Gym junkies everywhere have, at some point, encountered another member behaving badly. Even at the gym – a place where tank tops, profuse sweating, protein shakes and mild grunting are perfectly acceptable (and, in some cases, recommended) – there are rules of engagement that one should adhere. Of course, the social graces expected in a weight room are a bit different from those expected at the symphony or the Louvre, but the rules of etiquette are important just the same. GQ magazine so lovingly refers to any sort of faux pas as “that guy,” and we have all had interactions with such a violator, but in these moments of personal crisis it is best to know how to rise above it and not be included in that demographic.
It all begins in the locker room. It would seem that each gym has a fair share of naked shavers who let it all hang out in front of the mirror. The best etiquette in this situation is not to have your locker room become your personal grooming space. I completely understand those who hit the gym before work and need to get dressed and ready, but keep the “assembly” of yourself to a minimum when you’re in a public space, and lay the “ground work” in private. It’s perfectly acceptable to trim up quickly, but don’t perform a full-body shave in the mirror while others are coming and going. Common decency allows for greeting in passing, but having a full-fledged conversation with a stranger shaving for work is overkill.
While on the gym floor, I’ve noticed a lot of guys who like to text while taking a break between sets. The gym is a place to work, and thus should be respected as such. If you feel so inclined to constantly text your friends while working out, feel free to bring them with you, but texting them while using the squat cage (which always tends to have a line) is unacceptable. Quite a few arguments break out over someone just sitting on a piece of equipment and texting while someone else is waiting to use it. If texting is that important, bring that person to the gym with you, and as Gold’s Gym admonishes its members, “You’ll have a workout partner helping you succeed!”
On a final note, there are some people at the gym who just reek. I understand working out means getting gross and sweaty, but there is a fine line between working to get to that point and starting off that bad. If your gym bag needs a boost then by all means add Febreeze or a dryer sheet to help freshen it. You don’t need a full gym wardrobe, but you do need enough options to get you through your workout week.
I was once told that the gym is “Gay Church.” Who’s to say if that’s the best analogy, but if it is for some people, we have to make sure we respect holy ground.