20 Very Simple Things You Should Never Do at the Gym – Don’t be THAT Guy!

20 Very Simple Things You Should Never Do at the Gym – Don’t be THAT Guy!
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Don’t be THAT Guy (or Gal)!

From bad manners to safety hazards, remembering this list of workout No – No’s will help keep your gym routine pumpin’.

#1 Never Forget your Water Bottle!

water bottle

Studies show that even slight dehydration (2%) can lead to a degradation of an athlete’s abilities, stamina and even motivation.

In addition to that, athletes who ‘drink to thirst’, meaning they drink until they are no longer thirsty, still may not be getting enough liquid to replenish their stores.

Rehydrating your body during and after a workout will reduce oxidation stress caused by exercise and improve performance.

So drink up!

#2 Never Skip Your Warm-up

By Jaykayfit (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

You should never skip your warm-up. A warm up is often confused with stretching.

Stretching can be included in a warm-up for certain sports, but a warm up does not necessarily include or need stretching.

One study by Dr. Marc R. Safran showed that an isometric preconditioning warm-up improved muscle elasticity and reduced injury.

Isometric exercises are those where the muscle is worked but the body is not moving such as a plank or wall sit.

#3 Never Cat Call – No Ogling!

Cat call
Revac Film’s&Photography

You have more ‘game’ than this and you would never resort to these tactics to catch the attention of an attractive representative of the opposite sex.

Maybe you have seen this cringe worthy incident at the gym. Flirting is one thing. Talking about shared interests and making friends is acceptable as long as both parties are comfortable, but no one enjoys being stared or whistled at.

It is already challenging enough to go to the gym and get a proper workout without the unwanted attention.

#4 Never Dress Inappropriately

Never Dress Inappropriately

Health, sanitation, preservation of gym equipment and contributing to a comfortable gym environment are all reasons to watch what you wear.

A shirt that is too open in the back will leave more sweat and expose your skin to bacteria on the machines. Flip flops are unsafe and jeans or polo shirts don’t leave room to move.

Be aware of makeup and cologne or perfume which can be left behind and make for an unpleasant experience for others.

#5 Never Forget to Re-rack Your Weights

Fitness and crossfit gym

You know what I am saying here!

You are ready to do some arm bell curls, scouring the weight rack looking for the 15lb weights and they aren’t on the rack.

The gym is pretty empty, so where are those weights?

After spending 5 minutes looking you find them, on the other side of the room, next to the bench press!

The last one to use them did not re-rack. Don’t be whack, just re-rack. This common courtesy extends to ALL Gym equipment.

#6 Never Use Bad Form

Form matters!

Knowledge of biomechanics, or the study of how the body moves, will help athlete’s complete exercises using the proper form which helps to prevent injury and ensures the targeted muscle is being worked.

Working the joint or muscle in an unnatural way because of ignorance of how those joints and muscles function is a leading cause of injury.

Just like you might strip the gears and damage your transmission by not holding the clutch in, body mechanics need to be respected and moves need to be performed properly when working out.

#7 Never Hog Equipment

Resting after Gyming
By David Jane Player (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

If you are done then it is time to move.

It is a gym, not a lounge.

Being in-between sets is fine, but longer then a few minutes is too long.

Everyone pays to have a gym membership so everyone hold have a chance to use the equipment. No one owns anything there, except the gym owner.

If it is rush hour you should hold off on circuit training or super sets and use one piece of equipment at a time.

#8 Never Let Them See You Sweat!

lift bar

OK, this antiperspirant slogan might be too unrealistic to maintain at the gym, but there is a kernel of truth here.

It’s gross enough to deal with your own sweat at the gym but having to clean up after others is unacceptable.

Always bring a towel to clean up any perspiration, hair or whatever from equipment you have finished using, so the next person is not left to deal with it.

If you tend to sweat a lot lay the towel down first before you begin using the equipment.

#9 Never Curl in the Squat Rack!

Squat racking cave with bodybuilder
By Mandarina1997 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The squat rack is only for squatting.

The squat is a foundational move of bodybuilders, power lifters and Cross Fitters alike, and the squat rack, so named because of the activity that takes place there, should only be used for squats.

The rack is a safety feature needed for squatting with heavy weight.

It may be tempting when gym real estate is hard to come by and the squat rack is empty, but nothing will turn the dogs loose on you more than curling in the squat rack. Beware!

#10 Never Neglect Personal Hygiene

This one should really be a given, but for whatever reason it just isn’t. Folks should wear clean clothes to the gym, please!

