Do’s and don’ts at the gym

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There are many reasons why people don’t enjoy the gym environment – it’s not for everyone. But for me it’s a home away from home. However a lot of the time it’s like being back at University and living in a frat house with all the disgusting habits that are stereotypical of a male dominated zone. But don’t let this stop you from getting your workout in, this is common in every single gym and everyone experiences a lot of the same things.

Here are some of my top pet peeves about the gym all of which I encounter during each and every workout. Gym goers take note and be sure to drop a weight plate on someone’s foot when they’ve broken gym etiquette, or go one further and give them a smack with your sweaty t-shirt.

If I wanted to hear grunts and screams during exercise I’d turn on the tennis. This is a gym, not Wimbledon.


I get it, you want to use the machine I’m on but constantly hovering and asking how many sets I have left isn’t going to make me go any faster. If anything it’s going to make me want to train slower just to p*ss you off. With training you don’t want to get through your exercises too quickly or you’ll pull a muscle and do some serious damage. When strength training, good form is encouraged to prevent said injury. By hovering you make it incredibly hard for us to focus on our workout and this is when our form will likely take a beating. We’re tired, sweaty and just want the reps and sets to end as much as you do, but please do not hover and make getting the final few reps out even harder than they are.


Staring is just as bad as hovering. Perhaps you’ve seen someone doing an exercise you haven’t tried before or maybe you just like what you see – but try and make it a little less obvious that you’re looking directly at them. Some people might enjoy the ego boost, but most of the time it’s actually annoying and embarrassing for all parties involved. The occasional glance isn’t an issue as you’re bound to cross paths with people you see on a regular basis that are on the same gym schedule as you. But there really is no need to stare. Nobody enjoys feeling like they’re a goldfish in a glass bowl.


This is such a simple thing to do. There’s a sign in my gym that says “if you can lift it, you can put it back” and it’s so true. You might be a big guy who can lift a pole and slide on 60kg of weight plates no problem, but when you’re smaller lifting a pole off the ground to get the weight off is difficult and awkward. So do everyone a favour and just put the weight plates back because chances are you were hogging them all anyway. Sharing is caring after all.


Some days the gym is very much like the jungle. You’ll have the really big “meathead” guys who slam the weights and grunt like a gorilla claiming their territory as king of the gym, while the rest of us live in fear of the floor shaking beneath us from unstoppable force of their manly testosterone. What’s worse is when you’ve got your music on loud, you’re in the zone and yet you can still hear someone on the leg press machine grunting and breathing like they’re in labour. If the weight is too heavy, take it down a notch – you don’t need to impress anyone by building up so much pressure you give yourself a brain haemorrhage. Plus, if I wanted to hear grunts and screams during exercise I’d turn on the tennis. This is a gym, not Wimbledon.


You will always come across someone who secretly flexes when they’re stretching. We’re not oblivious to you posers out there. Just done 50 crunches? Lifting up your shirt to see if your six pac is there makes you look stupid. Yes there are mirrors in the gym but they’re to reflect light and make the place look spacious amongst the concrete and steel. The mirrors in the locker room are where you can get up close and personal with your abs and your bicep flexing without looking like too much of an idiot.


The trouble with the gym is that every bench and seat is leather which means you stick to it and your sweat goes all over the place. There’s a reason for this though as the surface is easy to clean and keep hygienic. Therefore it’s not such a big ask to put a towel on the bench or give it a wipe down with some tissue when you’re done. It takes a matter of seconds. No one wants to use a machine that is slimy and smells like the last person that used it. Its common courtesy to clean up after yourself in a public place – be sweaty and messy in your own home please.


The number of times I’ve seen people more invested in their Facebook pages and text messages than their workouts is worrying. I go to the gym to disconnect from the outside world for an hour and you should too. Leave your phone in your locker, or if you need it for your Spotify playlists put your phone on flight mode so that you don’t get interrupted. Of course there will be times when you don’t really feel like working out and you need a little distraction so a quick 10 second flick through Twitter is acceptable. But don’t sit on a bike and play Angry Birds, or have a phone call in the middle of the free weights area. Seriously, you could have done all of this at home rather than getting in the way. Leave your phone out of the gym zone.

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