Gym Etiquette for First-Time Gym Goers: 17 Tips

This is a horizontal drawing of a man swinging a kettle bell and grunting with poor gym etiquette

Gym Etiquette for First-Time Gym Goers

unwritten gym rules and faux pas

Do not let the fear and anxiety of breaking an unwritten rule of gym etiquette scare you away from starting your fitness journey. A lot of these rules are common sense that you would already do one your own, without our help. Like putting your weights away and wiping down the equipment after you use it. Start your working out today and better your mental health for tomorrow!

Here is Gym Etiquette for First-Time Gym Goers: 17 Tips.

In this blog, I am going to share with you 17 unwritten rules on proper gym etiquette for first time gym goers.

It’s a daunting task making the commitment to live a healthier life by itself. From changing your eating habits, creating a morning routine and making smarter choices for your body and your brain.

I want to take some of the stress out of your journey when it comes to working out. That is why we created these guides for new gym goers, especially those starting off with mental health being as strong a focus as physical health.

Let these gym etiquette tips guide you in your first weeks at your new gym. As you get more confident there, they will become more of an afterthought.

Proper Gym Etiquette Rules

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to better mental health. Usually, it requires a variety of efforts or solutions because there are a variety of factors to address that can impact one’s mental health state or condition. In either case, everyone’s situation is unique, and it’s normal to feel lost about what to do next to feel happier. So while there may not be one single solution for mental health, it doesn’t mean there isn’t one that has the potential to make everyone feel better. Between reducing stress, improving sleep, and boosting self- esteem, exercise is key to better mental health and happiness.

If you are new to the gym scene, you may at least know that the idea is to not get in anyone’s way. But when it comes to your mental health, you also don’t want to get in your own way, and your gym etiquette impacts yourself just as much as it does others.

Before you get to the gym you will want to know what the best time to go to the gym is. This will save you a lot of stress and headache waiting for equipment to use. Also how to properly plan out your workout once there for the most optimal workout, knowing your reps and sets.

Here are the gym etiquette for first-time gym goers you need to maximize your experience and mental health.

Etiquette for what to wear at the gym

Knowing what to wear at the gym when starting can be as daunting as signing up. In our society where style and fashion sometimes overlook work ethic, many of us don’t want to start our fitness journey as an outsider.

When starting at the gym, make sure you are wearing clothes that you can move in comfortably and won’t become a hindrance when you sweat. Wearing jeans to the gym might feel comfortable at first, but as your body warms up, they will stick to your legs, making it harder to do your exercises.

The best outfit you can wear to the gym is a pair of shorts, a loose t-shirt and runners from Nike or Adidas or flat-soled shoes like Converses.

Gym etiquette when sick

Going to the gym when sick is something you should not do. Instead of going to the gym, if you feel the need to work out or sweat, you should go for a walk, sit in your sauna or go for a run and do pushups at home.

What does pr stand for gym

Now that you are at the gym, you may also hear a few terms being thrown around that may confuse you. One word that you will hear being said often is “PR,” which means “personal record.” This term is used when someone has done their best lift at a particular movement. 

“My PR for bench press is 225 pounds.”

Gym Etiquette for First-Time Gym Goers: 17 Rules

1. Re-rack weights

Re-racking weight is the most important rule you need to remember when starting your fitness journey. You will be sharing the gym with 1000’s other members throughout the day, and everyone wants to find the piece of equipment they are looking for. It is frustrating and can ruin your workout if you always need to search for the dumbbell or medicine ball to complete your next exercise. 

Be respectful of others time and put back the equipment you took.

2. Keep the selfies to a minimum

We get it. You’re excited to be starting something new that makes you feel hopeful about your fitness health and mental health, but if you’re going to take a before photo, try to take it before you leave the house. One issue with gym pics is that you may not realize when you’re in someone’s way; the other is it makes your experience about something other than what it was meant to be. It’s okay to want to improve your body, but remember that you started to better your brain.

3. Don't bring your phone

Unless you absolutely need that quick selfie or plan to listen to music, leave your phone in the locker room. Your mental health will thank you for taking breaks from work emails and social media, and the gym is a great place to leave everything behind.

4. Don’t stare at others

Staring makes other people uncomfortable. And once they realize that you’re the one staring, you will feel pretty awkward too. Maybe you’re just curious about how to use a particular machine or are inspired by someone else’s strength, but try to keep your eyes to yourself! For the sake of your mental health, remember that your gym experience is not about making impressions, so maybe just work on impressing yourself.

