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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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giggling/talking aboutstaring at overweight clients. clearly we are here to correct the problem so stfu. Report
4 and 7. Had 2 ladies put their bags on 2 machines while they got on 2 other machines and just sat and talked and weren't working out...Really that's 4 machines that can't be used!!! And men (mostly) who let the weights slam down, first don't break the machine and second quit making me jump out of my skin!! OOoohhhh!
It's a GYM, not a library or a knitting club. I grunt because I'm actually WORKING. You and your delicate little ears can just get over it. The gym is a place to be loud and sweaty, and if you can't deal with that, you don't belong at a public gym. If you expect sanitary conditions at a public gym, you're delusional. Report
The biggest one for me is huge men leaving stacks of 45 lbs plates on machines after they are done with their exercise. For me just to take all this weight off of the machine is a good and tiring workout. I think it's very disrespectful. Another one that bugs me is girls sitting on the mats in the stretching area chatting after they are done stretching. Meanwhile the rest of us have to wait for a free spot on the mat. As to people not wiping cardio machines after they are done - I just wipe the treadmill before and after I use it. Report
My biggest pet peeve is overcrowding. I understand the gym is a business, but having classes at over capacity makes it annoying for everyone. I am a regular in a class with a lot of regulars and we work as a team to help the instructor and other new people. Despite that, there is always that one rude/annoying person who refuses to be considerate and cooperative in a cramped space. Report
strong perfumes is what bugs me the most.... Report
I say no need to put on tiny or skin-tight outfits in a gym... it's not like you are involved about the rules of aerodynamics on that regular. But if you're going to put on it, you're welcoming stares. Just like if you use a swimsuit to the seaside. Some of the outfits on both men and ladies are a bit much (or not really that much). I go to the gym to get myself in better form and not to oogle over the type of form others are in - a little modesty goes a long way
I hate the people who talk on their cell phones at the gym. You're here to workout, why are you on the phone? And why do you have to be so loud about it?

The other thing I hate (which I haven't encountered at all gyms, just some) is people leaving their locker doors open and stuff all over the place, especially on the benches. They'll have their clothes, bags, etc all over the place during peak hours. You're not the only one at the gym. Other people need to put their stuff away too. I'd also like to be able to sit on the bench in order to put on my sneakers, why should your gym bag, your purse, and your second purse occupy the bench instead? Report
This is a great blog; I am grateful for all the comments and insight and incredulous at some of the gross and idiotic stuff that people have been subjected to. Some of the things that used to bug me at the gym don't anymore because I have worked around them or just became desensitized. I gave up music and wear earplugs so I can't hear grunting, loud cell users or others' music. I slip into a pretty focused state while I am working out - my thoughts get really "loud," I am not really visually focused on what is around me; this pretty much blocks all distraction. Except odors :-) But hey - it's a gym.

I try to go to the gym when I am pretty sure the machines I want will be available. I have the luxury of a couple location choices, and times, so sometimes this means going to a different location or working out later at night than I like to. I usually wipe the machines before and after use so I don't really think about whether someone else has. My gym provides paper towels and disinfectant spray and I take a small towel around with me.

I haven't had much luck with the people who monopolize machines - I do a routine that only requires one set on each machine, works from large to small muscle groups and permits no interim rest period. I reached for a machine to put some weights on it the other day, and a guy who was pacing the floor said "I'm there." When I asked how long he would be (he clearly had not started yet) he said "When I'm done." and "You got a problem with that?" I work hard to avoid these people. Sometimes you just have to chalk it up. Report
I feel very lucky I have never heard anyone sing. People do that? Really??? That's hilarious. I wonder if they know they're doing it. Report
99% of these things don't bother me. If someone leaves sweat and forgets to wipe it, I wipe it myself. Cell-phone usage; who cares? Girls in make-up? Good for them!

Okay, the "walking farts" maybe, but I'm not 100% gas-free (who is?) so...

Please, please PLEASE people. Worry about the important things in life.

