9 Things You Must Never Do In The Gym

Poor gym etiquette can be the bane of any training session. Learn what the pros find annoying, and brush up on your lifting manners with this list of common fitness faux pas.

Ever see something in the gym that just irks you? If so, you aren’t alone. All of us have those little things that get under our skin. Whether it’s waiting for a machine as someone texts between reps, finding a bench soaked in sweat, or having to hear weights crash across the gym, pet peeves can make any training session less enjoyable.

Here to share with you some of their biggest gym pet peeves—and give you advice on the rules of gym etiquette—are the members of Team Bodybuilding.com. Have a quick look at what sets them off and make sure you aren’t making any of these mistakes the next time you work out.


Pet Peeve 1: Leaving Equipment Sweaty

“One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone sweaty doesn’t bother wiping off the benches, pads, and equipment after use,” says Dymatize athlete and lifestyle coach Brooke Erickson.

Not only is this uncomfortable for other members, it can be unhygienic as well. Sweat contains a wide assortment of germs and bacteria, leading to the spread of viruses. Tainted gym surfaces can cause you to catch staphylococcus aureus (staph infections), candida (ringworm), and even E. coli. Don’t be lazy. Get a towel, and wipe that bench down.


Pet Peeve 2: Hogging The Machines

For fitness personality and BSN athlete Sara Solomon, machine hogs are the worst.

“Waiting for my turn to use the equipment is the biggest gym pet peeve I have,” she explains. “It’s an intensity buzzkill.”

Next time you’re in the gym, be mindful of those around you. If you see someone waiting to use a piece of equipment you’re on, ask them if they want to work in. If you have multiple sets left, try and finish your reps quickly to give them a chance. This becomes especially true when you’re doing supersets on multiple pieces of equipment.


Pet Peeve 3: Not Reracking Weights

“It drives me crazy when people don’t put their weights back after they’re finished with them,” says Bodybuilding.com athlete Kathleen Tesori.

Reracking your weights is something you should be doing out of courtesy for others. Not only does it help them find what they need faster, it also keeps the gym free of clutter, which can become an injury hazard.

NPC Competitor Amanda Bucci adds, “The gym is a sanctuary. Not racking the weights is disrespectful to the establishment and its members.”

Pet Peeve 4: Screaming While Lifting

Myprotein athlete Lawrence Ballenger isn’t afraid to quiet overzealous bros competing to be the loudest in the gym. Yelling out, dropping weights, and causing a ruckus doesn’t classify you as alpha.

“I hate it when guys scream at the gym for no reason,” he says. “If you aren’t lifting over 500 pounds, you should not be able to be heard across the gym.”

It’s one thing to let out a little grunt if it helps you get the weight up, but it’s quite another to be shouting just to get attention. Screaming and distracting people from their own sessions isn’t fair. Be respectful of others using the gym space.


Pet Peeve 5: Texting at The Gym

“Seeing people on their phone texting is one of my biggest pet peeves,” notes Performix athlete Alex Silver-Fagan. “I want the gym to be a motivating environment, and it’s always a bummer when you see people slacking off. Let’s push each other and keep up the momentum!”

While it’s fine to log your workout, check how many reps and sets you have left, or change a song, texting with your buddies for long bouts of time (especially while someone else is waiting for the equipment) is poor gym etiquette. When in the gym, put your phone down. You’ll not only reap benefits by ramping up intensity and training harder, but others around you may appreciate it as well.


Pet Peeve 6: The Oblivious Naked Guy in the Locker Room

If there’s one thing that IFBB pro Craig Capurso can’t stand, it’s bad locker room behavior.

“My biggest beef is with guys who sit naked—balls and cheeks on the bench—in the men’s locker room,” he says with disgust.

Always remember, just because you’re comfortable with your body doesn’t mean everyone else is. When you’re in a public place, show some respect for others and keep yourself covered (or at least sit on a towel).


Pet Peeve 7: Overcrowded Gyms

For NLA for Her athlete Jessie Hilgenberg, the lag in intensity that can come from fighting off gym crowds tops the list.

“My biggest pet peeve is overcrowded gyms,” she says. “I like to have the machines and weights I need available when I need them.”

While it’s understandable to have to wait on occasion, constantly standing around or (worse yet) having to sign up for time slots, is no fun. While you can always find alternatives to bide your time—whether that’s holding a wall squat while waiting for the rack or doing raises on the stair’s edge while hoping a seated calf machine will free up—let’s face it, it’s a buzzkill.


Pet Peeve 8: Training Sick

There might be some truth to sweating out a fever, but when it comes to shared spaces it’s important to remember that full-blown coughs and sky-rocketing temperatures are not communal.

“A couple sniffles are fine, but if you’re blowing your nose between sets, coughing in between reps, or have a fever, stay home and rest,” says powerlifter Karina Baymiller. “You’re not only delaying your own recovery, you’re risking getting everyone else in the gym sick as well.”


Pet Peeve 9: Posing for Selfies

Baymiller also notes that people tend to be a little too excessive with selfies and social videos.

“A quick #FlexFriday selfie or a video to check your form is totally acceptable and encouraged, but if you’re spending more time snapping pics in the mirror or filming your booty for the ‘gram than you are training, it’s time to reassess your priorities,” she says.

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