20 Rude Gym Habits That No One Will Thank You For

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When you join a gym, you’re joining a community with its own set of unwritten rules. Respect these norms to avoid ruining this ‘sacred’ space for other gym-goers with poor etiquette that’s likely to be frowned upon.

Occupying Space Next To The Weight Rack


There’s an unspoken rule all gym rats know about: the weight rack is off-limits for workouts. It’s wise to maintain a five-foot distance from this area to keep the flow of the gym smooth. When starting a set of bicep curls right in front of the rack, you prevent others from accessing the weights they need. 

The best approach? Grab your weights and find a spot away from the rack to do your workout. This ensures everyone can get their turn without disruption.

Talking Too Much (Especially To Those With Headphones!)


It’s wise to limit casual conversations at the gym, especially with strangers who are focused on their workouts. Engaging someone in a long discussion can be disruptive, as many people are there to train and may have limited time. 

If you really need to talk, keep it brief and to the point to respect others’ time and focus.



While a natural scent might be acceptable in some settings, the gym isn’t one of them. 

With so many people exercising in one place, it’s considerate to use deodorant to minimize body odor. Still, you want to avoid strong perfumes and colognes, as they can be overwhelming or cause allergic reactions in a confined space.

Giving Someone a ‘Compliment’


It’s good to think twice before complimenting someone at the gym, similar to how you wouldn’t assume someone’s life details without knowing them. For example, telling someone they look skinny might seem like a compliment, but if they’re actually striving to gain weight, your comment could feel discouraging—especially since they are working hard at the gym to build muscles. 

Some well-intentioned remarks might not be received as expected, thus it’s important to recognize that everyone has different health objectives, and what might be a compliment to one person could be a setback to another.

Monopolizing The Equipment


Hogging machines during peak gym hours is a definite faux pas. Sharing equipment courteously is one of the most important rules of gym etiquette. Being aware and communicative about how you use the machines can greatly enhance everyone’s workout experience. 

If you notice someone waiting, it’s considerate to inform them of how much time you have left, or better yet, invite them to alternate sets with you! 

Not Cleaning Up After Yourself


Always remember the basic courtesy of cleaning up after yourself at the gym. If your workout involves various equipment like mats, weights, and kettlebells, make sure to put them back once you’re done. 

Lifestyle and weight-loss coach Dawn Bartolini emphasizes the importance of returning everything to its proper place, reminding everyone that it’s not ok to leave a mess behind and casually walk out of the gym. Keep the gym tidy by storing equipment where it belongs, not just where it’s convenient.

Taking Selfies

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We all know that one person who is constantly posing for cool gym selfies—rude! 

This selfie session can be a distraction to yourself and also to others trying to focus on their workouts. Is the gym moments really need to be captured and shared every time? Instead of pausing your routine to snap a picture, focus on your fitness goals and maintain a respectful environment for fellow gym-goers

Throwing Your Weights Around


Throwing weights around in a regular gym can be startling and dangerous. 

It’s considerate to place weights down gently to avoid accidents and disturbances. If the load is too much, it’s safer to use lighter weights or get a spotter. This keeps the gym a safe place for everyone, helping avoid unnecessary risks and injuries.

Giving Unwanted Advice 


Offering unsolicited advice at the gym (even with the best intentions) can often backfire. We get it—you’re just trying to be helpful. But unless someone explicitly asks for your opinion on how they workout, it’s best to just mind your own business!

Unwarranted advice can be intimidating and might even demotivate the very people you’re trying to help. If you’re genuinely concerned about someone’s safety, a discreet word with the gym staff or a professional trainer is the way to go. They’re equipped to handle these situations properly without stepping on any toes—literally or figuratively!

Filming Others Without Their Consent

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With everyone carrying a camera in their pocket, it’s tempting to capture moments that seem funny or unusual, but recording people without their consent (e.g. they’re using a machine in a funny way or wearing something you find amusing) is against gym etiquette and also a violation of common decency. 

Rather than filming someone for a laugh, why not make them feel welcome with a friendly greeting or an offer to help? This approach enhances the gym’s community spirit and respects everyone’s privacy.

Leaving Behind Sweat-Soaked Equipment


Leaving behind a sweaty mess on gym equipment is both unpleasant and unsanitary.

Because no one wants to deal with someone else’s sweat during their workout, most gyms provide wipes to clean machines after use, ensuring everything stays hygienic for the next person. 

Not Sticking to the Class Routine


Jumping into a fitness class is a fantastic to utilize your gym’s offerings. If you find the moves challenging, give it your best shot rather than doing your own thing. Deviating from the routine can throw off the instructor and distract other participants. 

Fitness classes thrive on unity and rhythm, and keeping in step with the group helps maintain the session’s energy and effectiveness. If you’re dealing with an injury or special needs, a quick chat with the instructor before the class can usually secure some modifications that allow you to participate fully without disrupting the flow.

Flirting Inappropriately With Gym Goers


The gym isn’t the place for making romantic advances. While it’s fine to find someone attractive, remember that most people are there to work out, not to be hit on. 

Keep interactions polite and professional, respecting the gym as a safe space for everyone. If you really need to confess to your gym crush, make sure it’s outside the gym!

Occupying Equipment While Using Your Phone

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Spending too much time on your phone while sitting on gym equipment can be counterproductive to your workout and hinder others from using the machines.

If you’re looking to make the most of your time at the gym, keep your phone usage to a minimum and stay active between sets (save replying to those ‘urgent’ messages for after your workout!)

Leaving Equipment Wet After Cleaning


Kudos for wiping down your gym equipment—a habit not everyone sticks to, just don’t fortget to dry it off after cleaning, as leaving equipment soaking wet can be just as unwelcome as not cleaning it at all!

No one wants to sit on a bench that feels like a wet sponge—a quick dry-off ensures the next person can start their workout comfortably and appreciatively.

Overcrowding Around The Squat Racks

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Steer clear of the squat racks unless you’re engaging in compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, or shoulder presses. The squat rack isn’t the spot for bicep curls—there are dumbbells and other bars made just for those. This guidance applies to any other non-rack exercises too.

Just a friendly reminder: the squat rack is reserved for those heavy lifts! 

Singing Loudly 


Caught in the groove of your favorite jam at the gym? It’s best to keep that sing-along in your head. You’re not in your shower at home, and everyone around can hear your terrible singing! 

Enjoy your music privately and remember that fellow gym-goers might not appreciate a live performance while they’re just trying to peacefully workout. 

Continuously Making Grunting Sounds


While lifting heavy weights is challenging, constant grunting can be off-putting to others around you. James Shapiro, a NASM-certified trainer based in NYC, advises learning proper breathing techniques to keep the noise down and also improve your strength and muscle gains. 

Instead of making noise, find motivation by listening to some motivational workout music—works every time!

Hanging Clothes On Workout Equipment


Using gym equipment as a makeshift coat rack for personal items like bags or clothes can be misleading to others who might think the equipment is occupied. 

Keep your belongings in a locker or a designated area to avoid confusion and keep the gym tidy and organized.

Treating The Locker Room Like A Public Space


The locker room isn’t the place for loud video chats or live streams. NASM-certified trainer and instructor 

Eve Dawes strongly discourages using FaceTime or similar apps in this shared space, aiming to preserve privacy and comfort for everyone trying to shower and change. Be respectful by taking personal calls and social media activities elsewhere.

Kate Smith, a self-proclaimed word nerd who relishes the power of language to inform, entertain, and inspire. Kate's passion for sharing knowledge and sparking meaningful conversations fuels her every word.