An Entirely Unofficial Guide to Gym Etiquette

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I love my gym. It's conveniently located on Randolph Street in the West Loop, also known as Amazing-And-Trendy-Restaurant-Street. So, great food and great gym on the same street? What's not to love?

With January comes what I call the "New Years Resolutioners," or what some of the girls in a book club I went to on Saturday called the "January Joiners." If you're one of them, I'll preface this post by saying: Good for you! The gym is awesome. You should keep going all year long, and you'll be so happy by the end of it!

And also... There are some unwritten rules. Please follow them.

1. Watch Your Drink

I think it's pretty much common sense to keep your beverages out of other people's way. It's better for others, obviously, and it's better for you. Because, one, your drink won't spill, and, two, people won't give you the stink eye.

Somebody doesn't subscribe to this rule.
Not the best place for your La Croix, bro.
Even though I am tempted to drink it.

2. Urinal Rules Apply to Machines... and Lockers, too
I'm obviously not a man, so I can't speak from actual bathroom experience, but I've heard it's a fairly well followed rule: Unless necessary, don't park yourself directly next to another dude.

Now, I really don't mind being next to other people at the gym. What I do mind is when I'm on one of six Stairmasters, the rest of which are open, and some guy comes up and hops on the only machine that is directly next to me. Not necessary.

Similarly, if I'm half naked trying to change for a workout, you don't need the locker right next to me unless it's insanely crowded (like, we're talking if Justin Bieber is at the gym or something - yeah, that happened).

3. Stop judging my screen!
This is semi related to number 2. Because, I'll admit, part of the reason it's weird for you to unnecessarily hop on a machine right next to me is because I'm probably trying to sneak and watch an episode of Girls (okay, that's a little too raunchy for the gym).

I usually bring my iPad so I can watch something on Netflix or Hulu Plus, but a week or so ago, I randomly decided to flip through the shows on the actual TV attached to my machine. Imagine my utter joy when I realized that, not only was The Notebook on tv, but it was at the BEST PART.

"Get in the water, baby! GET IN THE WATER!"

4. Eyes ahead, Private!
Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I sometimes unwillingly stare at the women who are like 8 months pregnant and kicking ass on an elliptical (how do you do that?). But, in general, it's pretty creepy to just stare people down, and trust me, people can feel it.

When you're in a workout class, unless you're temporarily checking out your neighbors to make sure your form is right, there are three options for your eyes: stare at the instructor, stare at yourself in the mirror, or stare at the ceiling (for mat work and such - it's actually good form for ab exercises).

"Stare at the ceiling, Carly, stare at the ceiling!"

No, I'm not trying to be rude -- mostly, I just want to save us all from the awkwardness that ensues when two people accidentally make eye contact toward the beginning of a class. Then, of course, it happens every few minutes for the rest of the class, because you both feel so awkward about the first time it felt awkward.


  1. I love this posting, especially with lots of new gym joiners packing it in this month due to those New Year's resolutions. I found you were missing a big etiquette rule (at least for me), which is to have the courtesy to wipe down the equipment or machine (with the cleaning solution provided) when you finished with it. Especially with the flu bug going around, its great for others to try and be mindful of those using it next.

  2. Honestly, I loved your blog specially the information given here. And this guide is really helpful and nice because it can help a lot of people during their gym time. Thank you for sharing this review.

    chicago fitness clubs


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