Oh, and PS. Is it possible that those who object to all the tushy and ta-ta showing could be just a teeny bit jealous? Report
I'm a little confused on one things:
"Women should not change in the locker room. There is a place for it."
Isn't the place for that the locker room? Report
I could echo many of the comments that have been mentioned already. But I also swim, and I have a few pet peeves about lap swimmers. The first is when it's really crowded some really athletic guy thinks that doing the butterfly is really important. These guys just don't get it that it's too close for that and they could hit someone with their hands or arms. I also have a problem with the lifeguard applying any kind of perfumed lotion...just really makes it hard to breathe when you're swimming. Lap swims also have the problem of people standing around talking and taking up a lane when there are people waiting to get started on their workout. I guess it's not so different than the gym! Report
Yes. This is a bold statement but it is meant to stimulate discussion and not to talk-down or offend anyone. I have had therapy for my own issues so I am quite serious. Someone (perhaps more than one person) made a big stink about seeing people walk around naked in the gym. It seems like it sets off some deeply held beliefs that are pushed by an environment in which people walk around in a most natural way. I find it interesting that someone can be so repulsed by the nature of the human body in all of its manifestations. What is going on in a mind that has such a reaction? Locker rooms are for changing. If you cannot stand nature, then keep your eyes on the ground while in the gym or better yet, AVOID THE LOCKER ROOM. Report

I CONCUR WITH 407! Actually, I thought I would disagree with 407 but after reviewing some of the post it does seem that people have some pet-peeves are themselves questionable. E.g., someone said they get upset when someone gets on a cardio machine next her when others are available. I've done that many times and it usually has to do with channel I want to watch on a particular TV or a particular view of the gym I want. What really blew me about this comment is that she said such people aren't "respecting" her "space." What about "respecting" the right of others to any machine he or she wants? What about respecting CHOICE? (Some people do have some more plausible annoyances). Report
my big gripe was when I had a personal trainer who spent more time talking to other people on the floor who weren't even his clients than with me during a scheduled training session. this same trainer would also tend to clients who showed up during MY scheduled training session wanting a training session because he/she couldn't make it during her/his regularly scheduled time and totally forgets about ME!! I told him I did not appreciate the fact that I show up when I'm scheduled to be here and I don't impose on anybody else's scheduled sessions and that I expected him to tend to me and me only during my scheduled training sessions. He got mad at ME saying I needed to be more flexible. Needless to say, after six months of that, which is really six months too long, I finally fired him and went on my own! Report
Cell phone usage in excess, disrespect to the equipment, if I'm on a piece of cardio equipment and need to get off for a short amount of time so someone not only takes the equipment but also moves my belongings on it, girls who were skimpy clothing so that some parts almost seem to be hanging out, children much younger than allowed, usage of studio or own speakers in studios that are supposed to be shared by all members. In my 5 years, I've acquired many. Report
Do you know what bothers me... INTOLERANCE.

Please. Some of these are so petty. If the person is not being intentionally rude, mean, spiteful or judgemental... just leave them be, keep it to yourself and adjust your schedule or location accordingly. Or the always well received... PLEASE should do the trick, if you have a request. Report
Like everyone I have my pet peeves, but I'm confused why some people have said women changing in a locker room is a pet peeve. I thought the purpose of the locker room was to change and shower in. I'm not the type to walk around without a towel, but if I'm coming from work I need to change into workout clothes. Would they rather I change in the middle of the office or parking lot? Report
I personally hate the girls in the gym who give a half hearted performance on the machines. They come decked out to the nines in their gym attire, spend half of their time talking to each other while "playing" on the machines, and the other half of their time batting their eyelashes at the meat heads who are slamming their weights on the floor or grunting! Report
I work at a gym and the thing that ticks me off the most is when I can hear the weights being dropped from where I sit in the front office. I mean come on there is a whole 50 feet plus a door that separates us. It just shows little- to- no respect for the equipment. Report
I feel like people are going to jugde what i am doing if i start lifting wrong. Report
Ahh this is a great blog! Here's mine (they are similar to a lot of posters' but it will make me feel better to reiterate).

