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Gym Pet Peeves: Do You Have Any?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Last week while I was at the gym, a gentleman in his 60s got on the treadmill next to mine reeking of Aramis cologne. The only reason I knew the scent was because it is the only cologne my father-in-law has worn for the past 25 years. Let me tell you the scent was so strong that I literally had to get off my treadmill and move to one several rows away. I could hardly breathe it was that strong. This got me to thinking that this subject just might make for a great blog.

There is such thing as proper gym etiquette or protocol. And while we would like to think of the gym as our own, we must realize that we share this place with literally hundreds of others therefore we should really think about how our actions impact those around us.

Below is a list of my top ten pet peeves. Feel free to add your own.

  1. People who refuse to wipe down the equipment after use. In a time when bacteria and viruses are running amok it is just common courtesy to wipe down any cardio equipment as well as weight benches.

  2. Men grunting when lifting heavy weights. A few weeks ago this scenario happened and one of the young ladies behind me on the Stairmaster mill shouted out loud, Is that really necessary. Her comment made me snicker and drew applause from the others around her because this grunting lasted for a good 10 minutes.

  3. Leaving dirty towels on the equipment.

  4. People who refuse to allow others to work-in on the weight machines. While I understand one cannot do 3 sets of 15 rep leg presses back to back to back without rest, I do believe when the gym is busy, allowing others to work in is a win-win situation for everyone.

  5. People who refuse to put back the free weights in the rack. I cant tell you how many times I have spent searching the gym floor for the 20 pound dumbbells because someone was too lazy to put back the weights into the rack.

  6. Leaving gum or dirty Kleenex in the cup holder on the cardio machine.

  7. People who lift heavy weights and allow them to crash to the floor causing a reverberation across the gym.

  8. Allowing children access to the gym floor without adult supervision. A few months ago there was a young man around 13 or so running so fast on the treadmill that he lost control and flew off the back of the machine. I think every Mom in the joint was surrounding this young man to make sure he was OK, but his parents were no where to be found.

  9. People who have their iPod or MP3 player so loud you can hardly hear your own tunes coming from your own iPod.

  10. Being disrespectful to others in the gym. We are all there for a common goal and that is to get fit and healthy. There is no room for egos or disrespect.

While many of these points may seem common sense, I do have to remind myself from time to time as well that the gym is shared by many, not just a few. We should be so kind as to leave the gym as we found it so that everyone can have an enjoyable experience.

Do you have any gym pet peeves? Do you follow your own recommendations? What do you find to be most annoying?

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1.Cell phones have got to go!!!
2.Women should not change in the locker room. There is a place for it. Not everybody wants to see you (us) naked.
3.Singing people. :(

First let me preface this by saying, I love my gym! The price is right, there is never a wait for cardio or weight equipment, it's close to home, and it's always immaculately clean. That being said, my pet peeve is the men(and sometimes women)who refuse to take the weight plates off the equipment when they are finished. While I'm there to workout, having to remove multiple 45lb plates in order to use a piece of equipment is an unnecessary waste of time and energy! Report
It is a great list!
Mine is like one mentioned. People who disreguard your time and effort you put into your workout. People who sit on the adjacent machine to talk to the person who was working out until that person came to talk.
Also, I was in line waiting to drop of my child in the childcare area when the lady in front of me started talking to the lady coming out. They blocked the door for several minutes trying to get their kids to talk to each other and discussing really frivolous things. I kept thinking...I'm going to be late for class---I only need 15 seconds. I finally said " I need to get to my class so I'm going to hop in here really quick". I was exactly 8 seconds before I was running back out the door to class. Afterwards, when I was leaving the gym, one of the ladies approached me to tell me how rude I was to jump ahead-that they had a class to get to as well. I apologized and tried to stress my point but she was having none of it. I was rude and I'd better admit it. I just apolized again for upsetting her and walked away. In my mind I was thinking....REALLY??? My 8 seconds threw you off that much? And it wasn't rude to make others late and hold up a line? If you don't care-fine-but you shouldn't make that choice for others. I was patient for several minutes-you couldn't stand 8 seconds? Wow! Report
Great list - I'd add impromptu Karaoke sessions on the treadmill - happened several times recently and their singing was really dreadful. Now I can't carry a tune to save my life and always sing to my music .... when I'm in my car with the windows up. I had to slow down my treadmill as I got a bad case of the giggles one time and the person singing on the treadmill giving me a filthy look and stomped off to use the bike.

