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Mind your manners. Gym etiquette

Mind your manners. Gym etiquette

So you're thinking about going to the gym and wondering how to get started. Maybe you've read our tips for gym newbies here and here. But you might still be feeling a bit daunted by the whole social context. Fear not, our handy little guide to gym etiquette is here to give you the confidence you need.

We all like to know how to behave in a given social situation. It makes us feel confident and at ease to know what the conventions are. The gym is no exception. Sure, certain behaviours that would be entirely inappropriate in polite society are perfectly acceptable – think profuse sweating, grunting and groaning and even nudity – but that doesn't mean that anything goes.

We've distilled the complex social world of the gym into just three golden rules for good behaviour:

Share nicely

Yes, it's as simple as the first ground rule of pre-school: we'll all get along much better if we share nicely. Especially during peak times, try to be aware that you're not the only person wanting to use the equipment. Don't spend too long on any one machine, NEVER linger on a bike or treadmill just chatting or staring into space, and don't obstruct other people's way as they move between machines.

Always wipe

Always, always, ALWAYS carry a towel with you to wipe down the equipment and yourself. Sweating per se is entirely acceptable, a sign that you're working hard. Leaving saddles and handlebars dripping with the results of your efforts is a no-no.


Many aspects of gym etiquette boil down to basic good manners. Loud conversations on your mobile, irritating noise levels from your MP3 player and inappropriate clothing are no more acceptable at the gym than anywhere else.

A bit of politeness goes a long way. Share the gym love!