Some thoughts on gym etiquette
The gym carries its own set of unwritten rules:
- If you sweat on something, wipe it down.
- If you’re lifting weights, re-rack them where you found them.
- If you use free weights, resistance band, or medicine ball, return it to where it’s stored.
- Don’t leave sweaty towels on equipment (or in the locker room) for someone else to put away.
- Don’t put your music or take a phone call on speaker.
- Don’t leave weights racked on a machine “between sets” while chatting with workout buddies.
These adages are pretty standard across contexts and settings. But with the advent of smartphones, some lines of gym etiquette have become blurred. Free WiFi, unlimited data, and pixel-perfect cameras have turned the gym into a hot zone for questionable tech behavior.
Most people use social media. Some use it to share their fitness goals and progress with others. Last year a Harris Poll found that 43 percent of gym-goers reported taking photos or videos while at the gym, and 27 percent reported taking a selfie. For gyms, this can be publicity gold: the more that people post about their successes online, the more others become familiar with their brand and gravitate towards it.
But there’s a flip-side. Gyms don’t want members who eschew the camera to feel as though they have no privacy during their workout.
If you’re inclined towards documenting your workout progress in photos or on social media, consider the following: “You may be getting the perfect shot, but who else is in it?” It’s critical to be mindful of those around you who may not want to be immortalized on your Instagram feed while sweating profusely or while in a compromised floor exercise position. The same caution should be used for taking video and video calls.
Getting that perfect shot sometimes requires an extra bench or a little more mirror space. So long as the gym is a ghost town, go right ahead. But don’t hoard equipment just to get the photo that you want. And, one last tech-etiquette rule of thumb: a rather frequent faux pas in the gym is getting absorbed in your phone while on a machine, whether swiping, texting, or scrolling through endless feed wheels. Realize that some people only have a finite window of time to spend at the gym, and avoid hogging equipment while sucked into the virtual void.
The old rules still apply, as do some new. Regardless, always be mindful and respectful of the needs of other occupants, and remember: everyone at the gym is there for the same reason as you . . . to better themselves.