A gym locker room is a sacred place. It’s your pump-up spot before it’s time to get shredded. It’s your zen-filled zone after your tough workout. It’s everything you’d want it to be, and so much more — so let’s keep it that way. When it comes to etiquette, there are do’s and don’ts in any sort of venue, and you don’t want to get caught violating any well-known practices. Here are five things you should never do in a locker room.
1. Don’t empty your water bottle in the sauna
Unless there are specific instructions to pour water onto stones or coals, don’t take it upon yourself to do so. A sauna is a delicate luxury, so it’s best to leave it up to the pros (aka the gym employees and maintenance workers). “Unless you are in an authentic Swedish sauna with geothermal rocks,” said Keva Silversmith, author of Gymsanity: A Humorous Take On Gym Insanity, “you’re just dumping water onto an expensive box of electronics — damaging the unit at best and starting a fire at worst.”
2. Don’t bring females through the locker room
It should go without saying, but please, don’t be that guy. “You would be surprised how often this happens — women on a gym tour with a male staff member instinctively follow him through the locker room on the way out to the pool,” Silversmith said.
3. Don’t spray fragrances
Everyone likes to smell good, but not everyone likes to smell the same way. And have you imagined how overly-scented the locker room would become if every guy in there was using a spray product? Formerly a world-class competition winning bodybuilder, Dimitri Sonck says that one of the biggest gym etiquette rules he’s seen involves aerosol deodorant. “Deodorant type is a matter of preference, so it is rude to douse everyone within a 10-foot radius with your favorite scent, yet I’ve seen it done far too many times at the gym,” Sonck said. “Some people are also allergic to some of the chemicals in the spray, so it can also be hazardous to certain individuals.” If you must use a spray, make sure no one else is around and keep it very close to your body, and preferably apply it in an open, well-ventilated area.
4. Chit-chat in the buff
Sure, being naked in the gym locker room is inevitable, but making small talk while standing there stark naked can, and should, be avoided. We’ve all heard the golden rule of “don’t look down in the showers,” but beyond that, try to towel yourself when possible, just because, well, you know. Frank Latella, self-defense instructor at Strength 4 Combat, tells us this rule of etiquette tops the list. “No one wants to hear, ‘Bro, you have really hard kicks, we should be partners next class’ coming from the mouth of a bare skin man. The civilized person with a towel wrapped snug around his body just smiles awkwardly and thinks, ‘Is he implying he has something hard, too? I gotta get out of here!'” Latella joked.
5. Don’t use the restroom with your weight gloves on
This is just a recipe for germ city. According to Richie Frieman, the world-renowned etiquette writer and coach, Modern Manners Guy for Quick and Dirty Tips Network, and No. 1 best-selling author of REPLY ALL… And Other Ways To Tank Your Career, this is a definite no-no. “Many people think that wearing weight-lifting gloves is like a germ defector and they don’t have to wash their hands if they’re wearing gloves,” Frieman said. “NO, NO, NO!” The rule to follow, Frieman tells us, is that once you step into a bathroom, you are to wash your hands — so quit being lazy and just take your gloves off.