Generation Iron Roelly Gym Etiquette

Use gym etiquette so you won’t be “that guy.”

Every gym is a tightly-packed maze of different machines.  Equipment is typically placed extremely close together by owners in order to give clients the most workout options per square foot.   Since everyone’s in a hurry, it’s common to see people flinging kettle balls carelessly, dropping heavy weights on the floor, taking over machines, and just generally using bad form on the floor.

After a decade of personal instruction in gyms across New York, I’ve seen a lot of knuckleheads breaking the rules.  Gym etiquette isn’t rocket science, but it is a combination of common sense, safety considerations, and respect for others.  Below, check out a few gym etiquette tips to make sure you’re never “that person.”

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Put ‘Em Back

Please put your weights back on the rack where you found them.  Replacing barbells correctly and promptly means your fellow gym members don’t have to hunt around for them.

Sharing Is Caring

We all get a very limited time to spend in the gym.  If you are doing multiple sets on the machine, be aware and try to let others work out on the same machine during your rest time. This is especially important to bear in mind if you are using multiple machines at once in a super set or sequence of exercises.

Leave No Trace Behind

An important part of gym etiquette is wiping down gym equipment after you have used it.  Nobody wants to sit in a puddle of your sweat, or grasp handles slick with moisture. Gross!  Always carry a gym towel with you, and remember to use it whenever you get off a machine or bench.

Don’t Be An Equipment Hog

Avoid sitting on equipment you are not using, especially at peak gym hours, and don’t spend unnecessary time on machines chatting between sets, especially if you are using one-of-a-kind equipment.  Plenty of gyms impose a time limit during busy hours for just that reason.  Obey it!

Ditch The Cell Phone

Everyone gets annoyed when gym members use their phones on the floor.   It’s inconsiderate and distracting.  You’re here for a workout, not to chat with your peeps! Leave it in your locker.

Be Cool Near The Mirrors

It’s considered poor gym etiquette to walk or stand in front of people using mirrors, because for some exercises, like squats, it’s the best way to maintain the correct form.  Yes, I know you look better, but don’t sabotage their view.

Ask Before You Use

Do ask if people are finished with equipment once they have gotten up, without assuming they are.  And definitely don’t just move equipment that has only been left alone for a moment.  Asking first is the right thing to do – they may have just gone to get a drink of water!

Soap Up Before You Work Out

This is one of my biggest pet peeves.  Nobody should have to smell a dirty person working out. Ladies, this means you too.  Don’t be stinky, please use deodorant, and always wear fresh clothes.  Want to wear the same clothes you used yesterday?  Don’t do it!  Believe me, they’re worse than you think. This might be one of the most important aspects of gym etiquette. This can’t be stressed enough.

When you behave in a gym as you would in a friend’s house, with courtesy and consideration, you’ll always come out ahead.


Enjoy your workout!
Geo Chang, C.P.T.

Got feedback, comments or suggestions?
Hit me at [email protected]


Geo is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist whose mission is to educate and empower his clients to live healthier and happier lives. Geo has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition/ Biochemistry and is RD eligible. Geo Has maintained a thriving practice in New York City for more than 7 years. He brings the triple threat of education, experience, and passion to health & fitness for his clients.

You can visit his website here:


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