Also don't use the treadmill right next to me when there are 10 empty ones. Report
People popping their gum and talking on their cell phones.
People who won't unload the squat rack of the 5,000 lbs they were lifting when they are done! Report
I encountered this when using a large facility, so now I stick with smaller facilities. When I sit on a piece of gym equipment (and have not completed one set). Someone walks over to me and asks, "...are you done?" Report
I totally hate it when someone comes into spin class and plops themself on a bike right in front of the fan...then halfway through the class they ask the instructor to turn it off leaving the rest of us to practically suffocate because it's so hot and the guy next to you smells like hoagie BO. It's a big room--pick a bike that isn't in front of the fan, but don't make the rest of us suffer!!! Report
Reading all of this has been fun and funny. I can sympathize with some but others seem just petty. I don't know. I love the gym and for the most part no one bothers me. One thing though, for all the people who are offended by nakedness in the locker rooms, jeez locker rooms are for dressing and undressing and showering and stuff, of course there's gonna be nudity! I LOVE seeing that there are women confident and comfortable enough to walk around naked. I wish I had that kind of confidence! Report
I have one I discovered this morning!!! I hate when people have the "walking farts" and don't have the respect to get off the machine to fart. It's awful when you're on a treadmill next to someone with the walking farts and it's the only machine you can use right now....AND the fan is positioned where it blows on them, but also that awful smell on you....and then the person on the otherside of you thinks that the stench is yours......argh!!!!!! Report
I have been thinking about joining a gym, but after all these pet peeves i think i'll just buy different DVD. Report
I don't mind the cologne as much as I mind the people that refuse to wear deodorant! How am I supposed to do cardio if I can barely stand to breathe in the air from the person next to me?

I was also waiting on this one woman last night to finish up on the only oblique machine. She did at least 10 sets of who knows how many reps? She knew I was waiting on her, and I only wanted to do two quick sets. She could have let me get in there really quickly and get back to her burnout session or whatever she was doing.

Both of my gripes are addressed in the article you linked.

Also, I don't understand why men grunting is that bad? If it's a natural reaction to the activity and if they're not doing it just to get attention, I don't see why it's a bad thing. You hear tennis players do it all of the time. It seems really mean and petty to complain about something like that. Now, wiping off sweat and leaving trash on the machines are valid complaints. Report
Don't stare, if I'm doing something wrong or you have a question just come over and talk to me. If you can see me don't you think I can see you! Report
My gym has a main room with cardio and strength machines and then separate rooms off the main room for specialized training (i.e., free weights, group classes, woman's only, circuit training, etc.) There is one room with a giant projection screen TV filled with cardio machines where they play a different movie every day. It is great because it is essentially a movie theater for gym rats! i love going in there and getting a workout in while watching a movie - makes the time go by quicker! Anyway, with all the additional places one could work out, you would assume that those people who go into the cinema would be interested in, I don't know, maybe watching the movie! Every once in a while we get some yahoos that want to BS as loud as they can or a person that insists on talking on their cell phone. I can't tell you how many times i have gotten off my elliptical and asked people to either keep the noise down or leave the cinema. Report
My pet peeve has to be those people who decide to take a rest and just sit down on the first piece of equipment they happen to be near. They're not using the equipment, just sitting on it.... move! I need that ab machine!! Report
I realize that this is only some of the wipes. If in doubt it would be a good idea to bring your own or some alcohol pads to wipe down the equipment. Report
Be careful of handling some of the antimicrobial wipes. Read the packaging to see if it's safe to come into skin contact with them as there are some that do say on the package that if they come into contact with your skin you are to rinse your skin for 15 minutes afterwards. A memo came out at my work that these wipes are found to cause kidney failure and gloves must be worn to handle them. Report
Agree with #4. I used to run into a lady at my gym who would rest a good 5 minutes between reps on the leg machines. She would have a magazine to read while she was ''resting.'' Haven't seen her do it in quite a while; I think so many of us complained to the gym staff that they finally got through to her to stop that behavior. Report
I really cant stand it when the cardio room is close to empty, and yet some big sweaty guy decides to plonk themselves on the treadmill right next to me. I mean, puh- lease, there are only about 20 other treadmills to choose from!!
I also really detest the smell of BO. Report
People who continue to wear perfume while exercising even though club policy is "no Fragrances" P.U.! Report
There are the overly made up women who come in with a full face of make up and hair perfectly done - those are the same people who tend to talk on the their cell phones while they walk at a snail's pace. Ditto on the grunting and the kids running around. How about those muscle heads who meet up with their buddies and just hang out at the gym checking everyone else out? Ugh! So irritating! Report
My #1 pet peeve is the guy that comes in - searches for the remote to the television, turns on some crappy sports, and proceeds to turn on his iPod as he gets onto the machine. You can tell he is one of the only ones that likes the program as you watch everyone start staring at their machines instead of the TV.

