Don’t be an asshole. Learn and have good gym etiquette and you can make the world a better place. Seriously.
Working out is hard but gym assholes make it so much harder. And every gym has assholes.
Smelly assholes. Loud assholes. Super-sweaty assholes. Sick assholes. Gawking assholes. The list goes on.
Thanks to them, many people, and many women in particular, are too intimidated to start weightlifting. Many others quit or seriously consider it.
Before we point too many fingers, though, let’s face it: we’ve been assholes too. Hell, you might be a complete gym asshole every day without even realizing it.
Simply put, people with good gym etiquette aren’t assholes. People with bad etiquette are.
That’s okay though. This article will help you understand the errors of our ways.
Gym etiquette is easy to learn and follow. It boils down to being respectful and treating fellow gymgoers the way you’d like to be treated.
Here are the 9 most egregious gym etiquette mistakes people make…
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Smelling Like Shit
Once upon a time I was in the middle of a heavy set of deadlifts and, after taking a deep breath for another rep, I cried out…
“What in the actual f&#k is that smell!?”
This was no normal stench. It was otherworldly. It was like my nostrils were getting raped by Golgothan.
After finishing my set (I ain’t no bitch) I dropped the weight and spun around, honestly expecting to see that someone had shit himself doing half squats on the Smith Machine behind me.
The Smith Machine was empty though. I craned to the left and there he was. The culprit. A towering, sweaty, overweight man in a tiny singlet and skin-tight yoga leggings. (???)
He was a good ten feet away but I felt like I was being assaulted by his swamp ass.
It was so bad I was actually kind of impressed. This was so much more than mere BO. How did he do it? Sewage baths? Pet skunk? Dead fish in the washing machine? All I knew is this type of stink didn’t come easy. This was like a carefully engineered bioweapon.
The truth is he may have been the sweetest guy you could want to know but he was still an asshole for making me, and everyone else within a 25-foot radius, suffer his noxious cloud of garbage/poop/roadkill vapor.
The etiquette lesson here is simple:
Don’t smell like shit. Please.
Sure, we all can get a little smelly when we train, but be a normal human and bathe regularly and clean every nook and cranny with soap… wear clean gym clothes, socks, and deodorant…don’t fart on people…you know, the little things.
Smelling Like Perfumed Shit
I’m not sure what’s worse–people that smell like actual shit or people that douse every square inch of their bodies with Axe body spray.
I’ve experienced it so bad that my eyes and sinuses were burning from the chemical assault.
Nobody will complain about light fragrance, but don’t wear so much that you turn the gym into a gas chamber.
Leaving Greasy Sweat Everywhere
Our sweat may not seem gross to us but it’s pretty damn disgusting to everyone else. To us, it’s just water with some ammonia and salt, but to them, it’s bacteria-infested slime.
If you sweat a lot while you train, please don’t snail trail all the equipment.
A towel is the most massively useful thing a clammy fellow can have. Get one and wipe your sweat away after you use each machine, bench, etc.
Are Those Workout Clothes or Body Paint?
If you’re offended by the guy in the singlet banging on about “aesthetics” and doing more selfies than training…or the girl that somehow squeezed into an outfit comprised of a few square inches of spandex…
Get over it.
You shouldn’t be concerned with how people live their lives so long as they aren’t harming others.
And let’s be real–you’re in the gym for the same reason as the Zyzz wannabe and prostitot. You want to look good. And you know you like it when people check you out.
That said…I’ve seen some scary things in my gym.
There was the guy in his mid-60s that would freeball in a skin-tight pair of red, spandex biking shorts and matching belly shirt. He also sweat a lot and stunk and stared at people.
Then there was the rather large woman that, every day, wore a pair of yoga pants so tight that her camel toe looked more like a gaping axe wound. (Sorry…I had to.)
Oh and let’s not forget the cross-dressing guy that loved his short, baggy running shorts and apparently hated underwear. You can imagine what happened when he laid down on benches.
My point is this: nobody can tell you what you can and can’t wear in the gym, but have some decency. We’re just here to work out, not choose partners for an orgy.
And if tact doesn’t come easily to you, let the ol’ newspaper test guide your clothing selections: if you were to be featured on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper, would you wear that outfit you’re considering?
If your answer is something like “hell no” or “maybe if I were drunk,” then please, step back from the ledge…
Hoarding a Bunch of Equipment
Claiming multiple pieces of equipment–benches, weights, machines–is like parking in two spots or cutting in front of old people in the grocery store line because they’re walking too slowly.
It’s just a dick move.
If some lame WOD calls for supersetting nine different machines, don’t flip out when people want to work in. Think of it as the price for your poor choice of training programs.
Not Re-Racking Your Weights
Come to my gym during peak hours and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back to the Nazi occupation of Stalingrad.
