How not to be a d**khead at the gym.

Follow these rules and you’ll look like this… maybe.

The gym can be a scary place sometimes. And I’m not talking about the rows of shiny weight machines that line the walls, silently mocking you as you try and figure out how to use them.

I’m talking about gym etiquette. There are thousands of unwritten rules that go along with every gym and you’re somehow expected to magically know them, even if you are a complete gym-novice with absolutely zero idea in terms of what you’re doing.

To protect you from the death stares and the cranky thoughts from other gym users, I’ve put together your Ultimate Guide To Gym Etiquette for every corner of the gym, no matter what you’re doing.

1. So you’re… taking part in a group fitness class

People can get cranky when it comes to group fitness classes. I feel like it has something to do with confined spaces. Also, fitness classes are generally at the very beginning or the end of the day, when participants are on a level somewhere between tired and really freaking exhausted.

Just make sure you follow the below steps so you can get in and out in peace and keep everyone around you happy:

– Get to the gym early, put your stuff away and then line up outside class so that you’re ready to walk in when it’s time to begin. But remember that you’re going to get a spot and there’s no need to barge in – let everyone exit the class before you smuggle your way into with your yoga mat. This situation got so out of hand at my gym that they actually put up a little rope that everyone has to wait behind before the class begins. Be cool, you guys.

– If you’re running late, general consensus is to not bother joining the class at all. A Huffington Post survey named coming in late to a class as the most irritating thing you can do at the gym. It’s rude, it distracts everyone (particularly in the case of quiet classes such as yoga) and many classes won’t let you join in anyway if you’ve missed the warm-up.

– Bring a towel and water, and if you’re not using your own yoga mat, be sure to wipe your mat down after the class. Especially if you have been doing hot yoga – your mat REALLY needs a wipedown if you’ve lost several litres of sweat throughout the class.

– Tell the instructor if you’re new to the class. They’re there to help you and guide you through the classes and it’s better that they’re aware of anyone who might be nervous.

– Be courteous and respect personal space. If your pilates class is VERY packed, keep an eye out for where the person next to you is putting their arms so you can avoid a weird accidental-hand-holding situation.

– Don’t carry on personal conversations during the class or crack jokes even though it is sometimes very tempting, especially when you fall over while attempting Happy Baby pose in yoga and your friend laughs at you.


– Please try your hardest not to fart.

2. So you’re… conquering the weights

Good on you! Although weights training is going OFF amongst women these days, the weights section of the gym remains dominated by men.

If you want to act like you belong, try this:

Leaving behind a sweaty machine won’t make you any friends.

– Always have a towel with you and use it when you’re using machines or sitting on the benches. It’s also nice to make use of those nice disinfectant cloths they have hanging around the gym if you are having a particularly sweaty day.

– Put all equipment away where you found it. This is a biggie, because people get frustrated if they can’t find the 4kg hand weights where the 4kg hand weights are supposed to be, because the 4kg hand weights are weirdly hanging out with the kettlebells over in the opposite corner.

– Don’t talk to people who look like they are lifting heavy things. You may break their concentration and they may break their face.

– Feel free to hog equipment if you are one of three people in the gym, and the other two people are grandmothers that have turned up for aqua-aerobics. Otherwise, don’t be that person that takes their sweet time with the squat racks while others are clearly lined up and hoping to use it. Do your workout and move on.

– Make friends with your fellow weights comrades – you can spot each other, or work in with each other so that one person does reps while the other person rests. Being friendly takes pretty much no effort and can make someone’s day truly better.

It’s not just the long rows of big, shiny equipment that’s intimidating.

– Don’t give anyone advice unless they specifically ask for it and you know what you’re talking about.

3. So you’re… using the treadmill

You’ll be happy to know that the rules are pretty basic when you’re using the cardio machine, largely because they don’t generally involve interaction with anyone else – unless you decide to strike up a conversation with the woman next to you who’s somehow running at a +10 incline and not even breaking a sweat. Just remember:

– Don’t hog the treadmill/spin bike/elliptical – half an hour is considered pretty reasonable in most gyms during peak hours of the day.

– Of course, clean it off after you use it, even if you’ve just been gripping the handlebars.

Do you have any etiquette tips to share? What annoys you most when you’re at the gym?

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