How’s your gym etiquette?

Want more tips? Pines' book is available now.

New York City-based lawyer and avid gym-goer Lori Pines was so fed up with bad gym behavior interrupting her workouts that she wrote “The Little Book of Gym Etiquette: A Handbook for Dealing with Annoying People at the Gym.” So, what’s her biggest peeve?

“People leaving their things all over the place — towels, used water bottles, reading matter. They might be done with it, and they just leave it. They leave a water bottle on a machine and expect you to deal with it.”

“People go to the gym to focus on themselves,” Pines continues. “That’s what it’s all about — but you have to be aware of your impact on others around you, too. People don’t try to be annoying, but they often aren’t aware how they’re affecting others.”

If you’re exasperated with a fellow exerciser, Pines says to try to let it roll off your back. “The best thing to do is to stay calm. Go to another part of the gym. Try and laugh it off.”

How’s your etiquette?

Here is Pines’ checklist for what to remember:

  • Don’t be a slob. “This applies to leaving things around, but also to cleanliness. In the locker room, there’s nothing wrong with being naked — but put a towel down on the bench before sitting.”
  • Don’t be a hog. “There’s always one piece of equipment that everyone wants to use. Talk to the manager and ask them to enforce a time limit. Make sure that it’s posted on the equipment.”
  • Don’t be a space invader. “One example is the StairMill. People kick their legs out, wave their arms, go backward. It’s really annoying to people on the next machine.”
  • Don’t be an exhibitionist. “Exhibitionists wear inappropriate clothing with body bits hanging out. They make excessive noises.”
  • Don’t be a super-talker. “Chatterboxes are so distracting. Cell phone talkers, trainers who talk loudly. Be friendly, but extensive conversation is not the objective at the gym.”
  • Don’t be a grouch. “Grouches are just unpleasant. You want to be in a place where there is positive energy. Simple, good manners are uplifting and healthy.”


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