If the gym is your home away from home, then you know just how awful it is when others don’t follow proper gym etiquette. Is it necessary to slam your dumbbells on the ground once you’ve completed a hard set? Do you really need to sing all the lyrics to that song you’re listening to as you use the bench press? These are a few pet peeves that group instructors, trainers, and fitness pros from around the world consider some of the worst behaviors when at the gym. Here are all the nagging habits you need to quit.
If You’ve Come To Follow, Then Follow
Going to the gym for a solo workout can be very rewarding and beneficial for those who know what they’re doing. If you are like many who have no clue how to obtain “gains” or work on your cardio, then you might find yourself in a boot camp class. Allie Cohen, a trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp in L.A., shed some light on that environment.
“If you want to do your own workout you should go to the gym on your own, not to boot camp, Cohen said. “It’s very distracting and throws the energy off when one person isn’t practicing.”
Spit Your Gum Out!
For those of you into yoga, you might already be aware of this issue. One thing that can be detrimental to your yoga flow is chewing gum. As nice as it is to chew on your favorite flavor as you meditate, it might not be the best idea.
Lauren Imparato, founder of I.AM.YOU yoga studio in New York City said she has to make her pupils spit the gum out! “If you’re chewing gum, it means you’re not breathing properly, which is the whole way real yoga works,” said Imparato. “I go around and have people spit their gum out if I see it!”
DON’T Channel Your Inner Mariah
Listening to music is almost a necessity when lifting weights or doing anything at a gym. The songs pump you up and get you through your last set better than the sound of others grunting. That doesn’t mean you have to let everyone know what song you’re listening to.
Aly Teich, founder of The Sweat Life said, “Music is a HUGE motivator for getting through your workout, and you should listen to whatever you choose. But that doesn’t mean you should sing along loudly so everyone else can listen too.”
Cut The Circus Act
Okay, you have a lot of muscles and strength. You’re one of the strongest at your gym. We get it! But this does not give you permission to test out your power in all the obscure ways you can imagine (see photo above).
Lauren Gary Rice, Training Manager at DavidBartonGym in Chicago spoke about those who like to pretend they’re in a circus act. “People balance on objects that aren’t meant to be stood on, like stability balls,” Rice said. “They always choose to do it like it’s a dare: Try and balance on this circular object without breaking your neck. Seeing it is believing it.”
Make Sure That Equipment Isn’t In Use
Sometimes, someone might go grab a sip of water from the fountain or run to the restroom for a brief moment. In their absence, he or she might leave out the weights in the area. Avoid picking those dumbbells and weights up.
Vladimir Bermudez, Ph.D., Group Fitness Instructor at Crunch in NYC advises you find your own weights. “If there’s equipment out, that usually means someone’s using it,” Bermudez informed. “There’s enough for everyone, so to take it out from the rack…yourself.”
This next act of gym sins is one that can upset the most tranquil of people…
Doing This Makes You RUDE
When you’re in your zone training and you’re moving around a lot, people around you should respect that area you’re in. It should go without saying that someone shouldn’t just prop their yoga mat in your trajectory and begin doing the cow pose.
“When we’re training, especially if we’re traversing space, people with headphones that aren’t paying attention will put a mat down and start doing a floor-based exercise in the same line,” Rice said. “Which isn’t just annoying, it’s flat out rude.”
Keep going and find out what other habits you or a friend might need to put to rest…
Don’t Act Like A Diva
The word diva has many different definitions. However, the one we’re focused on right now is the infamous gym diva. The person who thinks they’re above everyone else breaking a sweat is who we’re aiming this at.
“If you’re going to take a spot in the middle of the class, don’t leave halfway through,” Bermudez says. “Is that a version of the ‘exit of the diva’?” Save your snobbiness for another venue please and thank you.
Stop Dropping Things…
You probably hear and see this the most while at your local gym. That is, people using the weights and once they’re finished, dropping them to the ground and followed by a loud “thump.” Can we put an end to those days?
“People will be so fatigued after a set that they just throw their weights down, but this is a big safety hazard,” Cohen said. “Although you just pushed it to the limit, carefully place your weights down.”
Wear What’s Appropriate
One of the worst situations someone who is dedicated to the gym can have is forgetting their gym clothes. You’re off work at five, then hit the gym at 5:30, but you only have your work shoes on deck. What you need to do is go pick some up before heading to your workout.
