The beltsander’s guide to gym etiquette.


Maybe you’ve just decided to join a gym? Well congratulations. While you literally couldn’t have picked a worse time then January to start, I for one applaud you on your decision to better your current fitness level.

However I’m going to honest, a lot of gym regulars will be dismissive of the new editions to their gym, but that needn’t be the case. Below are some  very simple almost common sense solutions to fitting right into your new home away from home:

Leave your belongings in a locker: 

The sign isn’t merely a suggestion  it’s for the sake of a clutter free environment. Don’t be “that guy” that leaves their massive gym bag into the middle of the weight room. You’d be amazed the amount of people that couldn’t be arsed using a locker.

Don’t be a space invader: 

By all means, use all the equipment and space the gym has to offer (after all you’re paying for it) but respect the fact you’re  not the only one in the gym. It’s incredibly frustrating to have some idiot nudge your bar mid lift or sweat all over you.

Selfies, don’t do it:

You’re up early, feeling good and want to share it over social media to make others feel worse about the fact their still in bed. Don’t do it. Nobody likes the poser taking photos in front of the mirror. I remember almost choking the life out of some moron who left the flash on his iPhone, it bounced off the mirror and blinded me mid squat. Not cool.

Wipe the equipment down when your done:

If you’ve sweat all over a bench or left the reminisce of whatever hair product you’ve had in that day all over a bench at least have the manners to wipe it clean for the next person. I can guarantee you, nobody wants to lay down in that.

Headphones in means don’t talk to me:

Gym goers (in my opinion) are some of the most positive and friendly people to talk too. However respect the fact that people do have goals and might not have time for conversation. If the headphones are in, leave well alone. To outline this here are two real world scenarios that have happened to me recently:

Scenario A: It’s my day off, Im up and in the gym early so I can take my time and enjoy my training. I walk around with my earphones out and a guy approaches me. Politely he asks if I might check his form on deadlifts because he is afraid of injuring his back (which he explains has happened before). I accept, I give him some simple tips and the guy thanks me and leaves, happy with his new found confidence in the deadlift. I leave in a good mood happy to have helped the guy out and i get a positive start to my day.

Senario B: I’ve been up early trying to calm a screaming baby, I arrive late to the gym, I need to be in work (several miles away) in 80 minutes and I’ve only just got enough time to warm up and complete my routine. I move from from exercise to exercise quickly and only take minimum rest time between sets. Im sweating pretty bad and breathing very heavily. Im approached by a guy in his 70s who despite my headphones being in and me clearly not being in the mood to chat, taps me on the shoulder and proceeds to tell me all about the benefits of lifting lighter weight and about how he was once able to lift 10kg more then I currently have on the bar. (Everybody has a bench story, not too many squat stories going round though) I’m immediately dismissive of the guy and walks away with the impression I’m a rude individual and didn’t even bother spending the time discussing his awesome bench story.

Two very different scenarios that show the right and wrong times to approach a gym goer.

Re-rack your weights:

You’d think this would be a common sense thing but nope, it’s a daily occurrence to find dumbells and plates strewn across the gym floor like a mine field. You’re not at home now so respect the equipment and the fact nobody is here to pick up after you. Ive lost count the number of times I’ve had to help a lady unrack the 200kg quarter squat some idiot left on the bar as trophy to show the rest of the gym how strong he is.

Use the equipment as intended:

Don’t over complicate matters, there’s no need. Squat in the squat rack, deadlift on the platform and bench on the bench. Simple right? Well no some folks think it’s impressive to misuse equipment in ways it was never intended for. Keep it simple, don’t attempt upside down crunches on the pull-up bar for no apparent reason, don’t shadow box on the deadlifting platform and for god sake don’t curl in the squat rack, you can do that shit anywhere in the gym so don’t waste a rack with that nonsense.

Dropping weight needlessly:

Don’t be the loud arrogant guy, starved for attention that makes all the noise. There are times when it’s perfectly acceptable to drop weight (deadlifts for instance) but there’s no excuse for throwing 10kg dumbbells on the floor.

Don’t tube and lift.

The gym is not the place to show your bros your new favourite viral videos. This scenario seems be a growing epidemic. Why spend hundreds of euro a year to sit on a bench in the gym watching YouTube when you could be sat at home watching it for free? Show some focus and get some work in.

The weights only work if you lift them:

I can accept that some people just do not enjoy exercise but put themselves through the rigmarole for the sake of self improvement. But if you’re in the gym you’re either working or your just in the way. Again you shouldn’t spend time and money on a gym if your going to loiter in it sitting on equipment that could otherwise be used by another member. Find something else to do with your time.

Have a sense of perspective:

“Embrace the grind” “No days off” “No carbs for eight days straight bro”. Trust me, nobody cares. It’s admirable to want to improve your physical being but enough telling me about how hard it is”. Look, if you have the money to spend on gym membership, are physically able to train and can find the time to do it regularly, you are in an incredibly fortunate position. That’s time that could be spent with friends and family and money that could be put to use in million different ways.  Remember training is privilege and not a right.

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