10 Unwritten Rules You Must Stick To Whenever You Hit The Gym

In this new era of keeping fit, watching weight and developing six packs, the gym has become the ultimate place where most people spend their time and where they do the oddest things other than exercising. In so many ways, the gym has become an entity or a state with its own breathing community, rules, regulations, traditions, norms and of course the taboos. However, like every other community there is, there are certain things that amounts to treading on the fine lines or over-staying your welcome.

It is absolutely okay to have plenty of questions about the unwritten rules of politeness at the gym. How long should one stay on a machine? Is competing with your treadmill neighbour rude? Should you take selfies? Should you come to the gym anytime you like? All of these questions have answers, and you are about to read them. Brace yourself cos you might just realize that you’ve been using your gym wrong all this while.

The Dos

1. The Time Limit is there for a Reason – Respect it

As much as you are enjoying your workout, keep in mind that getting to the gym is now the new it and as such, there will be people waiting to use the treadmill after you. So, make sure to respect the gym sanctioned time limit for your machine. Say it’s a 30-minute cap, be “very punctual” with getting off the machine in time. It is best to use your code of honour and stick to the allotted time.

2. Any Free Spot you See is Available

There’s no assigned seating at the gym. Even if you attend the same cycling class weekly with the same crop of regulars, you should take whichever spot you like — even if it’s usually someone else’s home base. After all: We’re not in kindergarten and no one owns that space. However, if you feel like the person may get a little territorial (as folks often do at the gym), take an alternative space to avoid unnecessary confrontation. In other words, use your best judgment.

3. Minimize the Excess Phone Talk

gym time

Gabbing endlessly on your cell while someone right next to you is trying to concentrate on lifting isn’t a good idea. It is advised that you avoid personal calls at the gym unless it is absolutely an emergency in which case you should feel free to remove yourself quickly from a class or workout space to deal with it. People come to the gym not only to work out their body but also for a time of quiet and relaxation with ourselves, time away from worrying things like the office and the family Just keep it brief.

4. Respect People’s Personal Space

Are you the only person who gets miffed when there are six treadmills open next to you, and the next person to walk in decides they want to be your neighbour? Absolutely not. If it’s possible, try to give your gym peers some breathing room. If there are multiple treadmills available, avoid snuggling up right next to your fellow gym goer and select a treadmill that is at least one space over to avoid spooking them or being called creepy.

5. Always Wipe the Equipment

This one is not negotiable people. When you finish your workout, use those gym-provided moist towelettes to wipe down the machine. There is nothing worse than touching equipment that is filled with sweat beads from the previous user and it can certainly put off the next person, so be mindful of others and clean up your mess.

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The Don’ts

1. Selfies are a Strict No-No

I hate to be the one to point this out, but please save all of the clicks from your #fitlife Insta-pic for when you get home. You should never take selfies at the gym. People go to the gym to sweat it off, not pose for unlimited photos to post onto the social media. It has been observed that most of the people who take selfies at the gym hardly get any exercise done. Their purpose for coming is mainly to take pics that will deceive others into thinking they actually exercise even though they don’t.

 gym selfie

2. Nude Displays that Discomfort others Should be Tamed

Most people do not like to wear their workout clothes along the road to the gym, hence the need for a locker room where you can change and clean yourself up after your work out.  However, disrobing in the locker room is not any reason to showcase or show off your nude details and make others uncomfortable. Try as much as you can not to linger in your birthday suit, use a towel to cover yourself and change quickly. Also, try to wear a workout costume that covers you up, be sure to keep all naked body parts away from the gym benches, counters, etc. Remember that the Gym is not your personal space or your bedroom, so please spare others the embarrassment.

3. No Competition

As you come to the gym for a certain reason, the person working out beside you might have a different reason and as such, it is not advised to try to compete with him/her. Set a pace for yourself and follow it strictly. It is okay especially on the treadmill, to be curious about the speed that your neighbour is going on but it is not okay to try to overdo them. Again, remember that your reasons for working out are completely different and if you are not fit enough to keep up with this speed, you will only injure yourself in the process and annoy the person. Stick to your own pace and ignore anyone who wants to compete.

4. Let the Instructor be the Judge

At the gym, you’ll see people who are ready to gym to the extreme. If their methods or the way they use a machine is not the way you like it to be used, avert your eyes, let them be and keep your comments to yourself. If it irks you so much that you can’t take it anymore, ask the instructor if what they are doing is okay and the instructor is the judge of that. The only time it is okay to chirp in an unsolicited advice to someone at the gym is if they are using a machine in the wrong way or in a life-threatening way that could injure the person without his or her knowledge.

Read: 10 Bafana Bafana Squad’s Most Amazing Moments

5. The Shower is not your Home

Stop leaving unwanted items all over the place. Shaving cream in the sink, hair’s in the shower, shaving nude while we all try to unpleasantly look away from your wrinkly behind. I know most of the people think there’s nothing wrong with being nude in the showers – but there is a limit. Do us a favour – if you are going to shave for a long time while 20 other men are in the same room as you – at least put on some underwear.

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Linda Chris
Linda Chris
Linda's technical expertise, quick thinking, and critical evaluations ensure everyone is on the same page. You'll often find her labouring over publishing the most grammatically correct version of a piece of article. To unwind, She enjoys reading a book, scribbling something creative or just getting a beauty sleep. Outside all of that, you'll find her glued to a food channel


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