Gym Etiquette

Gyms are a mish-mash of different characters; the would-be marathon runner plodding along on the treadmill with swingy chicken-winged arms, the grunting heaving “I pick things up” body builder amateur, the wolf pack of chest bumping “c’mon man just 1 more” teenage boys, the must have a flat stomach 1 hour of crunches tweenies and the bouncing jumping so full of energy it’s illegal cross fitters.

However no matter who you are or why you go to the gym we all have one thing in common: we strive to make ourselves better, faster & stronger. But it’s no wonder that with so many different characters in the one setting there can be a few “frustrating” technicalities. However being the genius that I am, I have come up with a few “rules” we should all abide by to help keep the peace and increase the productivity of other gym goers.

1. Thou shall use the mirrors appropriately.

Believe it or not, mirrors were not installed in the weights area so that you can see your biceps bulge or your forearms flex nor were they installed to make for convenient Instagram “look who’s at the gym” pictures. Am I the only one who finds the irony of a gym selfie titled “working out”? (Clearly you are working the mirror hard, not the free weights…) But back on topic, mirrors in gyms are needed to watch technique – you know knee alignment, foot stance etc etc And this is for highly functional and dynamic exercises, a category for squats, deadlifts, weightlifting – not bicep curls & tricep extensions. I don’t know how many times I have noticed someone in the gym using the mirrors to take a “selfie” – from the harmless “Hey look at my cute singlet!” to “Check out my flexed abs bro!” included with shirt pulled. (Not even joking, I saw this last week). Either way, a selfie in the gym is a no-no! Out of the gym? Sure go for your life, I would love to see your new gear with the backdrop of your bedroom or bathroom though! Please don’t take offence if you are one of these people, just try to understand nobody wants to have to fight for mirror space because your 5th selfie isn’t making your arms look “skinny” enough or because you have 1 hair out of place (guys I’m looking at you, sadly it’s more men than the gals that tend to preen in the mirrors…)

2. If thy is strong enough to lift it, thy is strong enough to put it away.

There is nothing more frustrating than doing the awkward back shuffle after heading towards the squat rack and seeing it already plated up. Is somebody using it? Or did somebody forget to unload the bar? Not only is it awkward to stand like a creeper watching the rack, it is then frustrating to realise that no you fool and have been tricked (again) and that some inconsiderate fellow gym-er has left their plates still on the bar. Haha, so funny… not. I do not want to feel like a fool full stop. Nor do I want to spend quality minutes of my gym time unloading the plates, only then to reload the bar with the weight I want. It’s simple really – if you are stronger enough to rep that weight on the bar then you are strong enough to put the plates away. However if you are not, maybe then you should use lighter weights, yes?

Gym rules2

3. The gym does not need (nor want) to hear thy’s enthusiasm.

Sure, I’m with you fellow gym friend. It is pretty darn exciting when you reach a new PB. However I do not know you and you do not know me, therefore it’s no surprise that the gym doesn’t erupt in synchronised fist pumps when you exclaim out loud “Yeah Man!” “Just one more… Yesssss!” “I’m pumpin’ today!” Yeah, now you see what I mean… Maybe it’s time to save such overwhelming excitement until you can send a Snapchat to your mates – after your session that is.

4. Thou shall keep noise to a minimum.

Similar to rule number 3 – general noises (apart from the cranking tunes) should be kept to on a must need basis. This encompasses extensive chit-chat & gorilla grunts. During my studies we were taught a simple rule to use with clients: the “talk test”. Basically the talk test means if you can hold a conversation during exercise, the intensity isn’t high enough. Sometimes I feel this rule should be adopted in public gyms: we don’t all want to hear who hooked by with whom and who passed out where on the weekend. However gossip isn’t the biggest culprit, excessive grunting is the worst. When  lifting maximum weights, even I can make a small noise of effort (lady-like noises of course!) however there always seems to be that 1 person that takes their noises of effort to the next level, not just a grunt or two but a whole jungle of noises – grunts, sighs, groans. Simply put if the noises you are making sound like they should be kept behind closed bedroom doors then it is probably not entirely appropriate at the gym…

5. Thou shall not be a creeper.

Pretty self explanatory. Interrupting a fellow gym goer’s workout with leering or offers of “spotting” are just plain rude, let alone creepy. It’s the equivalent to “How you doing?” as a pick up resource. Never. Going. To. Work. Everrrrrr. If you see a fit chick or dude in the gym maybe don’t stand suspiciously close to them and stare unblinkingly. See? Creeeeeeper! Surely you can be more creative than that if you do have designs to pick up at the gym. After all, you aren’t paying a large fee to find a plus one – that’s what online dating is for.

So next time you are at the gym remember: thou is at the gym to exercise – nothing more, nothing less. Let’s make a pact. From now on we only go to the gym to sweat, become stronger and work harder. Deal?


– JB xx



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