Every single gym has its own code of conduct. Some places worship theirs, plastering it on an unmissable twenty-five-foot banner over the back wall.
Meanwhile, in more old-school establishments, it’s merely an unwritten but strictly enforced rule set. Passed down from generation to generation of dedicated lifters.
One thing is for sure though, no matter where you are in the world, there’s a bunch of things you just don’t do. Either because it’s annoying, dangerous, disgusting, or all three..
That’s why we’ve put together this guide to bad gym etiquette. Because someone has to take a stand once and for all. Now is the time to finally stop the a$$holes ruining it for the rest of us.
Why you need this guide to bad gym etiquette
Listen in, bro! We know you’re smirking right now because we can read your jacked up little mind.
You’re laughing thinking; “Man, this will be funny! No way will I do any of these things.”, or alternatively, “This is totally gonna be sh*t I get up to!”.
Either way, if you’re guilty of the following we suggest you take a hard look in the mirror. Yes, you’re allowed to ‘mire your immense biceps. We won’t deny you that much.
Just understand that the point is this; there are certain things gym goers do, that outright sucks. Not just for other lifters, but for the staff, equipment, and entire universe too.
Below are SpotMeBro’s ten holy commandments to not being a complete douchebag in the iron house. So, grab a clean Golds stringer, put your right hand on a picture of Arnie, and swear on his life you’ll never do this sh*t again. Capiche?
The 10 Holy (Gym) Commandments
- Thou shalt not smell bad
- Thou shall wipe up thy own sweat
- If thou can pick it up, thou can put it back
- Thou shalt not hog equipment
- Thou shalt not butt in
- Thou shalt not stare at women
- Thou shalt not talk loudly on the phone
- Thou shalt not spread your sickness
- Thou shalt not curl (or shrug) in the squat rack
- Thou shalt not undeservedly seek the attention of others
1. Thou shalt not smell bad
Hands down there’s nothing worse than a dude with no sense of personal hygiene. Yeah, we all sweat when we workout, but it really isn’t an excuse to fumigate the place.
Hell, when SpotMeBro finishes up a heavy session, you’d think we’d been wrestling alligators in the height of monsoon season. But let us tell you something Stink-Bad the Failure! We shower every single day, seven days a week, and haven’t died yet.
There’s really no excuse to be smelling like the evil green girl from The Exorcist is about to crawl out from your ass. Soap only costs a dime and most gyms even have showers included in the membership fee.
Remember that when people train hard, they have to breathe hard just to stay alive. There’s just no other way to exercise and it’s as simple as that.
Nobody should have to fall victim to your stench entering their airways. So shower up, throw on some clean clothes, scrape the three-day-old whey shake from your teeth, and come back when you’re no longer a biohazard!
2. Thou shall wipe up thy own sweat
Picture this for a moment. You’re psyched, pumped, and ready to kick a set of chest-flyes in the face. Nothing could ever beat today. Wait, WTF is this slippery microorganism infested slime covering the bench?!
That’s your disgusting bacteria harboring sweat, bro. Surely you felt it leak out from your pores as you attempted to press those 12lb dumbbells like a little b*tch? Huh, maybe you just have stupid skin too.
The simple fact is that your sweat is a fast track for all of us getting sick. Staph, MRSA, Hepatitis B Virus, Cold, Flu, and Impetigo, are all nasties that can lurk in contaminated sweat.
If you know you’re prone to perspiration, grab a gym towel. Wipe up after yourself and save us from another outbreak of whatever sh*t you have. We’re still mad for missing a week three years ago!
3. If thou can pick it up, though can put it back
As bros, we pride ourselves on how freaking strong we are. We’re not afraid of any lift, and another plate is always just a number to dominate.
But if all of this is true, why are we so scared of slamming our weights back on the rack? Surely if we’re hench enough to hoof them around, we’re big enough to put them back.
Okay, yes, somebody gets paid to keep the gym floor in order. But is that really a reason to leave trip hazards strung out around the place? To quote DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street; “Absolutely f*cking not.”
It takes literally seconds to put a dumbbell back on the rack, so do it. You’ll save other people time, effort and injury. People will instantly like you more, and chicks will pick up on your reduced level of doucheness.
Don’t be selfish, bro. Pick that sh*t up!
4. Thou shalt not hog equipment
Superset, triset, giant set, latest insane Dwayne Johnson workout set? If you’re any kind of decent human being, you’ll save it for the gym’s downtime.
How many times have you gone to grab a weight and some dude at the other end of the room loses his freaking mind? In the law of the barbell jungle, anything left alone for 30 seconds is fair game.
But this guy just won’t have it and insists he needs that exact piece of equipment for his 10th giant set exercises. Even though it’s peak time, the gym is stacked with bodies, and his gains suck anyway, he doesn’t care. He looks like he might actually cry, too.
Remember when your mom told you it’s nice to share? Well, the same rings true when you’re a grown ass man as well.
Save the supersets for when the place is dead. Workout the old fashioned way like the rest of us at busy hours.
5. Thou shalt not butt in
(Yes, that’s you Mr. Know It All)
Let’s be blunt here. As a lifelong member of the iron life, you know a thing or two about lifting. Form, diet, periodization, pre workouts, snapbacks; you have an encyclopedic knowledge of it all.
But what if we were to tell you not everybody needs your unsolicited advice when they’re working out? What if, instead of helping fix that pretty ladies squat, you’re coming across as an annoying creepy know it all?
Just put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if some random ass dude kept butting into your set spouting stupid bro science? Even if it’s legit facts, it’ll probably p*ss you off.
