9 Ways Not To Be A Jerk When You're At The Gym
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Health and Wellness

9 Ways Not To Be A Jerk When You're At The Gym

An incomplete guide to gym etiquette.

9 Ways Not To Be A Jerk When You're At The Gym

The gym is meant for everybody. That's right, everybody. Do you have a pulse? Do you have a body? Then the gym is for you. It doesn't matter if you like to stretch out at the yoga mats, do laps in the pool, stream "New Girl" while you spin away on the stationary bike, or summon a laconic yell from the depth of your being at the squat rack.

Moreover, it doesn't matter what your race, gender, creed, religion, or ability may be: you have a right to attend the gym and use it just as much as anyone else. At times, using the gym can be intimidating for newcomers, especially when a few regular attendees don't do their part to promote a good atmosphere.

Even some regular gym attendees get put off by such gym clowns. That being said, here are a few unspoken rules of the gym that EVERYONE should follow so that the gym can continue to be a respectable and inclusive environment.


Ah... what a beautiful sight to behold.

Weightlifting by CrossFit Milo

I could probably write an entire 2,000-word essay on this topic alone. This has to be my #1 pet peeve, and most other gym goers feel the same way. I don't know about you, but when I go to the gym, my mom doesn't come with me to clean up my mess. I suspect your mom doesn't either. So, if you were strong enough to load those six plates on to the leg press, then you should be strong enough to unload and re-rack them once you're done. Consider this: someone who might not be as strong as you are might want to use whatever equipment you loaded up on. It's going to be really hard for them to unload all of those weights and they could get injured. Furthermore, it is NOT the job of the people at the gym to take care of the graveyard of dumbbells you decided would look good on the ground after you ran the rack. When you leave the gym floor a mess with weights, you put others at risk, you are disrespecting the facility and its equipment, and you are disrespecting other patrons and the staff. Don't be disrespectful like that; it is a hallmark of a weak person.

2. Leave other patrons alone.

Andrew doesn't actually like pilates, but his gym crush does. Don't be like Andrew.

Reformer Pilates Photography Couples Arm Exercise by Runway Pilates

See a handsome dude slaying sled pushes? Captivated by a pretty lady whose bench is better than yours? Leave them be. Do not distract them from their workouts and try to flirt with them. You can, by all means, give a benign "hello", or smile and wave at them, but it's safe to assume that they aren't at the gym to get hit on. They are at the gym to workout. Don't conduct yourself like you are at a bar or a club: the gym is not a place to be a pick-up artist. By no means am I saying that you can't have a gym crush, but approach it respectfully! Try to strike up a conversation when they're clearly not working out, and arrange getting to know them outside the gym instead.

3. If the gym is packed, don't clown around.

This is how you and your gym buddy look when you monopolize the squat rack to do overhead presses.

clowns by Rikki O'Neill

Please, for the love of Arnold Schwarzenegger, don't hog equipment when the gym is packed and don't use equipment for anything other than its intended purposes when there is clearly a number of people waiting to use it. For instance, don't take up an entire trainer cable machine to do some garish windshield wipers abdominal move when there are plenty of pull up bars free for your monkey-esque tomfoolery. Additionally, a major no-no is using the squat rack for anything other than squats when the gym is packed or using the deadlifting platform for anything but deadlifts. It is called a SQUAT RACK, not a shrug rack, not a bicep curls rack, and not a standing rows rack. It is called a DEAD LIFTING PLATFORM, not a Blogilates platform (no shade to Blogilates, but much shade to anyone who thinks the deadlifting platform is for mountain climbers).

Now, if you are in the gym at 5 AM or some other hour that it's normally dead, feel free to experiment as you please. Use the leg press as a side-kick machine. Hog the squat rack for 30 minutes. If the gym is deserted and you're not inconveniencing anyone, it's okay to do the unconventional so long as you don't get injured or leave a mess.

