29 Gym Tips for Better Gym Etiquette (and Domination)

September 26, 2015

About the Author: Eric Bach

I’m in Georgia for the weekend to spend a few days at a wedding. Once I leave the monstrosity known as Hartsfield-Jackson airport , I’ll be crushing some Southern BBQ, having push-up contests’ with my brother-in-law, and rumor has it… testing out some moonshine (if I’m brave enough).

Hopefully, I don’t go blind. Stay tuned to Instagram, this may get interesting.

As a disclaimer, this is isn’t a typical weekend. Rather than fretting about making “poor dietary choices” on the weekend, I work to keep a short memory.

Why? Well, your diet is the sum of all your choices.

You should be able to go out and enjoy yourself on the weekend if you’re making great choices throughout the week and live a little bit. Building a healthy body and lifestyle should improve your life, rather than consume it 100% of the time. 

Now, with all of this said, I won’t be leaving you empty handed this weekend. In honor of #‎GymEtiquetteWeek‬, started by James Fell, my dude Shane Mclean is dropping the hammer.

29 Gym Tips for Better Gym Etiquette

Like you, we love the gym.

It’s a sanctuary.

A place to de-stress, throw some weight, and get better every day. It’s a great place to improve the mind, body, and soul all at once. If you’re lucky, your gym even has has a competitive atmosphere, loud music, and an environment conducive to being absolutely awesome and making huge gains. 

 Unfortunately, it’s not always this amazing.

There are some crazy, random happenings in the fitness industry. I’ve seen stuff that that will make you scratch your head, make your eyes burn and make you want your forehead to meet a brick wall, repeatedly.

1. Enough with fitness shaming (Hello, Biggest Loser). Instead fitness should be celebrated like American Ninja Warrior.

2.Training involves more than posting to Facebook or Instagram. Pick up a weight or two before the bragging begins, and don’t take up space trying to get selfies.

3.Don’t ever show your underarm fat to a coach and ask, “What do I do about these chicken wings?” Do I really need to say why?

4. Those dance moves belong in a club and not in front of the dumbbell rack while I’m waiting to get my curls on.

5. Laying the weight plates by the weight stack doesn’t count as putting them away. Eric’s note: Not-reracking your weights is ground for a face-kick.

6. If you’re grunting so loudly that everybody can hear you, you better not have alb pink dumbbells in your hands. While hard-work is appreciated, grunting just to let everyone know you’re here is not.

7. You know water jug guy? Never, ever be water jug guy.  There’s a water foundation in every room. Your dedication to hydration is noted, but that still doesn’t make it okay.

8.Knee bends are not squats and never will be. Get some weight off the bar and sit between your hips, not on your toes over the front of them.

9.Put some clothes on.  We appreciate your hard work in the kitchen and gym, but there’s no need to turn your training into a preview of late-night cinamax. Related: Being “ripped, shredded, and toned” doesn’t make you a fitness “expert.”

10. It’s okay to sweat, dude, but please, pretty please clean up after yourself. You’re not at home anymore.

11.Wearing sunglasses while working out is never cool. Eric’s Note: I watched Kobe train reppin’ a purple-jump suit and sunglasses. I’m still not sure what to think.

12. If you’re getting dirty looks while on your cell phone, you’re talking too loudly. No one needs to hear your pet name for your partner. On that note, why are you talking on your cellphone in the gym?

13. Stop wearing that weight belt for barbell curls, lunges, and every exercise under the sun. Learn the art of abdominal bracing and build a strong, resilient core.

14. Stop publicly re-hashing old injuries. Everyone has nicks and knacks. There’s no bonus to talking about yourself, especially if you’re hoping for pity.

15. Bacon is an appropriate peri-workout nutrition meal.

16. Hogging a machine or piece of equipment is never cool. When someone asks, “Can I work in with you?” the answer should always be yes.

17. Exercise is never a punishment and is always a reward. I bet that guy in the    wheelchair would love to walk again. Stop bragging. Somewhere in the gym universe, someone is warming up with you max.

18. Playing Candy Crush on your phone while spotting your partner goes beyond stupid. Yes, this actually happened. Also, don’t spot at the elbows on dumbbell exercises. If the elbow goes in, where does the dumbbell go?

19. If you’re training just to look good, you’re missing the point. Health is your first wealth, make sure you’re simultaneously improving the machine.

20. If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve missed your anabolic window. Quick, go get some protein.

21. Boot camps are for the military, not the gym. Everything else is group training.

22. Instead of telling everybody how it’s done, and show them how it’s done (I’m guilty of this one, too).

23. Travis Pollen is amazing and there are many more like him in gyms everywhere. I have no excuses. Neither do you.

24. There are three areas you cannot be strong enough:Core, upper back, and grip. More often than not, one of these three areas will be your limiting factor. Farmers walks address all of them.

25.Why do people wake up at the arse crack of dawn just to run on a treadmill? Please, go outside and get some fresh air.

26. Coffee makes early mornings bearable, barely.

27.When it comes to fitness, many different paths will take you to the same destination. Choose the path that you’ll consistently improve. Have fun.

28.Never make eye contact with anyone while doing hip thrusts. They may get the wrong idea. Just saying.

29. Your “max strength” doesn’t make you better, worse, smarter, or more macho. Seek self-improvement, not comparison.

Related:  No-One Cares What you Max

The gym is a place where everybody can walk out bigger and stronger versions of themselves. Let’s keep it that way for everybody. Share, be considerate, smile, get after it and let’s all have some fun.

P.S. If you found these tips helpful, please share on social media with the #Gymetiquette. Together, we can work to make the gym a more fun, positive, and enjoyable place.

About the Author:

Shane “The Balance Guy” McLean, is a A.C.E Certified Personal Trainer working deep in the heart of Dallas, Texas. No, Shane doesn’t wear a cowboy hat or boots.  After being told that his posture blows by Eric Cressey, he has made it his mission to rid the world of desk jockeys, one person at a time and having a blast while doing so.

After all training is fun and not a “work”out.


  1. - Michael Siddiqi - Sustainable Physique September 27, 2015 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    […] 29 Gym Tips for Better Gym Etiquette (Bach Performance) by Shane Mclean […]

  2. […] 29 Gym Tips for Better Gym Etiquette (Bach Performance) by Shane Mclean […]

  3. PlanetGainz November 4, 2016 at 4:50 am - Reply

    Loved #16 and #17. Great article! Keep up the good work.

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