1. When someone gets on a treadmill next to me when virtually every other one is empty. If I had the room to work out in my home, I would. Please respect the personal space I was lucky enough to find!

2. My gym's "Pizza Mondays" and "Bagel Tuesdays". Is plying us with free carbs the only way you can keep us coming back? I think not.

3. These two women who come in together all the time, put in their headphones and then proceed to scream conversations to each other (even though they're working out right next to each other). They'll be halfway across the gym, and they still drown out my iPod. Not cool. And to make matters worse, one of them piles her overbleached hair into a banana clip. Seriously.

4. Long-lost friends who run into each other at the gym, and proceed to catch up on 10 years of life while one sits on a machine - not moving - and the other stands so close to MY machine that I concentrate more on not clocking him with it than I do on my exercise.

5. Really fast reps. My husband is guilty of this and he just will not listen to me when I try to explain that it's not helping him to do 1 set of 100 reps on the ab cruncher at about 50 miles an hour. He claims it works because his back hurts the next day. I just can't seem to convince him that his back hurts because you're not supposed to work your spine like that. I wish the gym employees would walk around and try to correct people when they're obviously doing an exercise would help cut down on injuries, right?

6. Out-of-order machines. My gym is pretty small, and from 3:00 on it is PACKED. When 5-7 cardio machines are out of order at the same time, it makes a big difference and it's a big pain. Since I don't do my strength training until I'm properly warmed up, I leave if I can't get on the treadmill or the elliptical first, rather than wait half an hour for someone to finish.

Whew! Ok that felt good. Report
The grunting needs to stop..there is 1 lady at my gym when she jogs on the treadmill she grunts and moans so loud its disgusting and irritating.

Also you try to walk on the track and you get some people cut you off for no
reason. They cut you off so close, you either step on the heel or you almost
can kiss the back of their head, its ignorant.

Or you get guy that fell into the cologne bottle and when he walks or workouts in front of you, it just makes you want to gag. Report
Omg those pet peeves I totally agree with.
I have to add mine.
Women who walk around COMPLETELY naked in the locker room. Seriously I never seen so many unnecessary boobs and cha chas. Its very disrespectful, especially when they are walking around naked everywhere.
I am all about feel good about your self but come on people, I really don't want to see your birthday suit. And i don't like it when they don't even bother to wear underwear when they are in the sauna eww Report
Cell phones are not allowed in the cardio area of my gym, but there are people who work out on machines and yell and talk across the room to one another. What is the difference. I don't want to hear your latest gossip or embarassing moment while I strive for a positive lifestyle. Report
These are all Really great pet peeves!!! I do my work out at 5:30am to avoid much of what I have just read here. My gym tends to have 98% older (65+) people during the time I work out & I just love them because they are so easy to get along with and they are certainly not there to impress anyone. They are kind and mindful of the people around them. I suppose the "worst" thing that ever "happened" to me was it was clear that this old gal didn't remember what her trainer had taughter her regarding starting her ellipticle - so obviously I got down off mine to give her a hand and then finished my work out- Believe me...I would take that over all that other stuff ANY day! Love My Gym! Report
I don't mind the nudity in the locker rooms or the grunting while lifting... I can even tolerate the muscle bound guys strutting around. I have a few things that happen on a regular basis that drive me NUTS....

1. The young girls that come in wearing makeup, work out, don't break a sweat, and look perfect the whole time. Perhaps this annoys me because I envy them. Perhaps it annoys me because it doesn't seem like they're really trying. Perhaps it annoys me because it makes me feel like I look even worse and my self consciousness gets in the way of truly having a good workout.

2. The girls that come into the gym with friends and make snarky comments about people, or stare. Once again, makes me self conscious and therefore uncomfortable.

