Gym étiquette (aka – how not to piss me off at the gym)

Friday, July 26, 2013 Permalink

I tend to think of myself as a bit of a bitch; but I think I hide it well. Mostly I’m overtly horrible to (and about) myself, but nice to others. However… I’m a bit like a closet bitch and often occasionally think rude and nasty thoughts about complete strangers.

Last night when I was unable to sleep I remembered an article I read earlier in the week about gym habits and etiquette. It got me thinking about my own gym-going experience. And… because I couldn’t sleep I jotted some of those things-that-irk down.

It seems that my usual politeness filter was already asleep so in the light of day I realised my list is – ahem… how to say it? – somewhat bitchy.

I’ll start with the basics and I’m sure these things universally piss off other gym goers:

1. Hogging the equipment
If the gym’s deserted feel free to use 12 pieces of equipment at once and drape your belongings over them the entire time. But, if there’s anyone else who might be wanting to use the same equipment then bloody well be considerate and SHARE! Oh, and just a heads-up…  the same thing goes for hogging the showers or hairdryers (etc) in the dressing room.

2. Not wiping equipment down
We’ve all been been exposed to the sweat drenched weights bench or exercise bike seat. I’m a bit of a sweater myself. But I use a damned towel as should everyone else. Many gyms are pedantic about towels and offer disinfectant spray and the like. They do this for a reason. D-oh!

3. Not shutting the f*ck up
Your partner might like it loud, but some of us are at the gym to escape the every day crap or to get some peace and quiet. Loud grunters are particularly annoying and only rivalled by those who chat loudly on their phones. We don’t want to hear you shouting orders at some workplace underling or bitching about your job. And as for the gossipers… we don’t give a shit about your husband, friends or cousin’s brother’s hairdresser.

4. Using equipment incorrectly
The rest of us don’t need the added stress of your injury or accident. If you don’t know how to use a piece of equipment / machinery, then ask. If you do then be sensible for god’s sake. A particularly annoying woman at my old gym used to run sideways on the treadmill. Most of us hoped she’d actually fall off and injure herself so we didn’t have to put up with her – although sadly she’d probably take fellow treadmillers with her before splattering on the gym floor.

When in the aerobics room most of those rules apply. I used to go to a class that directly followed a boxing session and there would be huge puddles of sweat on the timber floor… just waiting to send one of us Hip Hoppers flying. And as for those people talking when the instructor is instructing… just rude. But as a regular class-goer there are a few other tidbits which you may wish to heed.

5. Personal space is just that
Unless the class is jam-packed then give those around you some ROOM. We all hate the latecomers who arrive and wedge themselves into spots requiring the rest of us to accommodate them, so yes… if you do that you will catch some glares from others in the class. And when doing moves, LOOK AROUND YOU. The aerobics room at my previous gym was tiny and other class-goers and I avoided certain people because they had no friggin’ concept. They’d just start jumping backwards or sideways without worrying about those around them.

6. The instructor is there for a reason
My own personal pet peeve… those who attend classes but like to freestyle it. Some do it accidentally (yet it still pisses me off). In my current Zumba classes there’s a woman who’s been going for years but who still does every step incorrectly and goes in the opposite way to everyone else. TIME AFTER BLOODY TIME. She’s a bit of an air-head so I haven’t decided whether she realises she’s completely out of time and about to trip the person next to her; or just doesn’t care. But then there are the fruit loops. We all know them. They stand near the front and like to ‘add-on’. They sometimes sing along, decide to change the steps a little or just act a little cray-cray. There’s one of those in one of my current Zumba classes as well – decked out from top to bottom in Zumba-themed gear, headband and all and (she told me) she just moves in the way her body wants her to. IMO: She should stop bloody well listening to her body!

7. It’s not a schoolyard
Charlotte from The Great Fitness Experiment (another blog I always read but never comment on) has recently moved town and – although was (more than) a regular at her old gym is now the ‘new girl’. She overheard some people talking about her the other day and was – understandably – somewhat upset by it. I hate cliques. Most gyms have them… those people who’ve been going there FOREVER and treat newcomers like lepers. Sadly, in my experience, it’s often women who do this (some high school Mean Girls hangover). I’ve never really attended a gym with a friend but, I have become friends with others in my classes – or at least become one of the regulars. But hopefully, I’ve never not welcomed a newcomer.

So, there you have it. A somewhat extensive list of ‘things that piss me off at the gym’; and I do realise I haven’t even started on gym attire…

And finally, although I suspect you’re fairly sure I’m perfect and can do no wrong, I may *ahem* have been a bit guilty of this:

gym etiquette

Your turn. What have I missed?
Do you break any of ‘my’ rules?