My other is that the gym does not provide the items to wipe down the equipment in multiple locations. There is one station to get the wipes on the first floor. No where else. I go to the gym on a tight schedule and don't have time to run up and down the stairs to get wipes for all the equipment. I bring my own towel and wipe up after myself, but it isn't anti-microbial or anything. By the time you go get a wipe and come back, someone has generally already hoped onto the equipment!
I use the gym at my work and when I am there it is almost always me and a bunch of special agents (I work for a federal law enforcement agency). For the most part, they are really nice guys that leave me alone to do my thing and I do the same for them. However, on several occasions now I have finished my cardio and prepared to do strength training only to discover that half of the machines are covered with towels or water bottles in order to hold the machine for someone doing a circuit. I find this completely unacceptable behavior for a gym. You have exclusive rights to the machine you are using while you are on it, but what makes you think you have the right to occupy four or five machines at once? This is not your private gym and if you can't make your circuit flexible enough to account for the fact that you don't get to control every machine in the gym, then you need to consider buying your own machines so that no one else can get in your way. Otherwise, respect the time and effort that your gym-mates have sacrificed to be there and learn to share. Report
1. It bugs me to stand around and wait to get on a machine while someone just sits on it not doing anything except gabbing with a friend. Talk all you want, but get off the machine and let those of us there with a purpose get on with our workout!

2.My gym has a numbered circuit for weight machines and a policy not to jump in when someone is doing the circuit. It really irks me to be just finishing my reps on one machine when someone pops themself on the next machine in the circuit, leaving me to wait or get out of order.

I agree with so many of the other peeves listed here that it is a wonder that I spend so much time at the fitness center. Must be a pretty great place if the benefits outweigh all these downsides! Report
Generally, I go to a great gym. But my two big pet peeves are 1. people on cell phones (do you really need to talk for an hour sitting on the bike next to mine?), and 2. lack of deodorant (you're there to sweat, not to make everyone else puke!). Report
I like my gym but I can do without the "muscle heads" who try to intimidate me from working out in the free weight area and on the cable machine. They never ask if I am working out in a particular area but just bombard their way in while I am in the middle of a set. Common courtesy is the name of the game but what should I expect since I workout at a university gym? Report
A big pet peeve is people filling their water bottles at water dispenser, and sticking the mouth of bottle right around water spout!! Not only is it disgusting-it is unsanitary, and a public health issue. I approached the health club, and I'm sure they didn't want to draw any attention to a potential health issue or violation on their part. Nothing ever came of the practice. Another peeve is people that lug all their belongings around with them, as they work out-and don't use the locker room. And a peeve I have is, when people think what they may think silently.. and if they could offer some encouragement to others-it might make their day-and give them a boost. Even a simple-you made that look effortless. Or you are doing great- can you yourself see an improvement? Or stick with it ( you only have a few more minutes) if the person is struggling. Again--you have to get a sense of if the person will react negatively to comments. Or say-those workout pants look comfy. ... Report
I go to Curves so I get these A LOT...
People who show up to the gym in jeans and/or sandals. How serious can you really be about your work out if you can't even be bothered to put on sneakers?
People who are so busy yapping that they do not hear the little voice say "change stations now" and then stay on one machine for 3 minutes causing me to have to skip it or stay on my own machine until they are finished.
People who insist on hopping on the machine right next to me in the circuit when we are the only two in the gym.
People who are so busy chit chatting that they never manage to break a sweat and then complain that they don't lose any weight.
That one snarky little girl that works there who is rude to everyone who is overweight. It's a gym honey. That's why most of us are here. Report
I got a lot of laughs out of reading this post and the comments! Especially the story of the grunter and the applause that followed the young lady's comment, "Is that really necessary!?" I also made me glad, once again, that my gym is all-female. LOL @ that one!

I guess I share some of the pet peeves, but it also was a good reminder to myself to be more considerate of others while working out. Report
I quit going to my local Y for a very specific reason: Kids in the locker room!!! We have an indoor community pool so there are lots of kids around but it is remarkable uncomfortable changing in the locker room when the women bring their 8-10 yr old boys in with them!! Being well endowed the stares were mortifying!! Report
As a gym owner/manager I have to say my biggest pet peeve are people who wear dirty shoes to the gym and leave a trail of dirt or other nasty elements behind them. I have actually had people go into a class in my group fitness room and leave a pile of dirt in the spot they occupying...and then not understand why they were asked to remove their shoes!
Dirty shoes are also really hard on my treadmills. People! That equipment costs thousands of dollars, please have a pair of "gym only" shoes and leave your muddy garden sneakers at home! Report
My pet peeve is naked women in the locker room in general. Why can't you wrap a towel around yourself before you head to the shower? I'm happy that you feel so comfortable with your body but frankly I don't want to see it, save that for home for your husband or significant other who would appreciate it. Report
Cell phones are a huge annoyance. I just can't understand how someone can talk and work out at the same time. Report
People who look like they just came from a photo shoot... Report
My pet peeve are folks, usually women, who come in wearing perfume. For some reason the odor nauseates me at the gym. Report
My gym is air conditioned, but you tend to break a sweat when you're doing 45 minutes on an elliptical/treadmill. Which is why they have those big heavy duty fans that you can turn--they even rotate. The other day I was doing my thing with the fan pointed in my direction and a guy came in and took a treadmill three "doors" down from me (not bad, at least he left a lot of room). Then he got off and pointed the fan directly at him!!