Dumbbells are strewn around like corpses. Plates are haphazardly piled next to machines. There isn’t a single barbell that has been fully stripped.
It’s like the slobs are going out of their way to make the place as much of a shithole as possible.
I once asked one of these people why he didn’t re-rack his weights. His answer? “Someone gets paid $10 per hour so I don’t have to.”
Right. Karma’s got special plans for people like him.
So…yeah it’s pretty cool you can leg press ten plates. But it’s not cool if you leave it all for others to unload.
When you’re done with dumbbells, put them back in the right spots. Strip barbells and put plates away.
Offering Unsolicited Advice
Every gym has at least one clueless asshole that won’t stop telling people how to work out.
He watched this YouTube video once and now he’s on a mission to inform the great unwashed. If you make eye contact, he’s going to come in hot.
“Your back is too far forward when you squat.”
“You’re bringing the bar down too far on your bench press.”
“You’re resting too much in between sets.”
“Why are you lifting so heavy? Muscles don’t know weight, they only know tension.”
You don’t come to his office and knock the cocks out of his mouth. Why won’t he just leave you alone?
Well, you don’t have to get rude or argumentative. A few simple, non-confrontational ways of making him go away:
- “I appreciate the help but I’m just following what my coach/trainer has laid out for me.”
- “Thanks for the tips but I’d like to just do my workouts.”
- “I know you’re just trying to help but I’d appreciate it if you let me just do my workouts.”
Here are a few simple rules of etiquette to observe:
Don’t give workout advice to strangers unless they ask you for help.
The only time when I personally break this rule is if someone is doing something that is likely to result in injury.
For example, just a few days ago there was a CrossFitter doing some of the worst deadlifts I’ve ever seen with about 325 on the bar–no depth at the bottom, fully rounded back throughout, and heavy arching in the lockout position.
I politely let him know that I wouldn’t usually say anything but if he continues what he’s doing, he will hurt his back and disc injuries can be really nasty. He listened, thanked me, and changed nothing. I tried.
When someone’s headphones are in, don’t disturb them. For any reason.
Headphones in means “do not disturb.” And with women, it means “please for the love of Jesus don’t f*%king bother me.”
Remember most of us aren’t in the gym to talk and socialize. We’re tight on time and don’t want to be distracted from our workouts.
Oogling at Women Like a Lecherous Pedophile
If we could read people’s minds, the gym would be a horrible, horrible experience. Once a girl starts squatting, all hell would break loose.
Look, I understand. Hot women are hot. We’re programmed to “mire” but that’s all that’s ever going to happen. Stare all you want–she’s not going to have sex with you. Ever.
Oh, she made eye contact? It was an accident that she immediately regretted. That’s why her headphones are in, her eyes are down, and her lips are whispering “please don’t come f&$king bother me.”
Neon yellow “ALPHA” stringers aren’t going to get anyone laid. Nobody believes the bullshit stories about stacking cash and partying with celebrities. Encyclopedic knowledge of Super Bowl statistics is a waste of good brain matter.
The reality is staring and dreaming about “what you would do to her” just makes her really uncomfortable. So just stop.
“If she doesn’t want attention then why does she dress like a whore?” you snort.
Well, if you ask me, wearing tight workout clothing doesn’t qualify as “dressing like a whore.” Squat in a pair of leggings and you’ll see why women do it–it actually feels really nice.
And hey, women are genetically programmed to bring life and beauty to the world so most just like to feel cute and attractive. We’re programmed to rape and pillage so, by default, we’re the assholes.
The rule here is simple:
Save the girl gawking for your incognito browsing. If a woman wants to get to know you, she will say something. Leave her alone otherwise.
Naked in the Bathroom…Why…Dear God Why!?
When I walk into the men’s locker room, I follow a strict protocol:
- I move as quickly as possible. No chatting or selfies. The less time I spend in there, the less of a chance I’m going to see things that can’t be unseen.
- I look at the tops of heads only and try my best to “block out” peripheral vision.
- If I hear a blow dryer going, I avoid the source at all costs. See the image above.
Look, I’m not a prude but I’m just not a fan of shriveled, hairy, old dicks. Everywhere.
Or guys doing hamstring stretches naked.
Or guys blow drying their balls.
Or guys fumigating the entire room with cheap body spray.
Can’t we just wear towels in the locker room? Can’t we groom ourselves at home? Can’t we save the cologne bath for the car?
The Bottom Line on Gym Etiquette
Why can’t the gym be like any other social gathering of civilized people?
Well, Gandhi said we should be the change we want to see so here’s how you can do your part:
- Smell clean
- Clean up your sweat
- Wear normal person clothes
- Re-rack your weights
- Don’t claim entire sections of the gym
- Don’t tell people what they should or shouldn’t be doing
- Don’t try to stare women into having sex with you
- Wear a towel in the bathroom
What’s your take on gym etiquette? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!