Learn 5 basic Gym Etiquette and rules

5 Rules of Gym Etiquette
Learn 5 basic Gym Etiquette and rules

Learn how not to wear out your welcome.
by Kristopher Kaiyala for MSN Health & Fitness

Everyone's been the victim of Bad Gym Guy. You know the one: the smelly, sweaty, chatty health club member who spreads his body filth all over the locker room and exercise equipment, with nary a care for those around him. Bad Gym Guy cuts in line, slams the weights, talks loudly on his cell phone and seems generally oblivious to the world around him. Here's our advice if you want to avoid him: don't be him.

Gyms are social gathering places just like malls, coffee shops and work places. Basic rules of group politeness apply even if the club lured you into thinking it was there to cater to your every need.


So, what are the basic rules of gym etiquette? We enlisted the help of Chicago's posh Lakeshore Athletic Clubs for the answers. Athletic director Diana Hoffman and head trainer Nancy Parks boast a combined total of more than 20 years in the fitness profession. They know Bad Gym Guy when they see him. Here are their tips to help you avoid becoming the fitness-club pariah.

1. Be quiet.

Cell phone use on the fitness floor is a definite no-no. No one wants to be party to your personal conversations; they distract from the mental focus everyone needs to achieve their fitness goals. "Also, if you are participating in a group exercise class, don't talk in the back of the studio. It's unfair to others participating in the class," says Hoffman. You're an adult. Don't act like a grade schooler.

2. Clean off the machines.

You don't want to sit in someone else's sweat, so why make them sit in yours? "After using any type of equipment at the club, be sure to wipe it off," says Parks. "Covering the seats or benches with a towel beforehand helps to avoid this problem, and it also protects you from germs that can be passed on through other people's sweat."

3. Be careful when handling weights.

Few things are more jarring at a gym than the loud clank of dropped dumbbells or barbells. Don't permit the weight stack on any piece of equipment to slam down. "It is disruptive to others training in same area, is potentially damaging to equipment, and can cause injury to the user as it evidences an inability to control whatever weight is being used," says Parks. "Also remember to put weights back when you are done; it's thoughtless to leave them lying around."


4. Share the equipment.

If you are circuit training, trade off sets with someone else, that way you can rest while someone else lifts. "If someone is already using a piece of equipment that you want to share, wait until they are done with their set before asking them," says Hoffman. "If you ask them in the middle of a set, they may lose concentration. Even if they do respond, it could interfere with their breathing." Cardio equipment must be shared as well. "Many clubs have time limits for these machines during their peak hours. Be sure to abide by these rules so everyone can benefit from the equipment."

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5. Watch your odor.

"Be sure to clean your workout clothes on a regular basis and don't wear overbearing perfume or cologne," says Hoffman. "Take a shower after your workout as well—you don't want your smell to offend people on your way home, too!"

Yuck. We couldn't have said it any better.