What You Need to Know Before Going to the Gym

Avoid committing a fitness faux pas by learning the proper gym etiquette for your next workout.

Making your way into the gym can seem intimidating. There are machines everywhere, weights lined up against almost every wall and people all around. However, to make the gym seem less daunting, it’s important to learn about proper gym etiquette. Arrive prepared, knowing what is and isn’t acceptable.

Professional baseball strength and conditioning coach Jorge Canepa says that gym etiquette is important for everyone at the gym, not just first-time members.

“Get out there, get moving and enjoy the grind,” he encourages.


Be sure to locate the gym’s locker room or personal storage cubes. This is where you can store your personal belongings. You can bring a lock for added security when storing your items.

Be sure to change into appropriate fitness gear. This includes:

  • Athletic shirts
  • Athletic tank tops
  • Sneakers
  • Shorts, leggings or athletic sweatpants
  • Headband

Depending on how long your hair is, you might want to come equipped with a ponytail holder. However, be sure to pack an extra band or two in your gym bag.

Bring along a towel, too. Use that towel to help contain your sweat. Most gyms also offer towels on the spot. Be sure to return the towel to its proper bin after usage.


When you’re at the gym, remember to be courteous to the other members around you and the staff. Try to avoid habits like:

  • Bringing food into the gym. Also, do not bring drinks except for water or sports drinks.
  • Monopolizing the gym equipment. For example, do not leave your towel on a piece of equipment if you are not using it. Also, be sure to only grab weights that are being used for your current workout. Don’t grab more than you need and leave them lying on the ground unused. When you are finished with the weight, or equipment, return it to its designated area.
  • Slamming weights on the ground. Keep the weights controlled, slowly bringing them back to the ground or on the appropriate weight rack.


First and foremost, enjoy your workout.

Also, be sure to understand your surroundings. Look and see if there are designated areas to do certain workouts. For example, lift weights where the weightlifting stations are and avoid carrying weights over by where gym-goers are running on the treadmill.

After you’re done using the equipment, make sure to wipe it off with a sanitary wipe. Never leave your workout area without wiping down the equipment.

Always demonstrate safety precautions. If you need a spotter — or see someone else in need of a spot — be sure to communicate with your fellow gym members. You can learn how to properly spot the bench press and the barbell squat with these Pro Tips.

Another recommendation is to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to consult staff members or personal trainers with questions about the equipment, locker room or anything else in the facility. Be sure to implement these etiquette guidelines during your next trip to the gym.