Kristin McEwen knows a thing or two about gym etiquette. She’s vice-president of YMCA of Metro Atlanta (Georgia), and she’s seen it all. People walk into the gym in skimpy outfits, cell phones blaring. They forget to change their stinky old workout clothes. Worst of all, McEwen told CNN, they sweat all over the machines—and don’t lift a finger to clean the equipment. “We’ll have people who come in, and they will sweat profusely, and they will leave puddles around the equipment,” McEwen said. Anyone would agree with her final comment on the situation. “It’s gross,” she said. Surely, no one should have to deal with rude and clueless people while working out. Even if the rules of the gym remain unspoken, most people know them instinctively. So don’t be “that person.” You know the one. They don’t re-rack their weights, or they engage in a full-on screaming phone conversation while walking on the treadmill at 0.01 mph. Use this list to brush up on rules for the gym so you can help ensure working out is just a little more tolerable for yourself and everyone else.
1. Do not disturb.
When someone has headphones on, leave them alone. This may seem obvious, but some people haven’t figured it out, at least not in our experience. People use music or podcasts to help them focus and get in the zone for their workout, and when another person insists on attempting a conversation, it’s terribly distracting.
2. Get swol, not sick.
Infections spread easily in the public gym setting. It’s incredibly important to wash your hands before using any equipment. Also, wipe the machines down as soon as you’re finished. If you’re worried about the cleanliness of your gym, wipe machines down before you use them too and let an employee know about any…issues.
3. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
The squat rack mirror is not the place to touch up your makeup, pose for multiple selfies, or perfect your flex. The mirrors placed around a gym are meant to check form and for safety. They aren’t there for you to check yourself out.
4. Where did the weights go?
Don’t make people search the entire gym for weights or barbells. The gym is a public place, and everyone has the right to easily locate and use the equipment. When bars or weights don’t end up back their rightful places, it isn’t fair to others.
5. Clean up after yourself.
Crushing a 300-pound squat set is impressive, but you aren’t finished after the last rep is completed. Whenever you add weight to any of the equipment, you must remove it when you’re finished. Bars that do not get cleared will start to warp over time, eventually rendering them unusable. Plus, it’s common courtesy. If you can put 300 pounds on the bar, you can take it off.
6. Leave the cool moves on the dance floor.
Unless you’re doing serious interval training, there’s no reason to bust out any moves on the treadmill. You’re risking serious injury when you crank the speed up and try to hop on and off. Leave those kinds of stunts to the professionals.
7. Contain yourself.
Bringing a towel, a water bottle, and your phone into the gym is perfectly acceptable—just don’t leave these items strewn around. It’s a total faux pas to save machines with personal items. Plus, cluttering up a space other people are using isn’t cool.
8. Hygiene is important.
There’s no way around getting sweaty during a good workout. However, it’s important to make sure your hygiene is on point before stepping foot in the gym. Be sure to wash your workout clothes frequently and, please, wear deodorant! Also, don’t forget McEwen’s sweat-puddle horror story. Pack a towel and use it to sop up the puddles of sweat that prove your workout is working.