3. There's this guy that comes in and, regardless of what you may be watching on the main tv in the main cardio room, he switches it to golf. Have you ever put in an hour on the elliptical watching golf??? Personally, there is nothing more snooze worthy. Golf. I mean... really? Golf? Report
I ABOSLUTELY HATE it when someone gets on the equipment next to you (when there are empty ones elsewhere) and they smell as if they haven't bathed in a month of Sundays! Of course once they start working out, the smell intensifies. OMG!!! Report
CELL PHONES!!! You're at the gym not the local starbucks. Report
I hate it when people wear heavy perfume! OMG I was doing the elliptical machine and a woman took the machine next to mine, her perfume was so strong, it made me nauseous Report
I hate going to the gym to be stared at! Males are so disgusting sometimes and will sometimes come up to bug me. I am working out id like to be left alone and do what i came to do!. Sometimes i wish i wasnt a female working out at a gym, i cant wait to have a gym of my own in my home!!! Not to mention it being so incredibly busy and people sitting on machines NOT using them, but instead just talking there little mouths off.grrrrrrrr Report
My "favorite" is when people go to the gym not to work out. I sit at a desk all day, so come quitting time I'm about a ready to hit the gym as it gets. Get there, get it done, and get on with other things. I sometimes squeeze in my WOs in the morning (6a), and it really rubs be the wrong way to see girls with freshly applied makeup bobbing away on a cario machine. Really? Some girls can't leave the house with out make up, but it just smears/smudges anyway, and when you shower (hopefully) it'll just wash off. Report
Sorry, I had to post one more........going so fast on the elliptical with the resistance at level 1. Up the resistance and get a real workout, please? The machine is shaking and moving and it's like, OMG! What are you doing and why are you doing it? Report
Pet peeves! Clinking barbells. To me, as a trainer, it shows the inability to control your weights, therefore, you shouldn't be lifting them! Incorrect usage of equipment, especially free weights, freaks me out. But, because I own the place and am a trainer, I will repsectfully inform them of proper usage. Talking/texting while working out, especially in a group fitness class. Really? Just leave. Riding a recumbent bike while reading a magazine with the resistance at level 1 and barely moving. Hmm......why waste your time? I feel like I could go on and on, but I'll stop here! LOL! Report
I completely understand. I wrote my own blog about my gym pet peeves last month. Feel free to go read it everyone! Report
My pet peeve is when the "gymrats" hang out and socialize. When I go to the gym, it is to work out--not to socialize. These guys are built, but who knows how they got that way because they hang out socializing most of the time and occasionally lift some weights. Not only does it take up space, but it makes people feel uncomfortable. Report
I agree about the men grunting loudly-it sounds like they're dying! So annoying! Also sweaty, smelly men (or women), in bright tights with a very loud ipod playing, using the weight machines and never wiping after. The equipment then smells and it's so gross. Report
I work out at Curves 3-4x a week and I am "peeved" by a few things...

**When the gym is almost completely wide open and someone insists on working out right next to you and they get annoyed when you are moving on and off the machine so quickly!

