Whether it’s explosive, stomach-curdling BO, curling where you’re not supposed to, or painting every piece of equipment with freshly manufactured sweat, there’s always one person that the collective gym population would LOVE to banhammer forever. Don’t turn into THAT guy (or girl), especially if you’re new.
Unwritten rules exist. It’s gym culture.
We’ve compiled 14 BIG Reasons Why You Might Be A Gym Idiot; an etiquette guide, of sorts, to help clean up the gym floor and create a better all-around workout environment. Some of these infractions are so egregious that even the most level-headed gym junkie might explode like a seismic volcano. Follow the rules and you’ll automatically look like a veteran.
What do you HATE most? Am I being too critical? What would you ADD?
1. You curl in the squat rack.
I firmly believe that gyms need to hang signs like the one above. Squatting is confined to two places: squat racks and smith machines. Most gyms have 2-3 max.
You can do bicep curls in approximately 1,345,183 different places throughout the gym — WHY DO PEOPLE INSIST ON DOING THEM IN THE SQUAT RACK!? It’s stupid, inconsiderate, and lazy.
Stop it. There’s no quicker way to get dirty looks.
2. You’re not a gentleman.
Remember rule #1 from Wedding Crashers — “Never leave a fellow Crasher behind. Crashers take care of their own.”
Just because you’re in a gym doesn’t mean that the manners and etiquette of being, you know, a man magically evaporate. Don’t just stand there like a neanderthal — HELP the cute girl unload the squat rack; especially if someone inevitably left it stacked with 8 plates (more on that later).
If someone’s clearly waiting for a machine, ask them if they’d like to work in. Spot someone if they’re struggling. You don’t need to be a trainer, but be a decent human being.
Maybe you’ll get a number, too.
3. You fill up your ENTIRE water bottle with a line behind you.
Regardless of whether it’s a water bottle, milk jug, or Camelback, filling your drinking apparatus up to the top takes forever.
If people are waiting in line, don’t be the person that makes 6 dehydrated people behind you suffer in agony — fill it up for 10 seconds and go to the end of the line and/or refill the rest later.
4. You offer unsolicited advice.
Unless someone approaches you and asks for help, do not critique their form. Do not feel like you’re entitled to assess their workout plan and offer what you feel is “more effective.” Do not tell anyone to turn their music down because you think blasting Skrillex will make them go deaf in 45 years.
The personal trainers hired by the gym don’t do it — why should you? Leave everyone else be and focus on your OWN workout. Case closed.
5. You use your phone while on equipment.
No — you don’t own that bench press, squat rack, dip bar, or leg press. The gym’s a communal place with limited equipment, and most likely someone’s quietly waiting to use it as soon as you’re done (especially during peak hours)
Give them the same respect back; be alert, be aware, and do not dilly-dally on your phone in between sets if you’re using something. It slows everyone down.
On top of that, you’re cheating yourself out of the best possible workout. Phone abuse = bleeding focus and intensity, which directly correlates to less-optimal results and immediately signals to everyone else that you’re a part of gym amateur hour.
6. You Hulk-slam weights down.
Cool, you’re super strong and love Hulk-slamming the bar down after you do a barbell row. I love when magnitude 5 earthquakes ripple across the floor, down through the yoga studio on the bottom level.
There’s no reason to repeatedly slam weights down or throw them intentionally from mid-air; freaking out as if you’re Richard Sherman after the NFC Championship. If it’s literally so heavy that you consistently can’t finish a movement, it’s not having any benefit anyway — drop it down (no pun intended).
And if you’re throwing dumbbells, there’s always the chance they’ll bounce on someone’s foot. Or phone, which they probably deserve.
*DOES NOT APPLY — a small drop at the bottom of deadlifts is natural, just don’t slam the bar down. And occasionally you might have to unintentionally drop the weight if your body fails. It’s okay, it happens.
7. You hoard equipment.
Pick one piece of equipment, bang out your sets, and then move on to something else. I’m all for circuit training, but know your surroundings — sometimes it’s not practical to occupy both a barbell and cable station for your bench press–cable crossover superset.
You don’t have the right to occupy 2-3 machines at once if the gym’s packed; if it’s a barren wasteland, go crazy.
Owner/Editor-In-Chief of LeanItUP.com, Contributor for Men's Health. I like abs, Cam Newton, silliness, burning cals, & vacation breakfast buffets.
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