“Converse and skater shoes are not OK to work out in,” Cohen added. “It isn’t safe for you to train if you aren’t wearing proper shoes, so invest in a great pair of workout sneakers.”
We’re almost positive many are guilty of what’s up next…
Respect The Machine Time Limits
How long is too long while using a machine at the gym? During rush hour, there is usually a 30-minute to one-hour limit and people need to follow it. However, if someone is hogging a machine, don’t let that be a reason for you to get out of character.
“While I understand that there are [time] limitations on machines during rush hour for a reason, and those should be respected, it’s rude to stand and give death eyes at someone if they are dominating a machine,” Aly Teich, founder of The Sweat Life, said. “Kindly remind them their time is up, or be creative and get your cardio in another way!”
Don’t Pull Your Phone Out In the Middle of a Class
Our phones have become almost a necessity this day and age. Some of us are lucky and haven’t developed a dependency on them, while others can’t keep them out of their hands for more than ten minutes. In a gym session, you need to learn from the former. Take it from one instructor who had a cycling class attendee who was a little too into the music.
“Unless you’re rocking a sweet Apple Watch on your wrist, your phone with your Shazam app should stay in your bag. Wait until after class to ask the instructor about any and every song you like,” says Sarah Shelton, the instructor at Cycle House LA.
Do You Need To Save?
Going to the gym with a friend can make your workout way more enjoyable. When you’re alone, that extra bit of motivation must come from within instead of from your gym buddy. If your partner is going to be late, don’t bother saving them a spot.
“People take their spot in class very seriously,” Cohen said. “There are a lot of factors like mirror space and fan placement which help people decide where to be in the room. Sometimes your friend doesn’t even show up and you are left looking like a fool.”
Bye-Bye Clock Watchers…
Yes, working out takes a toll on you. There might be somewhere else you’d rather be as well. All that aside, don’t be that person who blatantly acts like you don’t want to be at the gym. It isn’t fair to yourself and others who want to be sweating.
“You chose to be there, pay attention to what you are doing and count reps, not minutes,” said Cohen. “You can also try singing along, it will make the time fly.” Remember not to sing too loud.
Always remember what you should be focusing on…
Keep The Focus On Yourself
Your competitive juices really get flowing while you’re at the gym. That person next to you might pick up the 35-pound dumbbell while you’re on 15 and then you want to jump up ten pounds knowing good and well you can’t do that. Focus on yourself.
“I hate it when people get competitive with you during class, and not in a friendly way,” Aly Teich, founder of The Sweat Life remarked. “You never know if it’s someone’s first class, if they are injured, or just having a bad week. Whatever the case, everyone is at a different level and that’s completely fine.”
Make Sure You’re Protected Properly…
Men have it a little easier when it comes to anatomy structures while working out. For one, guys don’t have a chest capable of lots of movement. That right there is enough to stir distraction and could also lead to problems for the female counterpart.
“[Chests] are bouncing more than ever in class—bottom line, ladies, we need better bras! Poor fitting sports bras can be a big distraction to others and it can also be bad for you,” Shelton said. Better sports bra are a win-win for everyone.
No Need For Greed
For those of you who have multiple sets of dumbbells in your workout bubble; did it ever occur to you that others might be in need of the 25-pounds you aren’t using when you use the 15-pound bells? Such a shocking theory, right?
“Some people have a bad habit of taking several pairs of dumbbells to one area far away from the dumbbell rack, during prime-time hours,” Rice preached. “They’ll take a 5, 10, 12, 15 and a 20, like hoarders!”
Keep Your Clothes Clean!
Sweat is bound to accumulate while you’re hitting the gym. If it doesn’t, you might not be working hard enough. To all of those putting in the proper amount of work, please remember to wash your clothes. You can potentially ruin someone’s day.
“We all have those days, I get it, but the best instructors are hands on. There is nothing worse than going in for an assist on someone in stinky clothes.” Lauren Imparato says. Wash at your friends if you’re out of detergent.
Remember, never forget to be respectful…
Show Some Respect
The lovely employees at the front desks of gyms are only here to help. They get paid to make sure everyone gets in promptly and to help with questions. Nowhere on their job description does it say they should be disrespected by those who frequent the building.
“I think people don’t understand or respect the volume of requests and tasks front desk staff has to deal with,” Aly Teich said. “Being rude to anyone is never acceptable, but this is something I see a lot.”
