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How To Practice Proper Gym Etiquette

Working out in a gym is almost primal—it's all muscle, sweat, and heavy breathing—but that doesn't mean you have to act like a beast.


  • Step 1: Show up in proper workout attire—nothing too distracting. Assume people are there to focus on their workout.
  • TIP: Likewise, stay focused on yours—don't leer or stare at other people.
  • Step 2: If there's a spinning bike or area of the weight or yoga room that you're partial to, arrive early to get it. Don't assume you can just show up and claim it.
  • Step 3: Wipe your sweat off every bench, seat, pad, or bar after you're done using it.
  • Step 4: Keep your grunts and groans to yourself—unless you're in distress.
  • Step 5: Don't spit—seriously. If you want to spit, go workout outside.
  • Step 6: Don't rest or take a break on a machine or at a station. Someone could be waiting to use it.
  • Step 7: If someone won't leave a station, kindly ask, "Would you mind if I work in with you?"
  • Step 8: If someone asks to work in with you say, "Yes," get up, and allow them to do their sets between yours.
  • Step 9: When asking for a spotter to help you, make sure the person can fully support the weight you're trying to lift.
  • Step 10: Make sure you and your spotter are on the same page by demonstrating what you want.
  • Step 11: Offer to spot your spotter when he or she needs one.
  • Step 12: When you're finished, replace all free weights to their proper stacks and return the pins in weight machines to the lowest weight.
  • Step 13: Clean out your locker of smelly clothes and damp towels.
  • Step 14: People sweat—sometimes a lot—at the gym. Get over it!
  • FACT: The best time to chat up fellow gym-goers is not in the morning or afternoon, but after work—when they're usually not rushing to get somewhere else.

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