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Gym etiquette

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Some obvious – but often ignored – rules to follow in workout spaces

Is there some secret code of conduct for gym goers? Not really. You’ve probably come across most of these rules growing up. Be nice to others. Clean up after yourself. Use inside voices. Sharing is caring. Give others the space they need. Nothing too crazy.

The more people that follow these rules, the more the gym becomes a safe and comfortable space for all. Here are some rules – common courtesies – you should follow when you’re at the gym:

Be kind and respectful to your fellow gym goers

This rule should go without saying, but you should always be respectful of others. You should never mock anyone for whatever reason. Don’t secretly take video or photos of the person on the machine in front of you, it’s a violation of their privacy.

Clean up after yourself

While sweating after an intense workout feels great, nobody wants to hop on an elliptical or train on the weight floor in someone else’s sweat puddle. You should keep a towel handy to keep your sweat at bay.

Another culprit at the gym we want to fully avoid: germs. A study has shown that 63% of gyms have germs and viruses (including the rhinovirus of the common cold). Gross. Do yourself and your fellow gym goers a favor, grab the disinfectant wipes and clean up your station when you’re done.

Hold back on the excessive grunting

We have all come across that person. We may have even rolled our eyes at them. The person on the weight floor who’s loud grunts echo across the gym. We are not asking you to whisper, just to be mindful of those around you and the space you’re in. These sudden loud noises can be startling, distracting, and just flat out annoying to other gym members. Try power breathing: inhale going down, and exhale going up.

Don’t hog the equipment

This is where the lesson of sharing is caring comes into play. Be considerate that others may need to use some of the equipment your using. Be flexible. Don’t sit on equipment if you aren’t using it. Don’t set up station at three different machines simultaneously on a weekday evening when the gym is bustling. (But hey if you’ve got most of the gym to yourself, you do you.)

Put things back where they belong

There is nothing worse when you can’t find the weights or equipment you are looking for. Or when you see a bench blocking the weight rack or a pathway. Put the equipment back where it belongs so people can easily find what they need. This also helps avoid any safety hazards with equipment where it shouldn’t be.

Respect personal space

Some people need more of it than others, but you should still always give people personal space. Don’t jump on machine directly next to someone if there is a row of other machines that are open.

Hold off on the advice

We know you mean well (and just want to help) but going up to strangers and giving them unwarranted advice can be off-putting. It can also make them feel unwelcome in the space. Hold off on the advice unless someone is in immediate danger.

Keep the selfies to a minimum

You just benched your record weight, ran a record 5k and want to show off. Go ahead, you should be proud of your fitness accomplishments. But please don’t spend 15 minutes trying to get the perfect selfie while people are waiting for a machine. (Make sure to keep other gym goers out of the frame unless they have explicitly agreed to be in the photo.)

Take your calls outside

We are not asking you to part with your phone; many of us depend on music to power us through our workouts. (We’ve shared some of our favorite playlists here.) But save the phone calls for after the gym. Would you want to hear someone yapping away during a relaxing yoga session? It can even be distracting to others trying to keep count of their reps. Switch to silent mode and use your workout as an opportunity to disconnect.

The rules of the gym can be applied to most public spaces. Let’s remember the gym is a shared space and we should do our part in making ourselves and others comfortable. Getting active should be fun for you and for those sharing the same space.


Healthy Living is a frequently updated content section brought to you by the Saudi Sports for All Federation. In the spirit of supporting our #HealthyActiveCommunity, we’re sharing tips around wellness, physical activity and more!

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