Some Unwritten Rules of Gym & Fitness Center Etiquette

Rude is Rude, Even in a Gym


As it is in all social situations and public arenas, there are certain unspoken rules of etiquette to be followed, including even the in a lowly gym or an upscale fitness center. Be sure, of course, to peruse the written rules provided in your membership handbook as well the ones posted on the walls in various places. Here are some of the sometimes unwritten rules to be aware of:

Chose the Right Gym in the First Place

If you’re a protein-pounding Hulk who grunts loudly with each rep you lift, you are not a candidate for a Curves membership. Conversely, if your idea of a workout is to read the latest issue of Vogue while you leisurely pedal an exercise bike without breaking a sweat or mussing your make-up, avoid gyms where the workouts are serious, steadily paced, and towels use is abundant. Double-check the hours to ensure that you’ll have adequate time to exercise either before or after work. Ditto do you need childcare? This sounds elementary and it is, but you’d be surprised how often people end up mismatched with their gyms. Getting into the habit of working out is hard enough. Don’t make it even more difficult by choosing the wrong place to do it in. Make sure to accept and take the complimentary tour or free limited-time membership that most all places offer.

Keep Your Gear Close At Hand

You won’t make many friends with your towel draped over a bench you’re not even using, your water bottle set out on the floor to trip someone up, your workout record book on yet another piece of unused equipment, and your tote bag hanging of the handlebars on an exercise bike. Keep your gear close at hand and directly beside, on, or near the equipment you’re currently working on and move it with you as you complete your exercise circuit. Otherwise, not only are you risking injury to others and theft of your belongings, but you may inadvertently be “claiming” equipment as used when it’s not.

Respect Claims to Equipment

If there is a towel draped over a bench alongside a notebook and with a water bottle beneath it, an individual is working on that equipment on in that area. Just because the person is not there at the moment doesn’t give you the right to move their belongings: they may have gone to the restroom or outside to the lobby to take a telephone call. If nobody appears at that station in 20-30 minutes and you need to use the machine, notify someone on staff.

Undress the Equipment When You’re Finished

Remove the weights from barbells, EZ bars, and machines when you have completed your workout at that station. Replace them where they belong. A gym workout is not supposed to consist of removing other people’s weights from the equipment before you even start your exercise.

Put Away the Equipment As You Use It

There is nothing more infuriating than to need a pair of 25 lb. dumbbells to complete a pyramid lift and to find that all 10 pair of them are claimed and scattered about the room. It’s only by careful sleuthing and questioning that you can determine that 4 pair of them were simply abandoned by their users and not put back on the rack. To determine this takes time and interrupts your valuable workout time, not to mention irritating you unless you’re slated for sainthood.

Wipe Down the Equipment After You Use It

I don’t care if you are gorgeous, blonde, and Supermodel of the Year, I don’t want to use a machine slick with your perspiration. Use the cleaners and towels most gyms provide and wipe down the padding and upholstery.

Have a great workout!