Gym Etiquette, Do’s & Don’ts

Most readers will find it refreshing and relieved to hear a fellow gym rat sound off on what pisses them off most.  Those that avoid gyms out “gymtimidation” (a notion provoked by Planet Fitness) might be surprised to know how welcome they are at any gym.  Your present physical condition or ability does not determine your level of “welcomeness” to a gym or fitness facility and never should.  If you feel you are being judged, then those individuals that are judging you are the ones that should take a “time out” and go sit in the corner to think about their behavior.


Judge and stare at others for whatever reason.  Maybe you don’t like the way they’re working out, you don’t like that the girl might be showing cleavage.  You think he’s “showing off”.  Or someone isn’t in “as good of shape” as you and they’re taking things slow.  Keep your focus on yourself.

Leave your weights on the smith machine or squat racks.  Or leave dumbells laying on the ground. Just because you’re a “swollcat” and just had your best max on the squats today doesn’t mean that the individual that needs to use the machine after you can safely take off 3 45lb plates from each side.  Again, be mindful!!!

Chit chat with a long lost friend for 20 minutes in the middle of the gym floor in an area where others are working out.  I’ve actually left my workout early because a couple of people decided to reunite right by the leg machines for a good 20 minutes while I was trying to focus.  Leaning against machines I was trying to use.  They didn’t have the courtesy to move to an area not used for working out.  Be mindful of others!!!

Play around on your phone while sitting at a machine.  I understand that some people take a look online at their workout plan on their phone, that’s completely understandable, those people usually very quickly go right back to working out.  If you get an emergency text you must reply to or email, get off the machine, reply then go back when you’re done.

Be so “in your own little world” that you’re rude to other people. I, personally, have been guilty of this one too many times.  Almost running into people because I wasn’t watching where I was going.  I try to take the time to be more aware.

Take pictures of other people (without them knowing) only to post and make fun of them on social media.  I’ve suspected people taking pictures of me at the gym while working out.  I see things posted online where people have taken a picture of someone to poke fun at them.  This is MEAN!  Typing this I feel ridiculous that I even find it necessary to say this but even with grown adults, this type of bullying still happens, and YES it is bullying!  Don’t be mean or a creeper.

Give unsolicited advise to a stranger.  I’ve had people wave me down to take out my headphones only to tell me that even though I was in “pretty good shape” I was still performing that exercise wrong.  Yes, this actually happened.  I tried to be as polite as possible but without showing an appreciation or care for the comment.  Please don’t do this to anyone, even if you are right.  That person may have had a trainer tell them to perform the exercise that way.  Besides, there are other ways to strike up a conversation with someone other than criticizing them.

Sweat all over a machine then leave without wiping it off.  GROSS!



Wear whatever the hell you want. If you feel like wearing neon workout gear from head to toe, then DO IT!  If you like wearing a hoodie, or a ski cap or sunglasses, or a mother loving batman costume!!!!  Wear whatever makes YOU comfortable.  No one else is affected by what you’re wearing so if they don’t like it, they can just look away.

Play air drums and air guitar while working out and between sets.  That makes you awesome!

Sing along with the music in your headphones.  I do this, but try to only when no one is around because apparently, based on the looks I get, I DON’T sound just like Rihanna.

Make eye contact with others, be polite, say “hi”.  This is NOT flirting.  It’s just being friendly. I’ve tried doing this more lately and the responses I get are actually quite interesting.  Most people smile back and look genuinely appreciative of the gesture, some look nervous and some look as though they’ve just seen a unicorn.  Anyway, you never know when you might have just made someone feel ten times more comfortable at the gym by being friendly.

Workout with a buddy, be supportive and encouraging.  I’ve worked out with a partner a couple of times, but 99% of the time I go solo.  Working out with a partner can be great motivation. I’m never bothered by partners working out together.

Do your own thing!  Forget everyone else, forget trying to please them, show off for them.  You’re there for you!


20140619-063105-23465807.jpgObviously, I wear this get up to do cardio because of how cute it is!

Leave your assumptions at the door.  The only assumption you should make about someone at the gym is that they must care about their health or physical condition, otherwise they probably wouldn’t be there.  In typing this post I tried to pull opinions from other individuals, my sister, brother in law, husband to name a few.  Let me know if I might have left some out.  Also, let me know if I need to go have a talk with someone that has bullied you at a gym!!!!

Don’t let your physical shape at the present moment affect your confidence level to walk into a gym, ask someone for help and get started.  EVERYONE had to start somewhere and if I could walk someone in, hold their hand, and stay right by their side the entire time for their first few workouts until they felt comfortable, I would.  That’s how important it is to me that no one be too intimidated to go workout at a gym.

Here is a link to a YouTube video for Brosciencelife.  My brother in law recommended these videos to me.  I find this guy hilarious, a little foul at times, but if you have my sort of sense of humor, then you’ll also find it amusing.

As always, stay crazy, healthy & happy!


About the Author:

I'm Leanna Jensen. I'm a NPC Bikini Competitor, Personal trainer, fitness writer and mother of two. I am on a mission to help and serve others by sharing my knowledge of all things health and fitness.

No Comments

  1. Rene Mitchell June 19, 2014 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    Hi Leanna,
    It’s Rene, I love your blog and can totally relate….I have been on the gym circuit for a long time and it’s my get away / peace of mind, and you should be totally mindful of others. I really feel like the old gal (which I am lol!) but you are never too old to work out…So to add to your blog, I would say keep an eye out for the older gym companion and high five for staying g in shape. Staying in shape is the best thing I have ever done for my mind, body, and soul….keep doing what you do girl….proud of you!

    • leannajb June 19, 2014 at 3:39 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much Rene! I love that you enjoy the blog. Excellent point about all ages. I also feel I should have mentioned more about physical conditions. I witness some individuals that need use of a wheel chair but are also there to workout & I truly admire their courage. FYI, you are not an old gal!! Lol. Again, thanks for kind words & reading! 🙂

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