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Gym Etiquette and Gymtimidation | Dos and Don’ts in the Gym

Gym Etiquette and Gymtimidation | Dos and Don’ts in the Gym
Amy Golby
Personal Trainer & Exercise Nutritionist1 year ago
View Amy Golby's profile

The gyms tend to get pretty crowded around this time of year, as lots of people set new year's resolutions and try to make this year their best yet.  

All those new faces can make for a challenging environment, both for gym veterans trying to navigate etiquette and for newbies who may feel a bit intimidated. But don't worry, we've got you covered.  

This article will explain the importance of gym etiquette and give you some useful tips for overcoming any "gymtimidation" or gym anxiety you may be feeling. 


What is gym etiquette? 

Gym etiquette is all about respect: respect for yourself, respect for other gym-goers, and respect for the gym space and equipment. Some basic rules to follow include cleaning up after yourself, returning equipment to its proper place, and being mindful of other people's personal space.  

Good gym etiquette is important because it helps create a safe and comfortable environment for everyone, and makes sure that everyone can have a great workout without distractions or delays. 


Why is gym etiquette important? 

Good gym etiquette is important to ensure that you and those around can work out at ease and without unnecessary delays. Practising good etiquette means you’re doing your part in making the gym a comfortable and safe space for everyone. We all want to be treated with respect, so it’s important to give it back too. 


What is proper gym etiquette?  

As mentioned above, proper gym etiquette is all about respect. It includes simple things that make everybody else’s experience better, like tidying up after yourself, replacing equipment for others to use once you're done, and respecting people's personal space. Being open and friendly to others is also key. 

What is gymtimidation? 

"Gymtimidation" is the feeling of fear or apprehension when working out in front of others. It's a common feeling and can be caused by a fear and anxiety of being judged, not knowing what to do, or feeling like you don't belong.  

A 2019 study found that nearly 47% of respondents had experienced gymtimidation at some point.1 But don't worry, there are ways to overcome it.  


7 Ways You Can Overcome Gymtimidation 

1. Make a plan  

Set yourself up for success by planning out your workout ahead of time. This will help you focus on what you need in terms of equipment and what you'll be doing during your session. 

Try this routine to start you off:


2. Find the right gym  

It's important to feel comfortable in your gym environment. Try out a few different gyms to find one that feels supportive and encouraging to you. 


3. Try out classes 

Classes are a great way to meet people, learn new exercises, and gain firsthand expertise from trained instructors. Plus, there’s a real sense of community in many class-based workouts, which can be great for self-confidence and feeling supported. 


4. Go with a friend 

There’s nothing quite like the support of a good friend. Having a workout buddy is helpful if you’re not feeling confident at first but also great for maintaining motivation as you get more comfortable.  


5. Wear something you feel confident in 

Feeling good about yourself and what you're wearing can make a big difference when it comes to tackling new challenges. Invest in some new gym gear that makes you feel comfortable, confident and ready to take on the world. 

Here are out top ten leggings to keep you comfortable in the gym:


4 Leggings To Cover Every Training Type ­— *Adds All To Basket*

Gym kit wish list getting out of hand? Don’t worry, with this quick guide you can cover the essentials.

5 years agoBy Lauren Dawes


6. Avoid peak hours 

If you’re initially anxious or wary of working out in a busy gym, try going during off-peak or quieter times. This way, you can ease into the gym atmosphere and build your confidence. Before long, you won’t even worry about going at the busiest times. 


7. Remind yourself of your "why” 

Motivation comes and goes, but you can stay on track by reminding yourself of your "why." If you're feeling overwhelmed, simply take a moment to remind yourself of the reasons you signed up and what you're working towards. Your "why" should be your strongest focus and keep you motivated. Remember, if you don't go for it, no one else will. 

