5 Things You Should Never Do at the Gym

Gym etiquette: the list of no-nos and things you should absolutely avoid doing (or go out of your way to make sure you do do) every time you’re at the gym or fitness center. If you’re a fitness buff or frequent your local health club, you know all of the stereotypical behaviors make working out a hellish experience — the grunters, the gawkers, and the people who can’t or won’t clean up after themselves. They’re breaking etiquette, and everyone else suffers as a result.

Of course, when we use the word “etiquette”, it may conjure up images of high society and hoity-toity dinner parties. Cast that all aside. In this case, we’re simply referring to how you should conduct yourself when you’re at the gym and working out. It’s very basic stuff, too; things that any adult human being should be aware and capable of.

If there is a golden rule when talking about gym etiquette, it’s basically this: treat the gym or fitness center as you would your own house. Clean up after yourself. Don’t be disgusting or crude. And leave it in better condition than you found it. You know, basic grown-up behavior.

Though this is relatively simple stuff, anyone who’s ever set foot in a gym can tell you that somewhere along the line, basic decency breaks down. People start leaving equipment and bodily fluids everywhere, and it becomes acceptable to be rude and inconsiderate to others. Don’t drop down to the level of these Neanderthals. Keep yourself in check.

Here are five things you should never do at the gym.

1. Be a slob

Barbells, weights

Neatly racked dumbbells | iStock

If you can manage to clean up after yourself, you’ll be an unsung hero of the gym. This means you’re unloading and re-racking plates from barbells, putting dumbbells back on the rack, in their proper place, and making sure that you’re leaving the place in better shape than you found it. The one big thing to remember to do? Wipe down equipment when you’re done with it. Get some disinfectant, and get your sweat off of seats and handles — nothing’s worse than feeling someone else’s warm, moist sweat marks when you jump on a piece of equipment.

2. Use equipment incorrectly

A trainer spots a man doing incline dumbbell presses

A trainer spots a man doing incline dumbbell presses | Phil Walter/Getty Images

If you’re new to the gym, it can be intimidating. But don’t just assume you know what you’re doing and jump onto a machine. Observe, and ask questions about how to do certain exercises — or exercises you should avoid in the first place. If you don’t, you won’t only put yourself at risk of injury, but you could hurt other people around you. Most gyms have trainers and staff on-hand to help you get started, so make use of them. And don’t be scared to approach other gym-goers with questions, or to ask about proper form — they were all in your shoes at one time as well.

3. Refuse to play nice

A man glares while doing pushup

A man glares while doing pushups | Source: iStock

Speaking of approaching other gym-goers, if you’re experienced, be nice to those just starting out. Odds are, they’re already nervous and apprehensive about being in an unfamiliar place, doing unfamiliar things. But you’re both there with a common goal in mind: to get in shape and improve yourselves. So lend a helping hand, and don’t be a jerk.

That may also mean that you’re not hogging equipment, and that you’re letting people work in if you’re taking long breaks. Don’t leave your stuff on equipment, or get pissy when other people are invading your space. Odds are, you’re not in a home gym, and you need to play nice with others.

4. Selfies

Young man taking selfie by the sea

Young man taking selfie by the sea | Source: iStock

Yeah, you’re likely to see people taking pictures of themselves at the gym. That doesn’t mean that it’s encouraged — in fact, you should probably just wait to take the workout selfies at home. It’s not the gravest of sins, but a lot of people are sweaty and working hard, and don’t necessarily want to be caught in the background of your pictures, and subsequently plastered onto your social media accounts.

If you’re there to workout, workout. Don’t fiddle around with your phone and take pictures of yourself.

5. Let it fly

A man spits a cherry pit

A man spits a cherry pit | Scott Barbour/Getty Images

This may not be super common, but when you do see it happen, it can be very disgusting. People spitting, launching snot rockets, or any other type of bodily fluid evacuation is not only gross, but it can be a health hazard. While the vast majority of people know they shouldn’t be spitting in the gym, every so often you’ll come across a glob of phlegm or spit on the floor. So, there are people who do it. Just don’t start doing it yourself.

Remember: don’t be a Neanderthal.

Follow Sam on Facebook and Twitter @Sliceofginger

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