**Women who work out in long sleeves and jeans..even worse sandals! It's like are you here to work out or what?!?!!? Report
An odd one, but one I've run into more than once. Who fights for a parking space when they're going to the GYM??? That and my gym actually handed out pizza last week. I have to believe that was some form of covert sabotage. I eat pizza on my own. No big deal, but that's like your cardiologist handing you a Big Mac. I guess there's one way to ensure repeat business! lol Report
I SO badly want to go up to people who are doing rapid reps, as in, using momentum to lift their weights! It drives me CRAZY, and I am just waiting for them to pull something. Or the women who put a machine on the lightest weight, and sit there and do 500 reps. Because somehow, that's effective? I'm not in the best shape, but I grew up around exercise, and have had a couple of personal trainers, and have trained myself, and it's so hard not to go up to people and try to help them! Report
Okay. I have one similar to #4. I hate it when members rest on the weight machine between sets. Even worse is the woman at my gym who sits on some of the leg machines, with no weight, and s-l-o-w-l-y works about a 100 reps...while reading a book. COME ON. It's not a recumbent cardio machine. Report
People leaving on the TV on the treadmill....they unplug their earphones, and if the TV has external speakers, it just keeps blaring. Can they not HEAR it? When I visited my daughter recently, I went to the gym with her and this happened. I could hear that TV even though I had my earphones plugged into my own treadmill's TV. I finally got off my treadmill and simply turned off that other TV. The man on the adjacent treadmill said "thank you." Report
I have to agree on the grunting and dropping the weights, also the loud music in the "weight room" I wear my Ipod and the music which is heavy metal screaming can still be heard over my tunes. Have some respect, there are other people there too! Report
By far, the biggest pet-peeve for me is people who do not lift weights correctly. My husband is in the Army and therefore I have access to the MWR gym whenever I want. I had to switch times that I went because I got so annoyed at this man who was lifting WAY too much weight, causing himself to be lifted out of the seat each time he tried to pull down the bar. There is no way that lifting weights that way can be beneficial. I'm no expert, but I KNEW that was wrong! Report
Hehehe reading these posts were really funny. I guess I've been fortunate to not have the cell-phone talking, perfume wearing, grunting, fan-hogging people at my gym. As a personal trainer and fitness instructor the only real pet-peeve I have is seeing people do exercises without proper form. A part of me wants to tell them about it, but since I am not a gym employee I don't think it's my place and don't want to antagonize them. So I just groan when I see it and try to look the other way. Most times it involves people lifting more weights than they can handle so it compromises their form, or leaning way back or forward on the elliptical or treadmill. I wish the gym would have personnel to walk the floor and correct mistakes like that. Report
Just a couple of gym pet peeves that I have:

SOUND RELATED: The noisy, grunting weight lifting men and women; the heavy-breathing gaspers/groaners on the cardio machines; the people who insist on talking loudly on their cell phones (while working out!) and MY GYM when they play music so loud that I can hear it while wearing earphones.

BREATHING RELATED: The purfume and cologne that I can literally TASTE when working out. Trust me, if I can taste your purfume as you sweat on the eliptical machine two away from mine... you are wearing TOO MUCH! Those of us with allergies can have asthma attacks brought on by the chemicals you are putting in the air. Not to mention body odor... there is healthy sweat, and there is smelling like you haven't bathed in a week...

And the worst pet gym pet peeve I have (and thankfully it has only happened twice in all the years I have been going to the gym...) a THIEF. If you have to steal from another person's locker (cell phones, ipods, clothes, ect.) STAY AWAY from my gym! Report
I'm completely with you on the grunting (not little ones, but louds ones that go, "rrrrrrRRRrRRRRRRRREEEIIIAAAAAAAAHH
HHHHH" on each rep), slamming down free weights (if you watch pumping Iron, you'll see Arnold doing a set of dumbbell flys and lean all the way forward to set, not throw, them down. If he can take the time to do it, you should be able to as well), and people not willing to share machines. Thankfully, this rarely comes up. Aside from that, I can't stand when people don't clear the plates off of the machine when they're done, because I can normally do another exercise if I'm waiting for a machine. If the plates are on it, I'm going to assume you went to get water or something. I had to help this woman clear the plates off of the leg press because someone had left two 100lb plates on each side! I get it, you press four hundred pounds! That's not even impressive if you consider how much less in squat form that would be. Report
i just cant stand it when those super huge guys slam their million pound weights down...grunting the entire time. i just want to scream at them. is it really necessary to slam your weights to the ground....all the windows are shaking and machines across the room too. they get on my freakin nerves....

plus...i tan at my gym and they have 2 beds near those lifters, and when your trying to relax or take a nap...they constantly slam those darn weights down again....sdkufhsduhf!!! ugh!

these were so funny to read! however, some people have some really are pretty pety. and you dont want to see people changing in the locker room. where else are they supposed to change?? that is what its for. duh.

At the gym I went to in college, there was a 30 minute limit on machines, and I LOATHED the people who would go for an hour, and you knew they were going for an hour, because you were waiting for 45 minutes of it, and they could see you, their time is more important than yours. Report
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