It’s peak gym season. Between the months of January and April everyone is motivated to jump on the health bandwagon, tone up for upcoming holidays, and feel more energised and fitter after the Christmas slump. It means the gyms can often be overcrowded and generally a little more gross.

When we’ve all got our own goals and objectives, we want to ensure that each gym session is a fruitful one. So, we share our etiquette tips for the gym to ensure we all get what we want out of our training sessions.

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Take a towel

When it’s this busy, it can be difficult for the gym staff to stay on top of cleaning the machines. It’s pretty much a one-on, one-off system at the moment. To keep things a little more hygienic, we’d recommend taking a towel with you for the specific purposes of wiping down the machines, benches, equipment etc. after you hop off.

As not everyone will be as considerate as you, so you may want to wipe down beforehand too!

Limit your time on the machines

We know this is controversial. I mean why should you? But if you’re part of a small gym, there is going to be limited machines and if you end up hogging one, it could be significantly impacting someone else’s ability to get a thorough workout. If all you are looking to do is go for a run, instead of spending an hour on the running machine, run outside. The view will be better for you (as will the fresh air) and it’ll free up the machine for others to use for warm ups, heart training, and cool downs.

Additionally, variation in your fitness programme is good for you. Make use of all the equipment on site and work on your cardiovascular, strength and flexibility in each session to get the most out of it.

As a rule of thumb, keep machine use to 20-30 minutes maximum.

Tidy up after yourself

Gym etiquette

If you’re using machines, weight machines, free-weights, yoga mats, resistance bands etc., make sure you put the equipment back or turn it off fully once you’ve finished with it. It’s courtesy to do so for other gym members but also, it’s a factor of safety. Sometimes we forget that a gym can be a very dangerous place indeed so always be vigilant of your surroundings and be courteous of others around you.

This also goes for your personal belongings. Keep your bag, coat etc. in a locker or designated area so it is out of the way.

Selfies and pictures generally, don’t do it

Gym selfies

Or if you do, make sure you’re doing it discreetly and that no-one else is in your picture. Be courteous of others privacy.

Everyone has the right to have a choice about whether they appear in a picture or not and I for one, would not (ever) want to be pictured all red faced, sweaty, and I’m likely feeling at my lowest.

It’s also unkind to secretly snap a picture of anyone at the gym to share amongst friends to have a joke at their expense. We’re all at our most vulnerable at the gym so if you feel uncomfortable, you can rest assured that you’re probably not alone.


Group gym

Not everyone wants to talk at the gym and often, aside the noise of the machines, the gym can be a quiet place. That’s often because gym goers want focus.

If you’re going with friends, keep conversations low, and out of the way of machines and other equipment so as not to inconvenience anyone else.

If you enjoy exchanging pleasantries with people, just be mindful that you may not get a desired response. It’s not a reflection on you, or them, it’s just they may be focused on the task at hand.

Also, don’t be that person that goes around offering advice to people freely. We get you’re probably just looking out for their wellbeing, but unless you are staff or a trainer (even then its questionable), your advice may not be welcome and make the other person feel really uncomfortable.

Although not conversational, just be mindful of the noises you’re making whilst working out. We get it, some routines are more challenging, and a release can often be followed with a great big sigh of relief. But where possible, just be mindful of that.

Personal space

If you’re getting to the gym at a quieter period, don’t be that person that jumps on to a machine right next to someone else getting their workout on. If there are other machines available, put some space between you. It is just weird.

Additionally, not everyone is comfortable with getting naked in the changing rooms. Cubicles are there for those that like the privacy but when it’s busy, there isn’t always the availability. If you feel comfortable wandering around the locker rooms naked, good for you. But just be considerate of others who may not feel as free.

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