Using deodorant or antiperspirant and taking a bath before hitting the gym are appreciated.

Nothing eradicates the momentum of a rockin’ workout like having your personal space invaded by an unwelcome stench.

#11 Never Spend All Your Time on Your Phone or Socializing

take picture with smartphone

You use your phone to track your reps or listen to music. That’s cool.

You want something to look at between sets besides all the other people there trying to figure out what to do with their eyes in between sets.

That is understandable.

It is those folks who park their bottoms on the weight bench while talking to their mom or checking facebook for 10 minutes at a time that need to check themselves.

Talking loudly and socializing with everyone in the gym may be a distraction to those around you who are trying to focus on their form or the muscles they are working.

#12 Don’t Check Your Reflection in the Mirror. Between Every Set!

gym mirrors

Mirrors have a place and use in the gym.

They are great for observing your form and ensuring you are performing each exercise correctly.

Mirrors are great motivation and provide reinforcement when a workout is hard. Too much of a good thing can be a hazard though.

Looking at yourself in the mirror too much, like in between sets can be harmful.

Researchers at the Institute of Psychology studied people with Body Dimorphic Disorder along with people who did not have the condition and found that both groups experienced an increase in distress and self focused thoughts. (Study resource)

#13 Never Get Too Close to Someone who is Lifting Heavy Weight

Air Force Senior Airman Brandon Stout deadlifts
By Airman 1st Class Zachary Hada (http://www.acc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123331930) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Never get too close to someone who is lifting heavy weights, squatting, deadlifting and the like.

The weight could fall, the lifter may experience muscle failure or worse and you could be injured.

Being too close is also a distraction to the lifter so do not jeopardize their lift and their safety.

#14 Never, Ever Spit in the Fountain!


Someone has to clean that!

And everyone who dares to drink from the fountain has to look at it. Ewww. It is wrong on every level. Don’t be ‘That Guy’.

#15 Never Grunt Loudly or Talk to Someone Mid-set

bodybuilder in gym

Grunters at the gym. You know who I am talking about! Sometimes grunting has a purpose or a reason.

In tennis it can increase the power in your swing. A weightlifter might grunt because they are releasing air they were holding in during a lift, or grunting gives them a psychological boost to power through.

It’s the excessive unnecessary grunting that can be a distraction.

Those people who are lifting weights that are not too heavy or people who grunt for attention cause others around them to lose focus.

#16 Never Drop Your Weights After a Set

Barbell row
By embhoo (embhoo) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

It’s loud. It is distracting, and it can be seen as cocky of arrogant.

If a person is able to lift the weight, they should be able to lower the weight and complete the exercise. If they are dropping the weight because it is too heavy then they need to lower the weight.

There really is no good reason to drop the weight on the floor, it can be a hazard and the weight can cause damage to the floor, the pads and wear to the weights, compromising their integrity.

#17 Never Neglect Your Leg Workout

leg workout

There is a tendency for some bodybuilders to focus on the upper body because that is where the ‘show’ muscles are.

Neglecting the lower body, including legs, is a huge omission in a workout. The legs have the biggest muscles in the body.

Favoring upper body workouts also leaves you unbalanced which can lead to problems with posture, susceptibility to injury and it looks odd.

It is strange to see a man with a broad back, huge arms and the legs of Big Bird.

It’s not a good look!

#18 Never Get Too Comfortable


Falling into a routine at the gym can actually be a problem.

Performing the same exercise- same weight – workout after workout will stall your progress and can lead to boredom.

Your muscles need to be challenged in order to grow. When the muscle is accustomed to the weight it stops growing.

#19 Never Read on a Cardio Machine

Fitness Treadmill


If you are able to read comfortably, you are not getting a decent workout.


You are spending your limited time and money to be at the gym, don’t waste it by only going half-in on a workout.

What does that profit you?

It is better to spend less time at the gym and focus on intensity and body movements than to spend a mindless hour as an elliptical Zombie.

#20 Never Lift Too Much or Too Little Weight


To get the best results, select your weight mindfully.

The weight should be heavy enough that you feel challenged to complete 10 to 12 reps, but not so heavy that 10 to 12 reps is out of range.

You should be able to sustain this for 3-4 reps. If you can maintain this for 6 weeks it is time to adjust the weight upwards.

This completes the list. We hope none of these 20 tips hit too close to home, but we doubt they did because we know you are not ‘that guy (or gal)’ at the gym.

Until next time Hasta la vista, baby!