Seriously? We're both sweating buddy, and you're not the only one in the world. It made me so mad!! Report
I guess I have been lucky for the most part the gym I go seems fairly serious. people are nice but they are there to work out. My home gym is a coed version of the chain. What I hate is the woman's lonely clubs. For some reason they seem to have more woman standing around chatting more than working out. I also get feed up by the woman who are amazed by the weights I use and them comment about how they have not changed the weights they use in years cause they are afraid they might get big arms. Pleasse, give a break. Report
Currently can't afford a gym membership, or spare the time to go since the closest one that I know if about 25 minutes away. Maybe someday. In the mean time, I don't need to have the pet peeves, it's just me and my sweat - LOL Report
My pet peeve led me to not renew my membership at my last gym. I was put on a beginners program which was to last 10 weeks and not one person from the gym called to find out why I was not coming to the gym at all. The only time I heard from them was when I was remined to return the key to turn on the machines or I would be charged for it. I think I'll just work out at home from now on. Report
umm let's see my biggest pet peeve is not being able to afford to join a gym Report
This may be a pet peeve, but it was a reason I actually withdrew my gym membership. I go to the gym to workout, clear my head and "get in the zone". I went to a gym where the personal trainers started promoting people in the middle of workouts. That was so annoying to me, when I kept being approached by different trainers, I would say no thanks, but they were persistent. I think if people want a personal trainer, they will sign up for that at the front desk, not when they are working out. IDK, maybe it is just me, I am introverted and do not like being interrupted, and I thought it was just plain rude to be soliciting services when people had already paid to have a membership, then they are taking advantage by doing their sells pitch in the gym? Report
I smiled at several of the top 10! The crashing weights, the grunting's like OMG stop it! The other one is weights. I had this happen to me several times this week. First there was this woman that I never saw her workout - but she'd sit and chat on one of the weight stations. Second, people breaking in between sets...yep know you know have to but, if you know someone's waiting, then either let them in or do your reps. Another thing I can't stand is people talking on their cell phones - it's like fine if you can talk softly but if you're loud, get out of the gym. I had one guy once conducting business and it's like YEP YOU ARE VERY IMPORTANT, NOW HANG UP THE PHONE OR GO ELSEWHERE. GRRRRRR!

Annie Report
My biggest pet peeve is naked people lying and sitting right next to you in the... guess... SAUNA ROOM!! Gross! And, majority of them do not bring themselves a towel! Imagine that! Report
One of my biggest pet peeves in a gym is cell phone use. I had a lady on the treadmill next to me talk on her cell phone for the entire 60 minutes she was on. How annoying! Report
I don't know if my comment would be considered a "pet peeve". I have MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivites) and I get physically ill from the chemical odors from scented products, new carpet glues, exhaust, most cleaning products, cigarette smoke, and the list goes on. So for years I have been afraid to try to go to a gym. But, in January, I decided to try out Curves. I kind of thought that it would be whimpy...set up for old ladies with lots of perfume. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to feel that familiar feel of endorphins filling my body. I do have days when I have to leave because someone is wearing some strong scented product(s). I know of one woman and I try to go when she isn't there. I have even called in to see if she is there. Overall, most everybody is very accommodating and a great bunch of ladies. Report
The one that gets me is the "grunting" workout. I understand you're working out but REALLY must you grunt so LOUDLY?!?! Then get upset when people look at you? Report
people who reek of cigarettes!!!!! there is this woman in my spin class who must smoke a whole pack before she comes in. I can't breathe and leave feeling like I have smoked a pack while I am working out. it has gotten so bad that I switched my schedule so i wouldn't have to be in the same class as her.

Also peole who take forever in the showers. this is not your home- don't take 50 minutes in the bathroom when people are waiting! Report
People who set weight machines to the max, then add 20 extra pounds and don't remove the extra pounds when they are finished. Report
I know gyms are supposed to be stinky because we are all working out but I draw the line at stinky people in the sauna. I mean what is worse that being trapped in steamy stinky room. There should be a stink-o-meter at the door that drops soap and water on the worse offenders. Report
Life would be so boring if everyone was the same. Differences are good and for every annoyance at the gym there is something good. I can't imagine shuffling into the gym with everyone doing the exact same routine. I am happy that people are expressing themselves. Report
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