  • Liz@LastChanceTraining
    July 26, 2013

    I hate it when women leave hair balls in the showers. Plus all of the things you mentioned above. Nothing pisses me off as instructor more than someone turning up and going deliberately freestyle.

    • Debbish
      July 26, 2013

      The freestyle thing frustrates me as (as I said) there’s someone in my Zumba class who does it at the moment. She’s also not very coordinated (just more of the cray cray), but I know every gym has them and came across a few weirdos when I used to do Body Jam regularly.

  • Char
    July 26, 2013

    I haven’t been to a gym in years and you’ve made me glad that I don’t. Yes, all the things you’d mention would piss me off too and since I’ve turned 50 I seem to have lost some control over my tongue and snidely make comments loudly about people who do the wrong thing. You know the sort of people – the ones who take 25 items through the 15 item checkout.

    • Debbish
      July 26, 2013

      Oh I do that sometimes too Char – but mostly to those who fidget about for their wallet and then their money in the express lanes. “Bloody well have it all ready,” I want to yell at them… although sometimes I say this sarcastically within hearing distance of them! 🙁

      Fortunately my local supermarket has self-checkouts so I don’t have to deal with anyone else!

  • @Kanga_Rue
    July 26, 2013

    It used to drive me nuts in my old gym, where a number of girls would regularly stand in front of the change room mirrors sans clothing (or the teensiest g-string) while styling their hair &/or doing their make-up. I’m no prude, but quite frankly, I don’t need to see it. Worse was it was my WORK gym and I’d later have to deal with some of these women in professional capacity, knowing I’d seen their boobs earlier in the day.

    • Debbish
      July 26, 2013

      Oh thankfully I haven’t been to a gym quite like that for a while. My last gym was a work one but small and not hugely well attended. Most attendees were my age and older – as were the instructors. I loved it! I didn’t mind seeing work people at my gym as it meant I become friendly with peeps in different areas that I wouldn’t normally have met! Having said that – I didn’t have to deal with the more annoying workmates at the gym and it was actually the gym of another business in our building – we just got to go cheaply!

  • William
    July 26, 2013

    I totally agree with the #2. I hate when somebody sweat on the bench!Man, use the f…… towel!

    • Debbish
      July 26, 2013

      Yep… indeed!

  • Carol
    July 26, 2013

    There used to be a guy who turned up every week just as my yoga class was starting and he would squeeze his way into the front row. Inevitably he would be right in front of me in short, shorts that were loose. Think 70’s football/soccer shorts. Every week I’d have to be careful about which way I looked for fear of catching an eyeful in certain poses.

    • Debbish
      July 28, 2013

      Oh no! Yoga can be unflattering at the best of times… let alone with (ahem) inappropriate attire! And yes, hate latecomers who don’t consider those who made it on time and got a decent spot. I used to like a back corner spot in my old gym but then people would come late and wedge themselves in the middle and I’d be almost against the side wall! Hmph!

  • patricia
    July 26, 2013

    unfortunately I am on of those who goes left when every one is going right and back when meant to be going forward etc. etc. = it just cause I am plain uncoordinated that’s why I rarely go classes ——-:-

    • Debbish
      July 26, 2013

      Oh Patricia, at least you recognise you’re doing it and show SOME concern. The woman I complained about seems to have no idea – or at least doesn’t worry. That frustrates me more than anything.

  • Vicki
    July 26, 2013

    Oh I love it! You’ve covered them all and there certainly are quite a deal more that I noticed in my time working in a gym. Maybe I’m a prude but one thing that did bother me was the women who prance around the change room starkers .. OK so I am a prude. And the cliquey divas who are of course know everything about everyone and are not afraid to tell all! OK I’ll stop now …

    • Debbish
      July 26, 2013

      I haven’t had to deal with the dressing room stuff for a while. At my last gym (the one near my workplace), I used to often go and have a shower in my own building so didn’t have to wait or deal with others! Not sure how I’d cope if I was in a rush etc.

      And yes… I’ve always hated the divas. I think when choosing a gym it’s best to avoid the trendiest!

  • Jess
    July 26, 2013

    I can’t handle the hygiene stuff and the hogging the equipment. Also the change rooms need their own post. Some pretty obnoxious stuff happens especially when they’re crowded!

    • Debbish
      July 27, 2013

      Oh yes, I haven’t had to deal with problematic change rooms for a while but do recall how much I dreaded ‘missing out on a shower stall’ when I was a member of a busier gym! I used to hate the dawdlers. Get in and get out for god’s sake!!!

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