10 Things You Should Never Say to Someone at the Gym

The gym can be a welcome escape during your lunch break, or it can be an uncomfortable place where you’re made to feel inferior. While some people get a thrill out of shaming newbies, others genuinely don’t realize they’re being rude. One way or another, some people are bound to leave with some major self-esteem issues.

If you like to chat with other members, it’s great that you’re friendly. However, it’s important to be careful when it comes to the questions you ask. You might see it as natural curiosity, but some questions should never be asked when you’re at the gym.

So how do you know if you’re being rude? Pay attention to how the person you’re speaking to reacts. If he or she seems uncomfortable or attempts to get away from you, it’s likely you’ve said something insulting. You might be enjoying a conversation with a stranger, but it’s important to pause and make sure the feeling is mutual. Most of the time, non-verbal cues will tell you all you need to know. Here are 10 things you should never say to someone at the gym.

1. Why are you still fat?

overweight woman

You should never ask a stranger about their weight. | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

Don’t assume someone is overweight because they eat too much and don’t exercise enough. For some people, underlying medical conditions hamper weight-loss efforts. One of these medical conditions is hypothyroidism. This disorder occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. An underactive thyroid can result in many unwanted symptoms, such as depression, hair loss, and weight gain.

2. You’re so skinny! Why are you even here?

Woman lifting weights and working on her shoulders

For some it’s about maintaining a physique or gaining muscle. | iStock.com/SolisImages

Most people know fat shaming is wrong, but skinny shaming is just as bad. Don’t make someone feel embarrassed for being on the thin side. Besides, the point of going to the gym is to maintain an active lifestyle and reduce the chances of developing a disease that could be caused by remaining sedentary. Every adult who is physically able should exercise, regardless of their size.

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults should get at least two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week in addition to muscle-strengthening activities that work each of the major muscle groups on two or more days a week. Just make sure to consult your physician before attempting a new exercise program.

3. Can you hold my spot?

Two women and men using cycling machines

No one is responsible for the equipment you use. | iStock.com/mangoStar_Studio

If you have to use the restroom, do it before gym class or before using the elliptical machines. No one is required to guard your favorite spot in class. Either give up your precious piece of equipment or hold it. Sorry, no sympathy here.

4. How much do you weigh?

female feet on a weighing scale

A lot of people don’t like to discuss their weight. | iStock.com

It’s none of your business how much someone weighs. Unless you happen to be close friends, it’s rude to ask someone at the gym about his or her weight. Stop being nosy and focus on your own fitness goals.

5. You’re not doing that exercise correctly

man exercising

Unless you’re a personal trainer, you can probably keep your tips to yourself. | iStock.com/LUNAMARINA

Are you a personal trainer? If not, keep your opinion to yourself. Don’t go around correcting people’s form. If you really think a gym member is at risk for injury, alert a staff member.

6. You shouldn’t be eating/drinking that

woman eating fruit cake

Telling people what to put in their bodies isn’t your place either. | iStock.com

There’s nothing like a satisfying snack after a tough workout. However, there’s nothing more annoying than having a random gym patron give you a speech about your eating habits. Again, keep your opinion to yourself and let your fellow gym member snack in peace. Unless his or her behavior directly affects your health, which we doubt, don’t say anything.

7. You look great for someone your age

man doing ab exercises in the gym

Don’t be offensive when it comes to someones age. | iStock.com/Barryj13

Whenever a compliment starts with “you look great for…” stop right there. Most likely, your comment is a veiled insult. Just say “you look great,” and stop there. There’s no need to mention someone’s age, gender, or race when giving a compliment.

8. Your (insert body part here) looks hot in that outfit

Man and woman exercising with dumbbells

Most people aren’t going to the gym to get hit on. | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

There’s a difference between saying someone looks great and saying a certain part of someone’s anatomy looks great. Unless you’re dating that person, don’t comment on particular parts of someone’s body. While some people might be flattered, most won’t. You might even find yourself with a sexual harassment accusation.

9. Are you pregnant?

Pregnant woman holding belly

It’s best to never ask a woman this question. | iStock.com/tamaravidmar

Unless it’s glaringly obvious that a woman is expecting, don’t ask. She could be battling a tummy bulge. And women who have given birth don’t typically see their stomach flatten out right away, according to The Bump. No matter the exact circumstances, you’re just setting yourself up for a potentially awkward encounter.

10. I’m surprised you can afford to work out here

lady works out for upper or lower back

It’s never a good idea to judge. | iStock.com/Sujay_Govindaraj

Don’t look at someone and assume he or she can’t afford the gym membership based on appearance. And don’t assume a person who looks a certain way is able to work out at the same pricey gym as you because of some kind of under-the-table deal. Be respectful of your fellow gym members and don’t automatically jump to conclusions based on what your eyes tell you.

Follow Sheiresa on Twitter @SheiresaNgo.