Gym Etiquette: How to Work out Nicely with Others

Working out shouldn't involve being obnoxious to others. Here are some rules to follow

Credit: Flickr/Nina Walia

Working out should be fun but there are certain etiquette rules to follow

If your exercise plan calls for going to the gym, follow some common gym etiquette

Here are some things to keep in mind so you don’t become THAT person. You know the one. The person who annoys everyone around them.

Gym Etiquette

  1. Clean up after yourself. Working up a good sweat is good. Leaving exercise equipment soaked in it isn’t.
  2. Put your weights away. Your mom probably doesn’t work at the gym and won’t be picking up after you. Other gym users shouldn’t either.
  3. Hang up the cellphone. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. Unless you’re an on-call doctor or other life-and-death type professional, leave the phone in your locker. The gym isn’t the place to discuss last night’s episode of The Bachelor with your best friend.
  4. Don’t hog the equipment. Gyms can get crowded so share with the other kids in the sandbox. Let others work in sets with you and respect the time limit on cardio machines during busy periods. Better yet, use the gym for strength training and do your cardio outdoors.
  5. Leave the newspaper in the lounge. This goes along with #4 above. I once saw a guy sitting on a leg-curl machine reading the morning paper. If you’re in the gym, work out don’t read. That’s what libraries are for.
  6. Don’t try to pick up dates. This one applies to guys. Save the pick-up lines for the bar on Friday night and let the women in the gym do their thing. One exception to this rule. Ladies, if you do want to ask a guy for a date, go for it. Men will never mind being hit on, anywhere.
  7. Turn down the iPod. Listening to your favourite tunes can really motivate you. I get it. But your neighbour might not have the same musical taste. Plus, you’re killing your hearing so keep the volume down.
  8. The mirror shold be used to check your form, not for posing. Guys, practise your double biceps pose in your own bathroom. Ladies, your outfit looks great. Check it once before leaving the change room and not every time you see a mirror.  

Beyond the Gym

While I’m at it, let’s touch on other bits of exercise etiquette since the gym isn’t the only place people work out.

  1. If you’re taking a fitness class, don’t try to impress everyone else with how fit you are or how much more you know than the instructor. Be enthusiastic, vibrant and kick ass. Just don’t show off.
  2. When running or biking on the seawall, let others know you’re there. Yell out (not aggressively), “Passing on your right” or “Passing on your left” if you want to pass by someone (either another runner, cyclist or a pedestrian).
  3. If you hear someone behind you shout out “Passing on your left (or right)”, let them. Don’t step in that direction. And don’t speed up.
  4. If you’re running, hiking or biking on the trails, the person coming downhill has the right of way. Stop and let them by if the trail isn’t wide enough for both of you.
  5. Turn the volume down or leave the iPod at home. Hearing is one of your most important senses if you’re in a crowd or in traffic. Cycling in traffic with headphones is plain stupid. Don’t do it. And if you’re on the trails, enjoy the serenity of nature. It’s also a safety issue. You’ll hear someone or something a lot sooner than you’ll see them in the woods. I’ve run into a few bears while outdoors by myself and I’ve always heard them first so I was prepared. And ladies, this is especially important for you if heading into the woods alone. Animals are a secondary concern. It sucks but we live in a world with creeps, so keep all your senses alert.

Get to the gym or get outdoors but keep my exercise etiquette advice in mind. You’ll have a much more enjoyable experience.

Now that you’ve mastered gym etiquette, how about boning up on your etiquette for the childfree?