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Basic Gym Etiquette

There is a certain etiquette that is to be followed at a gym. A quick unofficial survey on social media shows that not everyone is considerate when going to the gym. The consensus for top pet peeves includes not wiping down equipment when done, sitting around instead of working out, and noises.

Bodily noises

Bodily noises are rarely necessary. This does not mean “those” noises – although they are not really appropriate in public anyway. Grunts and groans. If you need to grunt every time you lift a weight, consult a trainer who is knowledgeable in weights. Schedule an appointment with a personal trainer. Most gyms include consultations with your membership or for a nominal fee.

“It’s quite uncomfortable when the grunts and panting are so loud that I have to take out my ear buds to make sure no one's dying or filming porn,” responded one person.

Cell phone use

The gym is not the place to be chatting about last night’s game or your favorite sitcom. That said many people do carry their cell phones with them, using various fitness apps or music with ear buds. Texting is fine as long as it is in silent keyboard mode. Set your phone to vibrate or silent as soon as you come into the gym. Many gyms do have a common place you can talk on your phone. Universal Athletic Club for example has a Café area where members can intermingle or use their phone.

One respondent pointed out that even though you may have ear buds in, everyone can still hear your side of the conversation.

Children & Teens

Some gyms offer a special area or program for children and teenagers. Some however do not. Check with your facility before assuming you can take your minor child – regardless of maturity level – with you. Universal Athletic Club includes a Kidz Klub in the family membership. It is for children up to 11 years of age. This is a safe area for children to get exercise, be creative and have some fun while parents enjoy the gym. The Club also offers a Youth Athletic Club for kids aged six to 12. A Junior Certification Program is offered to youth age 12 to 15. This program is designed to teach them the proper usage on the various cardio and weight training equipment. Completing the program affords the youth the privilege of using the equipment without parental supervision. The Club offers other specific classes, like martial arts and the Parisi Speed School, for youth and teens as well.

Circuit Room

The machines in the circuit room are laid out in an order. Not going in order messes up the order of other people. One person responded that her gym has a 30 minute limit on the circuit.

Clean up

Clean up after yourself. Wipe down each machine or mat after you use it. Several people suggested bringing a towel to the gum with you and carrying it with you as you work out. At Universal Athletic Club, sanitary wipes and paper towels are located pretty much everywhere for this purpose. The sanitary wipes ensure that not only do you wipe off all that gross sweat but you also sanitize the equipment for the next person.

Along the lines of cleaning up, put things away when you are finished using them. Everything has a place and there is a place for everything. If you do not know where it belongs, ask someone.

Dress appropriately

We all have body parts we would like to sculpt a bit more. Please do not show them. If your belly hangs over your waistline, wear a longer shirt and tuck it in. This rule of etiquette is not just for the men. Ladies, if you are well-endowed, the gym is not the place to show them off.

Sitting around

The equipment is not a park bench. Sitting around on machines when you are not using them is one of the biggest no no’s.

A final suggestion

Before you sign the contract, take a tour of the gym. Notice how people act in general and towards each other. Does it seem more like a social gathering or a place to workout? If you are unsure, visit the gym a second time. This time choose a different time of day.

Upcoming Events & Information Request

Lancaster City is located in South Central Pennsylvania. Home to over 60,000 people, it is the County Seat. Do you have an upcoming event or information that would interest the Lancaster community? If so, please email Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman at

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