Our PT breaks down how to stay motivated, no matter what:


gym do and don't


The Dos and Don’ts in the Gym 

Learning the social conventions of the gym can be daunting for those not in the know. But don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Here are some simple rules to follow to make sure you're practising good gym etiquette: 


Do put your weights back 

Nothing’s more frustrating than finding only one of the dumbbells you need and then spending the next 10-15 minutes searching for the matching one. Once you're finished with your equipment, wipe it down and put it back where it belongs. 


Do wipe down your equipment after use (and before for personal use)  

We all get a little sweaty when working out, so make sure to clean down any equipment you use for the next person. Taking a few seconds to wipe things down can make a nicer environment for everyone. 


Do have good hygiene 

From cleaning the equipment to yourself, practising good hygiene can make the whole gym a nicer, cleaner place for you and your fellow gym-goers. 


Do respect people’s personal space 

It can get crowded at the gym, so be mindful of what movements you're planning on doing, the space available, and who is around you. Take time to find enough space for your session, but also make sure not to encroach on someone else's training space. 


Do reset the machines before leaving 

Just like with free weights, many machines need to be reset once you're finished using them. Wiping them down and resetting the pins means the next person can hop on without a fuss. 


Do ask for help if you need it  

Everyone was a beginner once, so don't be afraid to ask for help or for someone to show you how to use a machine. Asking for help can also be a great way to open a conversation with other gym members. 


Don’t block someone’s view  

There are a lot of mirrors in the gym, and these are generally used for checking form when performing exercises. Be mindful when setting up your space that someone isn't using the mirror to spot their own form. If in doubt, just ask. 


Don’t hog the machine 

It can be busy at the gym, especially during peak periods. We all have sets to hit, but spending hours on a machine or using all the weights that others need isn't a great way to start out. Try to be open to sharing across sets, resting off the machine, and making sure not to take equipment if you don't need it. Sharing is caring. 


Don’t leave weights lying around 

No one wants to trip up or get injured in the gym, so make sure to replace your weights once you're finished or tuck them away during your rest. 


Don’t stare 

It can be daunting stepping into a gym for the first time or getting back into the swing of it after a break. Take the time to be mindful that others might be just starting out, be coming back from injury, or trying some equipment out for the first time. Be friendly and open to helping others, and offer a spot or a smile to someone who looks like they may need it. 


Don’t be late to PT sessions and classes 

If you've signed up for a group class or booked in with a PT, punctuality is key. Arriving 10 minutes before gives you enough time to ask any questions you may have and gives the instructor time to help you before others arrive. No one likes to be the reason the class is running late. And if you’re running late or can’t make it for a genuinely good reason, try to let the instructor know beforehand. 


Don’t hover while waiting for equipment 

We've all come across people who hover when you're trying to finish your last set. It's not cool and makes many people feel uneasy. If you want to use the equipment, wait until the person is finished with their set and ask if you can jump on after or if they're open to sharing while they rest. Just make sure to not make them feel uncomfortable or rushed. 


Take Home Message  

Good gym etiquette is important for ensuring that everyone has a great workout and that the gym is a safe and comfortable space for everyone.  

For people who are new to the gym or getting back into it after a while, these little acts of kindness can make them feel far more comfortable, less anxious and help ease their gymtimidation. Basically, it's all about showing respect and treating others the way we would like to be treated. 

Want more training advice?


Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you're concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

Amy Golby
Personal Trainer & Exercise Nutritionist
View Amy Golby's profile
Amy has been a sportswoman for over 18 years playing rugby and netball up to a national level, she has been a qualified personal trainer for 5 years and further her nutritional knowledge with a diploma in sports and exercise nutrition as well a psychology degree. She has been training in a gym and weightlifting for over 10 years and continues to learn and improve her training in order to reach her goals. She believes in both the physical and mental advantages of sport and fitness as well as a balanced diet and lifestyle. Amy has created programs around sport and fitness for Red Bull, Look magazine, Spartan UK, as well as Mental Movement UK around how fitness can help improve your mental health. In her spare time, Amy enjoys playing sport, socialising with friends, and fuelling her shopping addiction to gym wear. She can be found here -