While the showers at the gym aren’t attached to the water bill at home that you must pay, that doesn’t give you the freedom to take the longest showers you’ve ever had. There are others that need to get in and rinse off as well.
Men and ladies tend to take extremely long showers in the bathrooms after a grueling workout. Pull yourself together and shorten those cleansing times. The world doesn’t revolve around your hygiene needs.
They Have Lockers For A Reason
You know they have lockers available at most gyms? Now that you know better, we hope that you do better. No one wants to see the clutter of your jacket and bags in the aisles as you finish your last rep.
“Don’t put your gym bag, purse, or any luggage next to the bike or on the handlebars,” Bermudez said. “Just like in planes, buses and trains, please keep the aisle free.” Plus, you don’t want anyone to trip up.
Put the Phone Away
We’re all a little too addicted to our phones, but when you’re at the gym, it’s important to keep your phone usage to a minimum. Some people use fitness apps to help them work out, but your phone should be a helpful tool, not a distraction. If you find that you’re going to your fitness app, but then winding up on Instagram, you might have a problem.
Get in the habit of putting your phone away during your workout. If you use it to use a fitness app or like to listen to music on your phone during your work out, you can try putting your phone in airplane mode to avoid distractions.
Don’t Be Too Social
Having someone to work out with is a great way to keep accountable. Dragging yourself to a 6 a.m. boot camp class is much easier when you have someone to be miserable with! But there’s a point when working out together because less about the workout and more about socializing.
If your gym buddy is more of a distraction, you’re not going to get in an effective workout. If the two of you can’t seem to stop talking, catching up for coffee before a workout might be your best bet.
Don’t Ignore the Sanitation Guidelines
It sounds elementary, but there are lots of people out there who think it okay to completely ignore the sanitation guidelines at the gym. Once you’ve re-racked your weights or finished up at a machine, please, please clean up after yourself. Doing so takes all of 30 seconds and will make sure you’re not the most hated person at the gym.
You wouldn’t want to sit in a puddle of leftover sweat from someone, right? Well, neither would they.
Don’t Take Photos of Other People
It goes without saying, but please don’t take photos of people at the gym. Unfortunately, “funny” pictures of people at the gym wind up on social media all of the time. While a video of a person unknowingly using a machine wrong may be funny for three seconds, remember it’s at the expense of a stranger.
Unless they’re breaking one of the aforementioned rules, don’t take a photo of any at the gym…ok, and even if they are breaking the rules – don’t do it.
Don’t Make Personal Calls While on the Treadmill
We’ve already mentioned proper phone etiquette when at the gym, but here’s another. Under no circumstances should you use your time on the treadmill (or any other machine for that matter) to talk on your phone.
Walking on the treadmill can be monotonous, but no one wants to hear the person next to them talk to their best friend about the latest gossip for 45 minutes. Save the call for another time and instead, try listening to an audio book or upbeat playlist.
Don’t Hold That Stretch
As important as stretching is when you live an active life, there’s a time and place for certain types. There is static stretching (hang ten, flamingo, butterfly, etc) and there is dynamic which is high knees and things of that sort.
Before lifting, it’s common that people will hold their static stretches. You need to cut that out and switch to more dynamic stretching before hitting the weights. Reports say that static can limit your performance.
Make Sure You Warm Up
We would be remiss if we didn’t tell you to warm up beforehand. Warming up is vital before any type of physical activity where you’re going to be pushing your body. You’re at high risk of injury and cramps if you dive in without a warm-up.
Whatever that warm-up is, be sure to do it. You can ride the bike for 15 minutes at a moderate pace. Five minutes is ideal, but 15 will have you charged up and ready for action.
You’re Wasting Time With All That Slow Cardio
While it is true that aerobic exercises are crucial for a complete fitness program, hours on hours on the elliptical isn’t going to do the trick. That’s not a good way to lose weight.
You need to also incorporate strength training because that helps produce beneficial hormones. Plus, it helps speeds up your resting metabolism. The bottom line of all this is that relying on only slow cardio isn’t going to get you that far.
You Must Switch Up The Program
One key component that many who lift weights aren’t that aware of is the need to switch up the program. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.
You need to switch up the way you work out in order to achieve your fitness goals. No gains will come if you do the same old curls every Tuesday and Thursday. Learn to incorporate intervals in every other workout, and that’s for veterans and beginners.