So don’t do it. If somebody needs help, leave them to find out on their own or at the hands of a trainer (one they’ve hired).
Also, in case we’re not all singing from the same hymn sheet, headphones automatically = do not disturb! This is an unwritten rule which must never be broken. The last little weakling who tried to speak to us uninvited hasn’t lifted since…
6. Thou shalt not stare at women (or annoy them)
This one should go without saying. No woman has ever, in the history of fitness, jumped onto the face of a bro who’s been staring at her for 45 minutes. It’s weird, creepy, off-putting, disrespectful and downright annoying.
Yeah, seriously bro, we know it’s hard not to get all googly-eyed at times. Especially when there’s a super hot smoker going ass to grass in the power rack. Dang, did it just get hot in here or what?
But we’ve just got to remember that this is not caveman times. As much as we think we’re embodying the #alphalife; we live in a civilized society with iPhones, Netflix, and 24/7 pizza delivery service is available.
That means women should be able to workout without having to deal with the gross gaze of creepy guys. So what if they dress in tight clothing, surely all that unrestrictive stretchy sh*t feels good to train in. Maybe, just maybe, she actually likes to show off her hard work too.
If she’s interested in you, she’ll let you know. Otherwise, leave her to sculpt her physique in peace. Eye contact isn’t a date agreement, and she definitely doesn’t need your stupid advice (see commandment no.5).
7. Thou shalt not talk loudly on the phone
Nobody believes for a minute you’re about to drop 50 G on some big daddy stock. We also know you’re not “making game-changing moves” with a killer side hustle either.
The reality is you’re b*tching out of the real hard work to talk annoyingly loud to your broke ass friends. Even worse than this is the dude who’s losing his mind because his mama forgot to pack his headphones for him.
Not only are you making yourself look like a dead weight diva, you’re putting the rest of us off our lifts. We don’t want to hear how “lit” you and Chad were on the weekend. We want you to shut the f*ck up and put the work in like everybody else.
A gym floor is a holy place for worshiping the weights and pushing ourselves to new limits. We’re there to smash goals, not decibels into the ear canals of the real dedicated players.
Focus on getting as Judy Dench as humanly possible and leave the chatter for later. If you want to impress people, outwork the entire room around you.
8. Thou shalt not spread your sickness
(Seriously, if you’re ill just go home, bro!)
Did you know that the idea of sweating out sickness is total bullsh*t? Well now you do, so take your snotty mess back to bed. You’re going to infect us all, bro!
The truth of the matter is that training like an absolute savage comes with certain side effects. One is the natural suppression of the immune system. Hence why we often get a common cold or flu-like symptoms from overtraining.
If you pick up an illness through training or otherwise, the best idea to preserve your gains is rest. Working out will only make things worse, as the raised temperature of your body creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.
Not only that but when you’re breathing heavy and sweating like crazy you’re gonna make that bacteria airborne. Consider the fact that most people workout close by to others, and think about how fast that sh*t could spread.
Stay at home, bro. Live to lift another day and don’t be a d*ck by denying others the chance to train safely.
9. Thou shalt not curl (or shrug) in the squat rack
Imagine a world where there was some kind of device constructed through pure genius to make squatting safer. Potentially such a thing only exists in bro heaven, a place where pre workout flows in the ocean, the game is always on, and every chick is a 10+!
What? Are you telling us this genius invention exists already? Oh, we thought that was the do-everything-but-squat rack. We’ll close the door on the way out.
Bro, what the f*ck are you actually doing in there? The last time SpotMeBro checked curling in the squat rack offers no benefit other than making you look like a total jerk.
Even worse than the curlers are dudes who shrug. Seriously? We can’t even…
Before our thick muscular necks explode from frustration we’ll wrap this one up quickly. Stop wasting valuable space specifically designed to make super-heavy quad busting squats possible. Leave the rack for those who train like real men and a find mirror elsewhere punk.
10. Thou shalt not undeservedly seek the attention of others
(Your gran presses more plates and she’s 80)
Okay, we get it. Dragging that (average AF) deadlift up your shins with God awful form was such a monumental effort for mankind. You’re the man, in fact, you’re the whole damn human race!
Someone get this dude a hot chick, a cold beer, and elected as president of the Universe quick snap. Never before have we seen such perseverance in the face of adversity. Did you see how hard he slammed that barbell? Wow… Impressive.
If you’re reading this and you don’t recognize that guy, we’ve got news for you pal. It’s you! Sorry, not sorry.
Our final commandment is to not undeservedly seek the attention of others. Everyone in there knows you’re blowing out of your ass, we all are. Some might even be miring your efforts.
But making a scene and throwing bars around like an angry chimp flinging bananas is embarrassing. The same goes for excessively loud grunts and “hell yeah” screams for not-so-impressive lifts. Save that sh*t for 1RM efforts only, bro.
Remember, Arnie is always watching
Now that we’ve vented the frustration of thousands of gym-goers, it’s time to wrap things up.
Obviously, there was no way we could hammer home every single point that makes a dude a douche in the iron house.
These are just the basics of bad gym etiquette.
The truth of the matter is it just takes a little common sense. Check out the culture of the place and see how the collective handle themselves.
As we said every different gym is going to have their own way of doing things. Hell, it might be cool to spit on the floor and splurt hail Mary’s in one spot. But the same sort of behavior might not be cool somewhere else.
In short; consider how your own actions would make you feel. Because it’s never too late to change, and you might even make a few friends in the process.
Just remember that whatever you do… Arnie is always watching.
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