4. Don't hog cardio equipment

How I Learned the Importance of Cardio the Hard Way by Trending News

Most gyms don't allow patrons to use machines such as the treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bikes for more than 45 minutes. The only problem is that they don't really enforce this rule. Still, if you see the gym is packed and you know you've been on a machine for a while and there are none other free, you should give someone else a go. Again, if the gym is deserted, go ahead and stay on that treadmill for 2 hours. Being a powerlifter, I don't understand why you would want to do that, but you do you!

5. Is it thumb day? FOCUS!

Don't be this person.

Gym Texting by Eric G Brown

It kills me. I'm at the gym, it's moderately packed, and I'm trying to find my way on to a bench, only both benches are taken. Moreover, one of them is taken by someone who keeps taking 10 minute long breaks between sets, staring vacantly at his phone. Now, I understand taking a break between heavy sets, but anything beyond a 5-minute break is too long, regardless of your goal. Moreover, you should really try to home in on your workout and look at your phone as little as possible. I understand if you need to look at your phone to monitor the time or if you need to shuffle through your music because "Africa" by Toto isn't your ideal dead lifting anthem, but seriously if you're being a fiend on Snapchat and you're hogging equipment, you're being a major jerk.

6. Don't nap at the gym

This is actual stretching. What the stretching mats are for. Take notes.

yoga by Edwin Keijzer

The yoga/stretching area looks pretty comfy and inviting, doesn't it? You wouldn't mind a minute (or 10) of laying there watching viral YouTube videos after the grueling 40 minutes of cardio you just did... BUT don't succumb to your desires! Those mats are for actual stretching and core workouts. Not napping! Not laying on your back and watching V-Sauce on your phone! Save it for your bed when you're home. Seriously, it's super annoying when I'm trying to stretch my legs for a heavy leg day but barely have any room because you decided to starfish on the mats and watch 20 minutes of Rick and Morty. Don't do this. You are actually using up valuable space for your nonsense.

7. Don't "claim" equipment

Olympic Weightlifting by CrossFit Milo

If I've seen it once, I've seen it a thousand times. Powerlifters are particularly guilty of setting up camp at, say, a squat rack, where they will spend an actual complete hour just doing squats on squats. They'll bring their entire duffel bag (regardless of the gym's rules about no personal equipment being allowed on the floor), a gallon of water, three pairs of shoes, a 1 lb. cube of chalk, and a barrel of creatine and leave it on the rack while they go take a 10-minute long bathroom break. All while people are waiting for the squat rack. Sometimes, someone will start to unload the bar and use the squat rack in the power lifter's absence, because the bar was left unattended for so long. Indignant and surprised, the powerlifter will return from his or her expedition beyond the gym floor, knee braces and all, saying "Hey! I was still on that!". Except, no, they weren't.

Two takeaways here: 1- Don't leave equipment unattended if you still want to use it. 2- Don't leave your crap in the rack thinking it signifies that the rack is yours or something. Those are mega jerk moves. I don't care how good your ATG squat is.

8. Don't film people without their permission

WOD 3-14-18 by CrossFit Milo

See someone looking silly on the floor? Is there a fool half-repping a weight way too heavy for him? Don't film them and put it on the internet to mock them-- that's really rude. If you see them doing something wrong and they're at risk for injury, go ask them if they need some help in the most diplomatic way possible. Don't make fun of someone behind their back for their lack of knowledge: no one was born with complete gym knowledge. Leave that attitude in middle school, it's for weak people.

9. Don't run your mouth

Do you think these dudes got this yoked from chatting up a storm on the floor? (They did not).

gym bros by jil eze

You're here to run miles, not your mouth. Don't take up space in the middle of the floor loudly chatting up one of your pals. Please do work. It's okay to have a conversation here and there, especially if it pertains to your workout, but the whole gym doesn't need to hear about your questionable weekend excursions.

Those are just a few of the major grievances that I along with other lifters and gym goers have to say. Adhere to these and you will ensure you don't get kicked out of your gym nor upset other patrons! Gains for all! Hooray!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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