A guide to gym etiquette

Today's fitness clubs are smart, clean, well-equipped temples of bodily worship, and those who use them should behave accordingly. Gym-sinners, take note

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Always return discs and dumbbells to their rightful place.


Wipe up your sweat – Leaving a pool of perspiration on the bench press for the next person to lie in is as unsavoury as spitting into your palm before shaking someone’s hand. It’s also a distracting sight for anyone psyching themselves up to lift a hundred kilos. Mop up!

Use deodorant – Nobody wants to work out next to someone enshrouded in the insufferable fug of body odour.

Put the weights back – Return discs and dumbbells to their rightful place and, if you’re on the bench press, leave the next user with an unloaded barbell. Don’t leave things on the floor for people to trip over.


Switch off your music – A moot point, this one. You’re in the gym alone, hardcore rap/Bollywood hits/Coldplay pumping out from your iPhone, when in walks another person. You may have arrived before them but it would be presumptuous of you to think that they share your musical taste, right? Better to be polite and ask if it bothers them. If they’re nice, they’ll say no anyway. 


Take your mobile – You go to the gym to exercise – and we don’t mean your vocal chords. Can you picture Manny Pacquiao removing his boxing gloves mid sparring session to send a text?

Yell out – You’re pushing yourself and you want to show everyone that you can throw it around a little. But there’s no need to sound like a grizzly bear giving birth.

Hog the machines – Don’t linger on the same piece of equipment for too long. It’s inconsiderate and won’t endear yourself to other gym users, especially the fanatic ones whose day can be ruined if they don’t complete a full session. And nobody wants to get on the wrong side of a man who bends iron bars with his bare hands for fun.