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How to Be a Good Gym Citizen: A Guide to Gym Etiquette

Going to the gym can be a great way to improve your health, fitness and mood. But it can also be a source of stress, frustration and annoyance if you don’t follow some basic rules of gym etiquette. Gym etiquette is not just about being polite and courteous, but also about being safe, hygienic and respectful of others. In this blog post, I will share some of the most important do’s and don’ts of gym etiquette for every situation.

Before You Go to the Gym

  • Shower and wear clean clothes. Nobody likes to smell someone else’s sweat or body odor, so make sure you are fresh and clean before you hit the gym. Also, wash your workout clothes regularly and avoid wearing anything that is too revealing, too tight or too loose. You want to be comfortable and confident, not distracting or inappropriate.
  • Bring a towel and a water bottle. These are essential items for any gym-goer. A towel will help you wipe off your sweat and keep the equipment clean for the next user. A water bottle will keep you hydrated and prevent you from using disposable cups or plastic bottles that create waste. Some gyms may provide these items for you, but it’s always better to bring your own just in case.
  • Read the rules and signs at your gym. Every gym has its own policies and regulations that you need to follow. For example, some gyms may not allow chalk, dropping weights, barefoot training or certain types of exercises. Make sure you are familiar with the rules and signs at your gym and respect them. If you are not sure about something, ask a staff member or a trainer for clarification.

In the Weight Room

  • Put away your equipment when you are done. This is probably the most important rule of gym etiquette. Leaving weights, dumbbells, kettlebells, mats or other equipment lying around is not only rude, but also dangerous. Someone could trip over them, injure themselves or damage the equipment. Always return your equipment to its proper place after using it and make sure it is organized and tidy.
  • Don’t hog the equipment or the space. The gym is a shared space, so be mindful of how much time and space you are taking up. Don’t occupy a machine or a bench for longer than necessary, especially if someone else is waiting for it. Don’t spread out your belongings all over the floor or take up more than one rack or station at a time. Don’t block someone else’s view of the mirror or interfere with their workout. Be considerate and share the equipment and the space with others.
  • Ask before you work in or take someone’s equipment. Sometimes, you may want to use a piece of equipment that someone else is using or resting on. In that case, you should always ask them politely if you can work in with them or take their equipment when they are done. Don’t assume that they are finished or that they don’t mind sharing. Wait for their permission before you proceed and thank them afterwards.

In Group Fitness Classes

  • Arrive on time and sign up in advance if required. Group fitness classes are a great way to have fun and get motivated by others. But they also require some planning and punctuality on your part. If you want to join a class, make sure you arrive on time and sign up in advance if required by your gym. Don’t show up late or try to squeeze in without registering, as this may disrupt the class and annoy the instructor and other participants.
  • Follow the instructor’s cues and directions. The instructor is there to guide you through the class and help you get the most out of it. So pay attention to their cues and directions and follow them as best as you can. Don’t do your own thing or ignore their instructions, as this may affect your safety and performance as well as those around you. If you have any questions or concerns, ask them before or after the class, not during it.
  • Respect the personal space and level of others. Group fitness classes are meant to be inclusive and supportive of everyone’s abilities and goals. So respect the personal space and level of others in the class and don’t judge them or compare yourself to them. Don’t crowd someone else’s spot or bump into them during the movements. Don’t show off or try to outdo someone else in the class. Don’t criticize or correct someone else’s form or technique, unless you are the instructor or they ask you for help.

In the Locker Room

  • Keep your belongings in a locker or a bag. The locker room is where you store your personal belongings and get ready for your workout or shower. It is not a place to leave your stuff all over the benches, counters or floors. Keep your belongings in a locker or a bag and lock them up if possible. Don’t take up more space than you need and don’t leave your valuables unattended.
  • Be quick and discreet when changing or showering. The locker room is also where you change your clothes and shower after your workout. It is not a place to linger or show off your body. Be quick and discreet when changing or showering and use a towel or a robe to cover yourself if you are not comfortable being naked in front of others. Don’t stare at or comment on someone else’s body or appearance. Don’t use someone else’s toiletries or towels without their permission.
  • Clean up after yourself and dispose of your trash properly. The locker room is also where you groom yourself and get ready to leave the gym. It is not a place to make a mess or leave behind your trash. Clean up after yourself and dispose of your trash properly in the bins provided. Don’t leave your hair, soap, shaving cream or other products on the sinks, showers or floors. Don’t flush anything other than toilet paper down the toilets.

In the Sauna and Steam Room

  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear. The sauna and steam room are where you relax and detoxify your body after your workout. They are not places to wear whatever you want or go barefoot. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear that are clean, dry and comfortable. Don’t wear anything that is too revealing, too sweaty or too smelly. Don’t go barefoot or wear shoes that are dirty or wet.
  • Limit your time and be quiet. The sauna and steam room are also where you enjoy some peace and quiet after your workout. They are not places to stay for too long or make noise. Limit your time to 10 to 15 minutes per session and allow others to use the facilities as well. Be quiet and respectful of others who are trying to relax and meditate. Don’t talk loudly, play music, watch videos or make phone calls.


  • Be friendly and supportive of everyone. The gym is a place where everyone should feel welcome and comfortable, regardless of their age, gender, race, size, shape, ability or goal. So be friendly and supportive of everyone in the gym and treat them with kindness and respect. Don’t make assumptions, stereotypes or judgments about anyone based on their appearance or behavior. Don’t harass, bully, intimidate or discriminate against anyone for any reason.
  • Ask for help if you need it and offer help if you can. The gym is also a place where everyone should feel safe and confident, regardless of their experience level or knowledge. So ask for help if you need it and offer help if you can in the gym. Don’t be afraid to ask a staff member, a trainer or another gym-goer for assistance, advice or feedback if you are unsure about something or want to learn something new. Don’t be arrogant, condescending or rude to anyone who asks you for help or offers you help in the gym.

Bottom Line

Gym etiquette is not rocket science, but it does require some common sense and courtesy. By following these simple rules of gym etiquette, you can make your gym experience more enjoyable, productive and rewarding for yourself and others. Remember: be aware of your surroundings, act like it’s your equipment, be cool.

I hope this blog post was helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.


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