5. Don't drop your weights

Now and then, you will run into that one person that intentionally drops their weight on the ground creating a heavy thud sound. Don’t be that person. If something is too heavy for you, put your ego aside and take a step down. A physical injury that keeps you out of the gym won’t help your mental health either.

6. Avoid *excsessive grunting

Speaking of dropping weights on the ground, sometimes gym-goers will accompany this with an unnecessarily loud grunt. These same people usually do it in excess, too. Don’t be that person either – you’ll only draw negative attention. Remember, you’re there to entertain more positive thoughts, not to entertain others.

When you exert yourself to your limits, you can find yourself gasping for air or straining to finish a rep. Noises will happen and this is fine, it’s only normal!

Just remind yourself that there are others who are trying to better their mental health and physical health. Proper gym etiquette in this area is appreciated by all.

7. Keep the chatter down

Whether you are there with a friend or run into someone new, don’t forget that person carved out an hour to come work on themselves too. Keep the chatting to a minimum so you can focus on your breath and fitness health.

8. Unsolicited advice

Since you’re a beginner, this gym etiquette rule may not apply to you as much, but don’t let anyone feel embarrassed by instructing them on what to do. You’ll feel happier when you give someone the space to have their experience too. If they look like they are lost and appear as if they are looking around for help, then sure, maybe help point out where the adjustment knob is on the leg curl machine you just learned how to use.

9. Don't monopolize the equipment

Over time you will begin to notice which machines are in high demand – don’t spend forever on these. Besides, your mind will also be happier and more focused if it’s challenged by a variety of new things to learn and muscles to target.

10. Respect other's space

So, with those high-demand machines we just mentioned, don’t hover or make someone else feel watched or rushed. Politely stand close by and strike when the moment is right – which is not the moment when that person is still going, even if it is there last set.

11. Ask first

Treating others how you would like to be treated is critical gym etiquette for others and your mental health. Be mindful, and if you think someone else is using something or are in the way of what you need, just ask.

12. Don't take breaks on the equipment

If you’re in the middle of sets on a particular machine, you don’t have to get up and let someone swap in. But try to move once you’re done to keep things moving promptly. Plus, the more you move the better you will feel after. If you need a longer break, head to the locker room or find a yoga mat and do some stretches.

13. Be mindful in the changing room

Part of gym etiquette is changing room etiquette. Not everyone will feel comfortable undressing there, and you may not either. If it’s better for you, find an open shower or bathroom stall, but don’t jump ahead of people who look like they are actually in line for that purpose.

14. Don't make fun of others

Making fun of others or secretly snapping a pic of someone doing something you find amusing will likely only make you feel guilty later. Following the golden rule never fails – how upset would you be if you knew someone was making fun of you?

15. Clean up

A clean space is a clean mind, and it’s better for everyone else too. Put away your gym weights, wipe each machine when you’re done, and grab your belongings. When you put things away, put them back in the places they are supposed to go.

There is nothing more annoying looking for a certain weight and its not where its supposed to be.

16. Enjoy the process

When it comes to fitness health, many people are in a rush to see progress. But your goals are different, and while you can’t measure mental health progress in pounds or inches, you will notice the impact in due time. All you need to do is show up with these gym etiquette rules and focus on the movements.

The reason why exercise works so well for mental health is that the body is a tool, and when you tune into your body, listen to it, and show it respect, the easier it will be to do the same for your mind. Don’t force your body to do something it’s not ready to do, just as you shouldn’t try to force a thought out of your mind. Instead, let the process of building physical strength be an opportunity to build mental resilience. Discover what you are capable of, get motivated, and train the body to train the mind.

17. Making the most of your workouts

You can work as hard as you can, day in and day out. But you know how the saying goes “Abs are made in the kitchen”, this is also true for anything you want to get out of your new workout routine.

If you don’t put the same amount of effort into what you put into your body as you do in your workouts, you will be fighting an uphill battle.

Find your gym motivation with us Gym Motivation: How to Find Motivation to Workout.

Gym Etiquette for First-Time Gym Goers

At the end of the day, I want you to remember that these are only unwritten rules that society agreed on to make everyone’s gym experience as best as it can.

You won’t have your gym membership revoked by accidentally doing one of these actions.

Instead, use it as a learning experience. Grow as a human while you are growing in the physical realm.

Now before you go, I want to hear the reason why you are working out. Leave your reply in the comments below!

I reply to every comment and will answer an questions you have on your fitness journey.

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