Whenever you’re in a gym, like for example Bally Total Fitness or David Barton Gym, you may find some posters and reminders as to what you should or shouldn’t do. But there are some rules which are so obvious that they’re not mentioned, except that these rules are actually broken all the time. So to avoid confusion, let’s put all these obvious rules in an actual list.
Do not touch other people’s stuff.
There are no exceptions to this rule. You need to respect other people’s property. Even moving them from one area to a place just a few inches forward is not okay. It’s disorienting to find your things moved, and it can make people think that they’ve been robbed. At the very least, they’ll feel disrespected.
Stop staring at the women.
Now it’s understandable if every now and then your attention is piqued by a beautiful and fit woman in a very revealing outfit. But you need to put your mind back to what you’re there for—to exercise. You’re not there to ogle women. Staring at them is a total breach of etiquette. Their outfit wasn’t probably chosen to tease you, but because it’s best for their workout. Show some respect, and avert your gaze.
In fact, stop staring even at the men regardless of whether or not you’re gay. It doesn’t matter if you stare at them in envy and you wish you had their muscles. It’s disconcerting and uncomfortable for the guy you’re staring at.
Don’t run to help a female lifter on the bench press.
Unless, of course, she specifically asks for help. Women in gyms sometimes have to endure some form of harassment from jerks, and they’re often hit upon by guys. There’s no need to add to the problems they already have, and if you offer help they don’t ask for, then you’re another problem they have to deal with. And no woman likes to have some strange guy’s groin inches from their head when they’re working out.
Don’t offer unsolicited advice.
It doesn’t matter if you know for a fact that someone isn’t doing an exercise properly—it’s not your business. It only becomes your business if their mistake offers some sort of risk for you. Otherwise, keep your mouth shut and mind your own business. You have your own problems to deal with.
Wipe of your sweat from the machine.
Some people sweat a lot, and that’s not their fault. It’s a genetic thing when people look like they’re literally melting. If you are one of these guys, then at least you can make sure that you wipe of the sweat every time you finish using a machine. It’s disgusting for others if you don’t.
And of course, you should really refrain from spotting people on the bench press if your forehead is like a source of constant dripping. Nobody wants your sweat dripping on their face.
Be mindful of high traffic areas in the gym.
Some areas are not meant for you to do your workouts, because too many people are walking through them. So don’t jump rope or swing kettles when you’re in these areas, because you’re liable to hurt someone in the process. Avoid dangerous exercises near these areas too. Keep yourself out of the way in the corner.
Don’t go near someone who’s in the middle of the set.
Give him enough space to move around. Getting too near is distracting and it can really be disruptive. A lot of injuries can happen because of this sort of thing because you accidentally bump into him or he’s trying to avoid hitting you.
Never talk to someone in a middle of a set.
I can’t stress this enough. Never do this. It’s distracting, annoying, and dangerous for the other guy. It’s dangerous for you too, because he’ll be fully justified in bashing your brains in for trying to talk to him when he’s in the middle of a set.
Don’t bother anyone who’s wearing a set of headphones.
Those headphones are there for a reason—these guys don’t want to be bothered. Headphones are like shields and “do not approach” signs. Besides, talking to someone who can’t hear you (or pretending not to hear you) makes you look like an idiot.
If you don’t know how to use a particular machine, ask around.
There are a lot of helpful people in gyms, and you’ll always find someone eager to impart some wise words. You can always look for someone in authority so that you can be sure that you are getting the right info.
What you don’t want to do is to use a machine that you’re not familiar with. This can make you look stupid, or worse, get you hurt in a lot of possible horrendous ways.