The Dude Society

An Online Magazine for Guys.

Gym Etiquette

When it comes to looking good, very little is more important than being in good shape. Picking the right clothes can only do so much. There's nothing like a nice crisp button down shirt busting at the gut because you're too lazy to go to the gym. For some reason, maybe it's the testosterone, or the alpha-male tendencies, but the gym tends to bring out the douche in many guys. Here are are some tips to help you get in shape without being a douchebag in the process:

Proper Gym Attire

Yes, you will be getting sweaty. No, you can't wear the ripped, sweat stained, faded shirt in your drawer. You should always strive to look good, or at the very least clean, and presentable. You never know who you're going to run into at the gym. Well-fitting (gym) shorts and a clean t-shirt is a great choice. It's nice to have quality gym-wear, but unless you're a body-builder, you don't need the back brace, the sweat bands, and gloves. Nor do you need to be covered head-to-toe in Under Armour logos. Let's be clear, there is a fine line between proper attire, and outright douchebaggery.

No Grunting, Groaning, or Yelling.

Work out hard, work up a sweat, but keep the noises to a minimum.  This is especially true if you're not the biggest, strongest guy in the gym (and let's face it, you're probably not). There is nothing worse than an average dude lifting 25lbs and grunting like he is pulling a freight train with his teeth.

No Posing or Peacocking

Yes, we all know there are a lot of mirrors at the gym... but that's not an invitation to pace around, flexing, and enjoying your own reflection. Go to your average gym and you'll see an amazing number of dudes admiring themselves in the mirror. Even worse, pretty sure most think all the women in the place are checking them out too. They're not.

Be Respectful of the Equipment.

That means use a towel when you sit on the machines, wipe them down when done if excessively sweaty, and put things back where they belong.  And whatever you do, don't drop the weights. It's just a sign that you picked up something that was too heavy for you in the first place.

Be Respectful of Others

Don't take up more than a few minutes on each machine.  No texting while on the machines either (since I know you would never think of talking on the phone at the gym...right?). Don't take up more than one machine by bouncing back and forth between two of them, or worse, putting your personal stuff on them to hold your place. Lastly, unless you have won some major award or have a degree in physical training, don't offer anyone else workout advice.

Avoid the Locker Room like the Plague

Do everything you can to avoid the locker room... especially the shower.  There is practically no more foul, disease-ridden place on earth. If you are changing out of work clothes and into workout clothes, that is the most acceptable scenario.  Going the other way requires showering, and that, unless a dire circumstance has arisen, is not acceptable.  If you should find yourself in this situation, make sure to bring your own toiletries, as using the community shower gel and shampoo found in most gyms is like drinking the remains of a beer that someone left on the bar.  You must also absolutely wear a pair of rubber flip-flops since standing on that floor is sure to end with a case of some nasty unrecognizable foot fungus and multiple rounds of antibiotics. So there you go big guy, get to the gym and get your ass in shape. Just do it...right.

About the author

Rich is the resident food & drink expert. He's been cooking since age ten, and has probably eaten and drank at most every restaurant or bar in New York City.

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6 responses to “Gym Etiquette”

  1. Ant says:

    Another excellent DS article. I completely agree, especially about the locker room and the dreaded petri dish shower. I am sadly forced to utilize the locker as I go to the gym on my lunch hour and need a place to change. I take great pains not to touch anything I don't have to, and I wouldn't sit on the benches if you paid me. 2 weeks ago I saw a guy pop a squat on the bench sans clothing. He didn't even use a towel as a barrier! It was like watching a dog drag his arse across your new white living room rug after taking a dump in your kitchen. I ran for my life!

  2. ant says:

    I am unfortunately compelled to write another post… At the gym yesterday, I had the awful luck of seeing Mr. "I mark my territory like an animal" again, sitting bare-assed on the bench in the locker room. I almost puked at the sight.
    After I change to go back to my job after my workout, I went to wash my hands one last time and witnessed the horror of this guy getting up and walking barefoot (still nude, mind you) into the bathroom to go drop a deuce in a stall.

    I ran out of there practically convulsing, because I KNOW that guy was gonna go sit back on the bench bare-assed again in 5 minutes. I'm so disgusted just thinking about it.

  3. @MeghanButler says:

    Great post. Also, don't continually stare at an unassuming girl so she gets all weird and twitchy and then pretend that you're looking in the mirror: http://bit.ly/qWEbTE {my post on awkward gym experiences #shamelessplug}

  4. Bart says:

    What’s wrong with bouncing around machines (besides the part about leaving stuff to hold your place)? It’s better than hogging a machine and sitting there during rest periods. Most workout routines suggest alternating exercises.

    As far as clothes go, I think I have the worst offender at my gym. A man with a beer belly that wears black briefs (or speedos?) instead of shorts, leaving his butt sweat wherever he sits.

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