OK, real talk: gym etiquette. You’re in the middle of crushing a workout, move to the next weight stack or cardio machine and whomp whomp, the guy before you didn’t wipe it down. Cringe. Gnarly beads of sweat line the vinyl cover and you get to do his dirty work. Awesome. We’ve all been there (maybe some of us are guilty, too) so we’re here to say, Spartan UP already and don’t be that guy. Whether you’re new to the gym or you’ve been going for years, there’s an unspoken code of conduct, and it’s up to you to adhere to it. Along with grit, determination, and perseverance, our Spartan core values also hold community in the highest of standards. No excuses.
We checked in with Spartan’s Director of Training, Sam Stauffer, for his biggest pet peeves in poor gym behavior. “One of the most frustrating things to see at a gym is the ‘space hog’,” says Stauffer. “Come January, gyms are flooded with new-comers, regulars, and first-timers. This means that space is tight and equipment choice is sparse.” Stauffer warns to be especially aware of other people in your gym’s common stretching or open functional training spaces where there’s a lot going on. “The jump rope person, don’t even get me started — take it somewhere else. (Side note: getting clipped with a jump rope hurts… a lot!). Plus, there are the people who hog multiple pieces of equipment at once for their ‘tri-set’. They’re not using it…but they’re using it. Learn to share! And of course, the people who don’t re-rack their weights — take the extra time to do it right. And people who bring their belongings into an already-packed group. Literally, every square foot counts. Buy a lock.”
You get the gist. But just to be sure, here are 10 more ways to wise-up, avoid poor gym behavior, and ensure you’re never that guy.
Poor Gym Behavior You Should Avoid
1. Stare at Other People
This isn’t to say you should keep your head down and avoid eye-contact with everyone, but don’t just gape at someone from across the room. It’s creepy and people like to feel like they’re in the zone without an audience.
2. Leave Your Workout Area Covered in Sweat
This is perhaps the most annoying example of poor gym behavior. If you’re using a machine or floormat, spray and wipe it down after you use it. Gyms have a million different places to grab a spray bottle and towel. Plus, it helps avoid the spread of germs during flu season and it’s just plain gross if you don’t.
Related: 6 Steps to Becoming a Spartan Today
3. Offer Someone Advice
Not everyone has perfect form, and for the most part, they’re at the gym to work on it and get better. (Duh!) So keep your advice to yourself. If you’re not a fitness trainer on duty, the person you’re trying to help might take offense or end up hurting themselves on potentially wrong advice.
The gym is a great place to meet new people that share an interest of yours, but it isn’t the place to spit some game and get phone numbers. Word travels fast in a gym. Don’t be the person everyone avoids at risk of getting hit on.
5. Record Anyone
Put your smartphone down! If you see someone doing an exercise wrong and you think it’s funny, or you see some Snap-worthy moment you want to share with friends, think twice before taking out your phone to record it. Gyms are places of vulnerability where people go to improve. How would you feel?
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6. Go Shirtless
We get it; you’re proud of your hard work at the gym paying off. You should be! But wear a shirt when you go to a public place to workout. Nobody wants to see that.
7. Scream Through Every Rep
Your workout may be difficult, but it’s flat out obnoxious when people scream and grunt through reps like it’s killing them. It sounds obvious, but trust us, there are vocal exercisers out there — you’d be surprised.
8. Pester Someone for Their Equipment
Obviously there are exceptions for people who are hogging a machine, but if you ask someone more than once when they’ll be done using the equipment, you’ve gone too far.
9. Walk Around the Locker Room Naked
There are like a million towels in a gym locker room these days. If your gym doesn’t give out towels, bring one. Modesty isn’t just for you, but for others. So wrap it up to walk to your shower.
10. Hog a Machine
If someone has asked you how long you plan to stay on a machine, or you notice someone waiting for you to be done, don’t just sit there resting on your phone. Politely tell them your plan (I’ve got a 5-minute cooldown left) and don’t hog the machine when you’re done. Get off, wipe it down, move on.