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7 Etiquette Tips for Hitting the Gym

Susan exercising on an elliptical

I keep waiting for the day that I enjoy working out, but unfortunately it hasn’t happened yet. 😆

After turning 40, I knew that even if I didn’t enjoy it, going to the gym was something I needed to prioritize. I miss feeling strong, and there is no doubt that I’m significantly less stressed after getting a good sweat on. With a hectic campaign schedule for Micah and two busy children—time in the gym is becoming a necessity to feel my best.

My workout routine is far from perfect (the only consistent thing about my schedule is that it is inconsistent), but I’m trying to give myself grace and get back on the horse each time I fall off.

After entering back into the gym world, however, I quickly noticed something: it’s a minefield of social faux pas. If you’re concerned about navigating social graces while exercising, don’t sweat it—here are 7 etiquette tips for hitting the gym.

Susan smiling while sitting on a yoga ball

Invest in headphones.

There is nothing worse than being subjected to a stranger’s workout playlist while you’re sweating your heinie off on the treadmill. When in public, it is always most considerate to wear headphones if you’d like to listen to anything. A Bluetooth option can be nice for gym goers, as going cordless will ensure your headphones won’t get caught on equipment.

My personal favorite are Apple AirPods (on sale for $99). I don't feel like off-brand headphones get loud enough when I really need that boost to finish a workout. However, if you’re looking for a more affordable option, these TOZO T10 Bluetooth headphones for $25.99 are pretty good—especially for a podcast, audiobooks or sermon listening.

If you’re in need of some pump-up music to test out your new headphones, here is my gym playlist!

Keep it down.

Grunting? Slamming down weights? Please, no. While some noise is unavoidable when lifting or running, try to keep it to a minimum. Everyone can see your weights are heavy—we don’t need to hear it, too.

Put it back where you found it.

If you plan on using any weights, be sure to be courteous and re-rack them when you are finished. You never want to make other gym goers clean up after you!

Keep it clean.

No one wants to see a sweaty butt print on a weight bench. After you are finished using any piece of equipment, wipe it down to remove any unsightly residue. Most gyms provide wipes for equipment cleaning, or you can bring a towel with you to clean as you go.

Look the part.

Muddy street shoes, jeans, or showing too much skin—these are all wardrobe no-nos when it comes to joining a gym. Keep your gym clothes clean, too. You don’t want innocent bystanders to smell you from a mile away!

Cute gym clothes are my favorite part of exercising. I may not enjoy working out, but I can at least wear cute clothes while I’m miserable, right? Recently I purchased these fun athletic pants and this cute top. I loved that the top was on the longer side and provides more coverage—and it’s a fun color, too!

I also like having a nice water bottle at the gym that is easy to carry around and cute—because why not? This large motivational water bottle with a straw is BPA free and comes in an array of color options.

Don’t monopolize the equipment.

Being organized with your workouts can ensure you complete your reps in a timely manner. If the gym is busy, don’t dawdle on a machine, or exercise directly in front of the weight rack.

Don’t crowd others.

Nothing is creepier than someone standing too close while you’re doing squats, ha! Be sure to give others a wide berth while exercising. Also avoid crossing in front of someone as they are using a mirror for form.

What’s the most awkward thing that has ever happened to you at the gym? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below!

XO, Susan


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