Meeting your other half’s parents, job interviews, losing your virginity: three events that, while intimidating, pale in comparison to a gym induction.
Just imagine: you’re surrounded by meatheads that can bench press everything but their car, and you don’t even know what a rep is. Worse yet, said meatheads are livid because you’ve left the weights out.
While we can’t do much in way of conflict resolution, we can provide the social etiquette to avoid such scrapes with our comprehensive list of commandments.
No Mirror Selfies
Contrary to what #Fitspo Instagram feeds will have you believe, it’s not acceptable to take photos of yourself in the mirror. We don’t care if you think it’ll make a fire Tinder picture. It won’t.
Don’t Flex Or Lift Up Your Shirt In The Mirrors Either
Who are you trying to impress, exactly? The 45-year-old dad on the rowing machine or the girl on the treadmill who’s frowning your way?
Don’t Give Unsolicited Tips Or Advice
Make like a Victorian child and be seen rather than heard. If someone wants your advice because your squat game is strong, they’ll be sure to ask for it.
Don’t Loiter Around Equipment That’s In Use
You know how annoying is it when you’re trying to reverse out of a parking space and a car behind is blocking your way trying to jump in? Yeah, well times that by a million.
Wipe Down Machines
Giving blood, sweat and tears is a metaphor, not a demand. Always wipe down benches and machines after use.
Never Unload A Barbell Unless You’re Sure Nobody Is Using It
The one thing more infuriating than someone disrupting your session is someone stealing your equipment.
Never Speak To Anyone Mid-Set
Be Clean And Pack Fresh Gear
You might be able to tolerate the funk of three-day old gym kit but your fellow gym-goers don’t want to.
Put Your Weights Back
Other people pay just as much to use the equipment – the least you can do is leave it in the right place.
Stack Your Plates Correctly
Placing 5s and 10s behind a 45 is unnecessary.
Make Sure There’s Enough Space
Kettlebell swings can work wonders for your hamstrings, less so for a passer-by’s jaw.
Don’t Hog Equipment
Until you can afford to build a gym in your spare room, you’ll have to learn to share.
Don’t Do Bicep Curls In The Squat Rack
There’s a reason it’s called the squat rack. Unless you’re crunching those buns, stay well away.
Fart In A Secluded Area
Remember, they can be pungent when you’re pushing the protein shakes. Under no circumstances do it next to someone inhaling deeply.
Don’t Bother Someone With Headphones In
They want to listen to the sweet dulcet tones of One Direction (probably), not your annoying queries and/or small talk.
Walkways Are Not For Lunges
They’re for walking, shockingly.
Don’t Make Alpha Groans Or Grunts
You sound more Venus Williams than Van Damme.
Don’t Feel Threatened
Everyone’s body is built differently, and therefore works differently. Stronger lifters shouldn’t dent your pride (or hear how you squatted 250kg before ‘your injury’).
Don’t Take It As A Dating Opportunity
Do not attempt flirtatious chit-chat or ambush them at the water fountain – nobody wants to be hit on while still covered in their own sweat.
If You Don’t Know, Ask
The majority of people are good, kind human beings that’ll be happy to point you in the right direction – there’s nothing to feel stupid about (headphones depending).
But Realise That If Someone Is Mocking You, They’re An Arsehole
The gym is a space for self improvement, not judgement. Don’t let it bother you.
Don’t Wear The Dregs Of Your Wardrobe
We all get it – you don’t want to wear your best clothes to anywhere that involves other people’s bodily fluids. But try to avoid underdressing – no holes, no big stains and no terrible slogans.
You’ll definitely see some sights at the gym. Maybe you’ll see someone with a better technique than you. Maybe it’s a particularly form-fitting gym outfit. But whatever you do – don’t stare. We’re all in a room, bearing our souls and looking are worst – the number one unwritten rule is: head down.
Respect The Machines
Don’t use a machine incorrectly on purpose. Likelihood is, you don’t know better than the person who invented it.
Don’t Involve The Whole Gym In Your Conversation
No one doubts that you need to tell your mate about last night’s date, but maybe don’t yell it across three treadmills.
Make Sure A Machine Is Free
Before you get too comfortable, make double sure no one is using the machine you’ve just got onto. Look for water bottles, towels – any sign of human life.
Stay Away From Your Phone
Get your latest diva anthems Spotify playlist going, by all means – but treat the gym like the quiet coach of a train. If anyone calls you – take it outside. And the Instagram #fitspo post can wait, indefinitely.