12 Gym Etiquette Do’s to Make You Look Like a Pro

by Jennifer Purdie
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12 Gym Etiquette Do’s to Make You Look Like a Pro

Whether you just joined a gym to fulfill a New Year’s resolution or you are a long-term gym rat and could use a refresher in etiquette, following these pointers will keep you off your gym’s naughty list.

Always, always, always rerack your weights after use. Think of it as a bonus workout.

Heather L. Tyler, NSCA-certified personal trainer

Don’t talk on your cell phone. The gym is not the place to gossip on the phone with your friends or deal with issues at work. Talking on your phone distracts other gym goers and dampens the atmosphere. If you have to take a call, step outside or at least move to an area where people aren’t working out.

Justin Fauci, NASM-certified personal trainer, co-founder of Caliber Fitness

A lot of women experience this phenomenon on a regular basis, but it is especially uncomfortable at the gym because the weights and machines tend to be dominated by big grunting men, and we, as women, tend to feel out of place. Many women are just beginning to learn to resistance train, so to have a guy come up offering unsolicited advice is very obnoxious and demeaning.

—Rui Li, NASM-certified personal trainer, president-CEO of New York Personal Training

Gym staff and trainers are there for a reason. Using equipment correctly avoids injury. So, if you don’t know how to use a machine or piece of equipment, just ask. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for a spot from a trainer. Safety should always be a priority in the gym.

—Chantell Prestcott-Hollander, NASM-certified personal trainer, Krav Maga instructor and director of marketing

With the rush caused by resolutions, gyms will be completely packed, especially during peak hours. If you are doing a superset or need more than 30 seconds in between sets, it’s common courtesy to offer someone waiting to jump in and perform a set while you rest. This is also a great way to get motivated because it will push you to continue with your sets immediately after the other person is done.

—Camila Mariana Ramon, NASM-certified personal trainer

Wipe down your equipment before and after you use it. With cold and flu season upon us, the gym is full of germs. Every little bit of prevention helps. Plus, it’s good etiquette to make sure the equipment you leave behind is not sweaty.

Allison R. Jackson, NASM-certified personal trainer, Pn1 certified coach

Don’t come to the gym if you’re sick. What you and your germs want to do in the privacy of your home gym is one thing, but don’t subject the rest of us to your plague. Stay home, rest up and hit it hard when you’re feeling better. We’ll all appreciate not being subjected to your runny nose and incessant coughing.

Esther Avant, ACE-certified personal trainer and certified nutrition coach at Esther Avant Wellness Coaching

When taking group fitness classes, don’t come in past the 10-minute late mark.

Adria Ali, certified personal trainer, writer of Body Burn 28 Day Quick Start

The gym is not a dating meet-up site. Don’t go to the gym expecting to meet the next love of your life. The gym is for those looking to work out, not meet people to date.

Shantea Johnson, certified personal trainer, nutritionist and health educator, owner DHW Nutrition & Wellness

There’s no need to turn your training into a preview of late-night Cinemax. By all means, go home and check yourself out in the mirror, but just don’t do it with a 100 of your closest gym friends around.

Shane McLean, ACE-certified personal trainer

For the newbie, I would suggest that you visit the gym during non-peak hours or have guided tour so you are not so uncomfortable. For females, most large gyms have a women-only workout area. I suggest starting there until you become more familiar.

Suprina Henley, certified personal trainer and wellness coach

There’s no need to announce how difficult each rep of your workout is with a loud grunt, roar or howl. Focus on consistent breathing with each rep instead of making odd noises. Consistent breathing makes exercising much easier and doesn’t disturb your neighbors. Plus, chances are, if you inadvertently make loud noises to finish your reps, the weight is probably too heavy and you’re on track for a nasty injury. That will surely put your hollering on hold.

Raphael Konforti, certified personal trainer and national director of fitness for Youfit Health Clubs


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  • NiceGuysFinishLast

    You forgot one. How bout not putting hair products on before you workout. Nothing disgust me more than having to wipe down a machine from someones body fluids and sweaty Afro that had Murray’s hair wax gooped up in it only to leave a residue looking like giz on the leather pads. People are disgusting and just plain rude when it comes to wiping their nast germs up.

  • Martin

    This is clearly directed at women that have probably never seen a gym. They would probably not install this app anyway.
    No noise? And offering others to hop into your sets? This article will keep people away from the gym. Ignore this bs, get your ass to the gym and be a caveman/woman.

    • Shane Mclean

      I disagree. I think most of these are just common sense and being considerate of others.

      • Martin

        I like that you see it as common sense. Every gym is different though. My advice still is, just go. You will adapt soon enough. When it comes to hygiene, yes that is important. Imo she shouldnt name the article ‘look like a pro’, but rather ‘gym decent behaviour’.

        • Shane Mclean

          Your last comment makes sense and I agree. Look we got into a debate without getting pissey at each other. Nice work Martin.

          • Martin

            I was triggered by the title of the article. Was caught in emotion, now that i read my first comment.

  • Kelly

    Start in the woman’s only area??? For real???? What kinda sexist advice is that?

  • Rob Dahling

    Agreed – if I see people doing things improperly (male or female) I may step up and offer to give some advice. It’s not “mansplaining” or even “femsplaining” – it’s just being considerate and helpful.

  • Rob Dahling

    Having lived in China and worked out in a variety of gyms, I might add the following for gyms in China:

    – stop spitting on the floor (yes, some people do that in gyms) or blasting nose mucus on it.
    – stop picking/popping your zits in the mirrors
    – in addition to not talking on your phones, lay off the selfies too.

  • Rick Judge

    who the bleeping heck are YOU to tell me what noises to make? Or who to speak to?

    although I’m not a newbie

    yeah and all you women wasting your time doing garbage exercises that might actually hurt you, just carry on, I won’t bother sharing my 40 years of gym knowledge, my Olympic level sports experience, my professional qualifications as a Physical Therapist

    because mansplaining is clearly far worse than say blowing your knee out or wrecking your lumbar vertebrae

    get over yourself