Ab Exercises Alone Won’t Give You Abs
When summer comes rolling around and the beaches and pools are filled with people, you want to join in on the fun but looking your best of course. That’s when you start going crazy and doing all these ab exercises.
However, solely relying on core workouts isn’t going to give those summer abs you’ve been craving. You need to perform a well-rounded workout in order to see real results. That’s what separates the one pieces from the two pieces.
Water is pretty much nature’s energy drink. Drink it! If you dare go into a workout without hydrating we can’t tell you how bad you will feel, especially if you sweat a lot. One needs to replace what one loses and water does that perfectly fine.
You don’t need that fancy Gatorade, just get some regular water and call it a day. Be sure to stay hydrated even before you hit the gym. Always replenish what you’ve lost afterward as well.
Watch Your Kids
Being a parent is no easy job. We get that – but if you bring your kids to the gym, make sure you drop them off the onsite daycare when you get there and don’t let them wander aimlessly. There are few things more annoying to gym patrons than a little kid screaming on the gym floor and climbing on top of all of the equipment.
Not only is it annoying, but it’s also not the safest place for a little one to be.
Don’t Use the Gym as a Dating Site
Thanks to Tinder and your local your bar, you can meet lots of lovely singles – but don’t confuse your gym for a real-life dating app. While some people might be flattered that you asked them out (some might even say yes), most people are at the gym to let off some steam and have a good workout.
If someone had to worry about being hit on, the gym quickly becomes another place they feel anxious going to.
Don’t Work Out in Front of the Dumbbell Rack
Lifting weights at the gym? Good for you! Just make sure you don’t do so directly in front of the dumbbell rack. The dumbbell rack can be a high-traffic area, especially during peak hours at the gym.
If your standing in front of the dumbbell rack, other gym goers have a hard time return their weights, which could create a potentially dangerous scenario. No one want to drop a 50-pound dumbbell on their foot!
Watch Your Form
Do you want to know the fastest way to get injured? Doing high-intensity workouts with poor form! We dare you to walk into a deadlift not knowing what you’re doing (we don’t really dare you). You won’t be walking away from the deadlift the same and that’s for sure.
Good form is the basis for all lifting situations. High-intensity workouts are highly effective, but only if you perform them correctly. Perform them too quickly or with your knees caved in can cause serious injury and pain.
Don’t Be Too Talkative
The gym can be a great place to meet new friends. After all, you’re all there to improve your overall health and fitness. But if you’re interrupting people during their workouts, you’re going to come off as rude instead of friendly.
The best thing you can do is become a pro at reading body language. If you want to approach someone and start a conversation, gather nonverbal clues from their body language. Are they in the middle of a workout? Are they in a rest period and about to start a new set? Do they look in the zone?
Don’t Do Crazy Circuit Routines
There are lots of training programs that use circuits. While these workouts are effective, they don’t exactly equate to you being the most courteous gym patron. That’s because circuits often require that you take up lots of space and use lots of equipment…all at the same time.
If you’re attempting to do this during the busy time at the gym, you’re going to be taking up too much space and annoying everyone in the process.
Keep Things Short
Just because eating more causes you to gain weight, working out more doesn’t mean more muscles. When it comes to working out, the quality of the work is far more vital than the quantity of it.
If your routine consists of only cardio, then do it for half an hour and take yourself home. Too much cardio is bad for your heart and the same goes for weight training. Keep it short and target specific groups instead of limping into work the next day after a grueling a long routine.
You Don’t Need All That Protein
We get it, you need your protein to help you achieve all those gains you so badly want. Here’s a newsflash, your body can only process 30 grams at one sitting. The rest gets stored as extra calories which at 3,500 your body turns it into an extra pound of fat.
You also need carbs for muscle contraction and fuel so you need to aim appropriately. That means a balanced attack of 30 percent protein, 25 percent fat, and 45 percent carbohydrates.
Come With a Plan
Be a person with a plan. There’s no excuse to head into the gym and not have a plan ready. When you do that, you end up wasting more time than you usually would and possibly holding up others in the process.
Especially if you’re short on time, one should always come prepped and ready with what they’re going to do. If you’re going around just bouncing from one exercise to another, you’re likely to focus on your favorite muscle groups while disregarding the important ones.