Nothing feels better than the sweaty satisfaction of having completed an intense workout at the gym!    And nothing feels worse than working out on equipment that is drenched in someone else’s sweaty mess!  What’s up with the guy who sweats a river, doesn’t wipe down the equipment, then nonchalantly moves on to the next piece of equipment?

A leading culprit on this subject is “The Sweaty Spinner.”  If you’ve ever taken a spin class, you know what I’m talking about.    You approached your designated bike only to find that the floor beneath is totally drenched in sweat from the spinner who took the class prior.  Yuck!  This is definitely my #1 pet peeve when it comes to poor gym etiquette.

Proper gym etiquette is to bring towel to your workouts and wipe down the equipment.  This includes mats, weight benches and machines.   If we do this, hopefully others will follow by our example!

Another personal pet peeve in the gym is when the equipment is unorganized or has simply gone missing.   On the weight rack, for example, weights belong paired side by side.   Just recently, while training a client, I approached the weight rack looking for two 12 lb. weights. I only found one.   It took a few minutes, but ultimately I located the missing 12 lb. weight on the floor, next to the mats on the other side of the room.  Next, my client’s program required using a large stability ball.  When i couldn’t locate the large ball, i naturally thought perhaps someone else was working with it.  I looked everywhere.  No ball.  Hmmm… It flat out disappeared.  Later, I learned that a fellow gym- go’er had left the ball in the group fitness room.  Not cool.  If we all simply put the equipment back in it’s designated place, our workouts would be more efficient and less annoying.

Another big pet peeve is the ever popular “Equipment Hog.”  Nobody likes an equipment hog, and everybody deserves a turn using the gym’s equipment.  Most gyms post signs near cardio machines, limiting users to 20 minutes when the gym is crowded.  We all see these signs.  Let’s not ignore them.  There are so many options for a great cardio workout on other cardio machines.  So if your time is up, move on!  News flash:  You will see greater results by diversifying your cardio routines.  You may not know this, but if you are one of those “one-hour-on-the-treadmill-every-day” people, your not going to see your body improve much.  Switch up your routines and your cardio machines. Diversify your workouts and you will see greater results!

The same goes for the weight lifter.  There is a term in weight lifting called, “working in.” When another lifter sees you using a machine, and he or she says, “Mind if I work in?”  They are not asking.  They are telling, or informing you that they intend to share the equipment with you.  Proper etiquette is that you crank out your reps, then you move aside, and the other person cranks out his or her reps.  It’s that simple.  In most weight bearing workout programs, it’s necessary to rest between reps.  So there should be no problem allowing another person time to “work in.”   And who knows!   You may make a new friend or at the very least, you may learn a thing or two from the other lifter!  Good things come from sharing.

Another pet peeve of mine happens in the locker room.  It’s that guy (or gal), who saunters about in all of his (or her) glory, who clutters the counter tops with personal belongings, who leaves used hotel shampoos and razors in the showers, who doesn’t flush, and who hogs locker space, making it difficult for others to maneuver into their lockers.  Let’s behave in the locker room, just like we should behave in the gym.  Let’s keep it tidy and respect our neighbor’s space.

Speaking of space.  It’s not uncommon for space to be tight in a crowded gym – especially in a really fun group fitness class.  With a crowded room comes the wonderful energy of a full class, great music, and an excellent instructor.  Sometimes a class can get so full of participants, that space becomes very limited.  When this happens we often find one or two “Space Hoarders.”  Nobody likes a space hoarder.  Space Hoarders are people who refuse to move over a few inches to make room for someone else to take the class.  Space Hoarders also think that because they participate in the class regularly, they are entitled to their “spot” on the group fitness floor.  News flash to all the Space Hoarders out there:  When you pay the lease or mortgage on the facility, you can own a spot on the gym floor.  Until then, please move over a few inches and make room for the next guy.  Thank you!

Oh!  One more thing:  It is poor etiquette to come to a group fitness class late.  If the room is designed in such a way that you can sneak in quietly and be non disruptive, then go for it.  But when an entire yoga class has gone completely zen in the prayer position, please don’t parade in and plop your mat down.  It’s not polite and doing so absolutely negatively affects other’s experience.

I hope you will take these basic and very simple rules of etiquette to your gym.   Feel free to print this article and post it in your locker room.  We must also understand that from time to time, we will encounter the Sweaty Spinner, the Equipment Hog, or the Space Hoarder.  In that case, just take a deep breath, and keep your workout positive and fun.  There’s no need to get your spandex in a bind over someone else’s annoying, bad habits.  Just do me a favor and keep leading by example.


Dara Sandrini

Vitamin “D” Fitness