on the floor or put back in the wrong location.
5. Do your hair and makeup before you work out. It will melt off if you succeed, and if it stays on, you likely weren’t there to exercise in the first place.
6. Stand around equipment just talking and socializing. There are coffee shops and bars for that.
7. Step on the scale every then minutes to see if you’re losing a pound at a time.
8. Talk for hours on your cell phone. It distracts others, and obviously gets in the way of your own workout.
9. Attempt to reserve a machine by leaving a towel or water bottle on it. While you are off the machine, others could be using it.
10. Treat the gym as a meat market. No one appreciates those who gawk, stare, flirt or whistle when they should be minding their own business.
11. Grunt or breathe excessively loudly, announcing how heavy your weight is to the other room.
12. Walk up to other members and tell them how they could lift more. Certainly don’t add more weight to other people’s machines without their requesting you do so first.
13. Wander around the gym ‘pretending’ to be there to work out. If you’re wearing a weight belt, you should be working with weights.
14. Stare at other people, no matter how attractive or unattractive you find them to be. Staring is not polite.


~ by Chris Hibbard on November 6, 2008.

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