When French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre wrote 'Hell is other people' back in 1944, he was surely sympathetic to those of us using the gym at peak times. The man was prophetic, really.
That was misquoted and taken completely out of context BUT admit it: it fits. We’ve all had the same thought at one time or another. It's frustrating when you're there to workout, to focus, sweat, to get faster, bigger and stronger but in order to do that you have to share floor space with absolute bellends. Or maybe you don't know what we mean. Maybe your gym is a sacred space where everyone respects and cares for one another, where the weights magically rack themselves and where everyone sweats Perrier BUT that isn't true for most of us.
And the truth is that we've probably all been guilty of poor gym etiquette at one time or another. It's a shame. There's a ton of really great people in the gym. In YOUR gym working out right now. The gym should feel like a community: everyone working out to become the best possible version of themselves. We'll bet that the majority of those working out around you are considerate and conscientious and would NEVER ever, not in a hundred million years, think of doing bicep curls right next to the rack, between you and the mirror.
There'll always be one jackass though.
In fact, there's most likely to be more than one, so make sure that it's not you by following our tips on how NOT to be a massive dick in the gym.
Wipe Your Sweat Off the Equipment
There's not much to stop cross-infection on equipment unless you're carrying anti-bacterial spray with you, but wiping down the bench or seat with your towel after you've finished is common courtesy. Nobody wants to sit down in what a member of the Bodybuilding.com forum referred to as 'swamp ass'. If you don't have a towel, then grab some paper towels. If you can't get towels, use the bottom of your shirt because that shit is N-A-S-T-Y. If you're someone who sweats with the ferocity of a cracked fire hydrant, then it's probably worth putting down your towel and lying on it during your workout to prevent saturating the bench.
The average person can sweat between 0.8 and 1.47 litres during an hour of exercise, according to Outside Online. That's pretty crazy and not something the person after you wants to be lying or sitting down in.
Sweating during exercise is completely natural.
Isn't that what most of us head to the gym to do? But remember that it can ruin headphones. Once that salty moisture gets into the cups and cushions of your Beats or Bose, Sony or Sennheisers, it can ruin them. Only EarHugz are designed to protect your headphones from sweat damage so don't forget to make them your go-to gym accessory.
Wash Your Gym Kit Regularly
The gym can get pretty stinky.
With all that sweating, it's never going to be confused with a Lush store, BUT do everyone a solid and don't add your special brand of honk into the mix. If it's noticeable when you walk in, then it's sure as hell going to be noticeable after thirty minutes of cardio. And it's just THE WORST in a gym because it's not as though the rest of us can hold our breath. Your gym kit shouldn't be left to stew in the bottom of your bag between sessions, either. It needs to be washed regularly. You never know, either, what wearing a clean kit could do for you mentally. You might remember our previous post on men's leggings and the principle of enclothed cognition: where looking good can actually help you to perform better.
Put Your Weights Back
What is it with people not re-racking their weights? Who do they think will do it for them?
Our guess? Maybe they're all really big fans of Easter and want to recreate the joy of a hunt. Most likely, it's a lazy bellend who couldn't be bothered to walk the five meters or so to put them back.
There's most definitely going to be a special circle of hell reserved for these people. Putting your weights back is just common courtesy. None of us wants to waste our precious time searching for the weights we need. Stick them back on the rack when you're done and let us all live together in peace and harmony. Amen.
Stop Hoarding Equipment
We get it.
It would be awesome if you could have the gym to yourself. Kind of like when you're a kid and you imagine getting locked in the toy store for the evening but here's the thing: you don't have your own gym and that means that you have to share with everyone else and play nice. It's not cool to workout on multiple machines at once especially if they're nowhere near each other.
We get that you like doing your circuit training and that you're pumped for your super-set workout but other people have the right to use the machines and weights, too. You can't use everything simultaneously which means people (plural!) will be waiting for you to finish and that makes it at a dick move. If supersets are your thing, then move your workout to a quieter time or give one up when someone gets in line. We're all trying to share the same space.
Don't give unsolicited advice
People go to the gym to crack on with their workout. They're probably not going to be super stoked if you trot on over and offer your advice on their form.
The obvious exception here is when you see someone doing something dangerous or likely to cause injury.
People don't normally want to be tutored by their peers and they may not respond to criticism well no matter how kindly put. If you're qualified to say something and really can't help it, then get to know the individual first even if it's just to say hello before you approach them.
Bonus tip: Don't perve on people. It is really not cool to be a creeper. Don't be THAT guy (or indeed girl) giving the rest of us a bad name.
We might call it gym etiquette but really it's just being polite; it's common sense at its most basic. Maybe the gym makes it easy for some to revert to their teenage selves: the bad attitude, the musty gym kit, the not picking up after themselves, the I-know-better-than-you attitude and the hoarding of equipment looking a lot like the hoarding of cutlery and cups in a teenagers bedroom BUT we should all strive to be the best we can in the gym both physically and in the how we treat the equipment and each