Monday, March 4, 2013

Manners Monday: Gym Etiquette

I hope you all had an amazing weekend, it's hard to believe it's already March and spring is just around the corner. As many are still keeping their New Year's resolutions of getting into shape and preparing to wear skirts and eventually swim suits, I thought it was time to share a post on the importance of proper gym etiquette. Also, thanks to Paula (a regular reader) who suggested I write on this topic a few weeks ago. :)

Most people realize that it's only courteous to wipe down the equipment after use and to not hog a machine for a great length of time but there are several others tips that will allow you to be more mindful of others while working out.

Proper Gym Etiquette Tips:

1. Leave Your Cell Phone in the Car- Many gyms actually have strict rules about cell phones, but some do not. Either way, it's hard to concentrate on your workout if you're busy chatting on the phone nor will you be getting the results you desire. Most importantly, it is inconsiderate to those around you who want to focus on their workout.

2. The Gym isn't for Socializing- I used to belong to a ladies only gym, while I really enjoyed the environment, I found that many times women would arrive together to workout and just socialize, not taking their workout seriously but monopolizing the equipment in the process. Socialize at Starbucks, if you're going to truly workout, make sure both you and your workout partner understand each other's goals not only for your own sake but to be courteous of those who will want to share the equipment. Also, don't chat with others who are on equipment, let them do their thing and you can catch up later.

3. Wipe Down Equipment After Use- A lot of ladies feel that because they didn't 'sweat' while using a particular machine that they do not need to clean it, this is not so. If everyone felt that way, we'd have a lot of bodies sitting on equipment that never got sanitized. Do your part, take a moment and use the provided paper towel & spray or wipes to wipe down anywhere your bottom, back, hands or any part of your body has touched.

4. Never Slam Weights- If you're using equipment or dumbbells and feel the need to slam them on the  release, this is a sign that the weight is likely too heavy for you. You'll get better results from a lower weight with multiple repetitions vs. trying to look like Ms. Muscles and dropping the weights. It can damage the equipment and also distract others. Always put away free weights back where they belong so nobody trips over them or becomes hurt.

5. Don't Monopolize the Equipment- When you see someone who is working through their set, it's always okay to ask if they mind if you 'work in'. This simply means that while they give their body a minute to relax and do some stretching, you can get in a set of your own. Be sure to perform your set quickly after selecting your own weight and seat height. Be sure to note what the other person's weight and seat height is so you can adjust it for them before they do their next set. If you don't enjoy sharing sets with others, be aware of how much time you're spending on a particular machine, especially during prime busy times. Limit yourself to 30 minutes on cardio equipment and about 5 mins maximum for each weight machine.

6. Take the Free Equipment Tour- Many who are new to working out don't want to show others that they are so instead of going on a gym tour or being shown how to use the equipment, they dive in without any instructing hoping they'll figure it out. This can waste extra time on machines as one attempts to look at the illustrations and figure it out and can also cause injuries if not used properly. Everybody starts from the beginning at some point so take the tour and learn as much as you can and never be afraid to ask a trainer or employee how to properly use a particular piece of equipment.

7. Never Interrupt a Class- If there is a yoga or spinning class already in session, use common sense and skip the class this time if you are late making sure you arrive early the next time and work out in the gym area instead. There is nothing more distracting than warming up and having people open/close doors, talk and get set up next to you when a class is 10 mins in and instructors loathe this inconsiderate behavior-it's just not fair to anyone. The small yoga studio I belong to actually turns over a sign on the door that says 'session in progress' and locks the door-it's a great solution but hard to implement in a large gym environment, so instructors rely on you to make the right call.

8. Sweat Suits- Have you seen the suits designed for sweating that kind of resemble a garbage bag? I've workout out next to someone on a treadmill before who wore one, let's just say that his sweat was dripping out of the wrist of the suit and flinging itself onto me-I was horrified! Sweat suits are a no-no unless you are running alone outdoors. Even then, many don't think to wash them and they really breed bacteria, so if you want to sweat a bit extra, wear a sweatshirt over top of your usual tee. Be sure to clean up any excess sweat that may have dripped onto the machine.

9. Bathroom & Locker Room Manners- Some women are more modest than others, some have no problem at all stripping nude in front of complete strangers while others prefer privacy. Decide this ahead of time so you'll know if you'd like to change in an individual stall or in the open area. The same holds true for showering. Most showering facilities are private with a shower curtain but some still are not. As much as I love to shower immediately after a workout, I prefer to shower at home so I put a clean towel on my leather car seat and drive home where I have all my soaps and things I need without having to pack them. Always leave the change room and bathroom as clean as you found it. For some reason these areas can get really messy, be sure to pick up after yourself.

10. Appropriate Gym Attire- Many women dress scantily clad while working out in the hopes of 'meeting a man'. Be sure that if you're wearing a sports bra top that it covers everything and doesn't expose nipples or show cleavage. Pants, shorts or capris should not slide down and expose your bottom or underwear while working out. Shorts should  be a reasonable length as to not expose yourself while doing hip adductor/abductor, bending exercises, etc. Form fitting materials are appropriate for the gym, but know where to draw the line. A tank or tee and a pair of  yoga pants or yoga capris are always appropriate. Gym clothing doesn't need to be boring, why not incorporate some fun colors such as a hot pink tee or running shoes with this season's trend of neon.

What rules do you find are most commonly broken in the gym? If you have another tip to add to the list, please share it in the comments below, I always look forward to your feedback. :)

Thanks for reading!


*image source


  1. Some great reminders here. I was cracking up at the garbage bag sweat suit! It's always good to recheck your habits when sharing a space with a bunch of sweaty strangers, just to make sure you are being thoughtful of others.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Sherry! I'm glad I could make you laugh. ;)

  2. No perfume, period. Also, apply deodorant before your workout, regardless of when you last applied it. Others around you will silently thank you.

    1. I'm with you, Cindy! Somehow men usually feel the need to put on a lot of cologne before the gym which is only amplified by body heat and sweat. Deodorant is a must! Good points, thanks for sharing. :)

  3. Thank you for sharing these! As a fitness instructor, I can especially appreciate the "don't arrive late to a class" tip! :-) Happy Monday Karla!

    1. Thanks Kristin for stopping by and sharing. :) What type of fitness class do you instruct? I know how much you love to dance, I'm sure you're a great instructor!

  4. Thanks so much for writing this, Karla. #2 was rather convicting as I have a friend who comes to the gym the same time I do specifically to chat as we workout. Not sure how to change that situation without hurting her feelings.

    I also see #7 broken all the time. The classes where I go are so big, I'm sure most people think they are hardly noticed.

    1. Thanks again Paula for the topic idea and for your feedback. I think you can successfully work out with a friend, it can make working out more fun just so long as you both keep things moving. :)

  5. This post was very well written, and it also comprises a lot of useful facts. I enjoyed your differentiated way of composing the post. Thanks, you have made it very simple for me to realize.
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  6. I go to gym, and this is so true, these are all good tips for proper behavior in the gym while exercising.


Thanks for stopping by, your comments make my day! I read every single one and will answer any questions you have. I hope you'll visit again soon! :)


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