Working out: some love it, some tolerate it, and some despise it. Regardless of where one falls on the spectrum, an annoying person at the gym can kill your vibe. I turned to friends and social media for people’s largest complaints and the results were pretty funny.

Some of these offenses listed below might seem ridiculous, while others will be all too familiar … and you might even realize that you’re guilty of a few of them. The people have spoken! Here are the most annoying things people do at the gym, and ways to fix them if you’re one of the culprits.

1 – Wipe down Equipment After Use

This should be a golden rule! Just wipe it down. There’s nothing grosser than getting to a machine or mat that’s still wet and shiny from previous gym rat. In addition to the all too apparent gross factor is the health one. Bacteria’s favorite places to grow are those of the warm and moist variety, making gyms a suburban paradise. The better the conditions, the greater the likelihood for transmission of illnesses and infections. Besides getting a case of the sniffles, one real threat is community-acquired MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), an infection caused by a strain of staph bacteria that’s resistant to antibiotics commonly used to treat regular staph infections.

Most gyms have antibacterial wipes or spray – go find it and wipe down all equipment after use (and before use in case you’re concerned previous person didn’t follow this golden ruse), especially those with porous materials, like machine padding and yoga mats, since bacteria thrives on soft, squishy materials when damp and wet.

2 – Cool It with the Unnecessary Grunting

It’s weird. It’s unnecessary. It grosses people out, not to mention annoys. Also, it can be a little startling. Please stop. For those who claim grunting increases power boost, a study found that in a simulated forehand stroke, athletes got the same power boost by just forcefully expelling air.

3 – Return Equipment to Its Proper Place

I’ve had this happen multiple times: I head over to the weight rack with intention to grab two 15 lb. dumbbells for some quiet, non-grunting weight training, only to discover that between the spots marked 10 lbs and 20 lbs is a 5 lb weight and an empty spot. Why no 15 lb weights?! Oh, there they are – over next to some bench ripe with steamy ass sweat.

Whether it’s a mat, a dumbbell, a kettle ball, etc. when you’re done with it, return it in its proper place and so it’s ready for the next person to use it – this includes re-racking weights. When it comes to returning items to their proper place, realize this might not be where you found it. This is one of those ‘be the change you wish to see in the world’ type of situations.

4 – Respect the Headphones

Don’t try to chat with someone who’s wearing headphones. They’re obviously listening to something and are likely ‘in the zone’ – this is in no way a green light on approaching that person and asking something along the lines of how they’re doing. Asking if someone is done with equipment, or if you can work in a set is one thing – conversing with the expectation of them stopping what they’re doing to chat with you …. that’s a giant “are you f*cking kidding me?!” If you really want to chat with someone or have a specific question, ask a gym employee.

5 – Gym ≠ Tinder/Grindr

Don’t hit on people. Definitely don’t ever just stare at someone. It’s rude, it’s creepy and you’ll probably make that person super uncomfortable. But if you’ve been noticing the same person for a while and want to get to know them, here’s a better route. Try to make eye contact, give a smile then go from there. Don’t force it. Don’t flash your abs. Don’t bend over suggestively. Don’t do weird stuff with your water bottle. That person sees you. They’re likely picking up what you’re putting down – they just aren’t interested. Try an app like Happn – if you’re both active on the app and frequent the same spots, the app will notify you and allow you to reach out that way.

6 – Remain Odor Neutral 

Don’t smell bad. Don’t smell like an Abercrombie & Fitch store. Don’t smell like anything. Wear deodorant and non-stinky clothes and shoes. Are you an extra stinky person? Bring deodorant to re-apply and consider looking into ways to quit being so stinky.

7 – Show How Strong You Are by Quietly Setting Down Your Weights

Cross fitters often drop their weights, and that’s one thing since it’s an accepted practice and also because people are lifting the weight of a small horse. At the gym, it is not accepted, necessary or safe. Instead of dropping your weights, which results in a startling sound and the vibrations of a minor earthquake, show how strong you are by controlling your weight and setting it down (in it’s proper place).

8 – Don’t Solicit Your Personal Training

This happens a lot. It’s weird and it typically breaks the ‘Respect the Headphones’ rule. If someone’s working out, and doesn’t appear to be in any sort of distress or utter confusion, don’t interrupt their workout just to tell them about your services or to offer some unsolicited fitness advice.

9 – Don’t Hog Equipment 


If you’re doing multiple sets, let someone else work into the rotation. You may go to the gym a lot, but it is by no means your personal gym. Are you sitting on a machine and checking your phone, sending a text, taking a selfie, trying to find a way to use a ‘Q’ in Words with Friends? Get off the equipment. You’re too preoccupied to realize if you’re preventing someone from using the equipment. You probably aren’t trying to annoy someone, but odds are, you’re totally doing just that.

10 – Not Doing Reps Directly in Front of Weight Racks 

This might be one of those offenses you don’t realize you’re committing.When you work out directly in front of the weight racks, you’re preventing others from easily grabbing weights and you’re also blocking people from the mirror. So just move over a teensy bit.

11 – Selfie Queens and Kings

A lot of people complain about those taking gym selfies. But in my opinion, as long as the person isn’t in your way, hogging a machine or taking photos that capture you in the background, just let it go. This probably makes it sound like I’m a gym selfie taker – I assure you I am not. I just figure this is one of those ‘pick your battles’ type of situations. But for those taking tons of selfies at the gym, be conscious of the fact that people think you’re stupid, annoying and talk lots of shit about you.

12 – Be Chill in Fitness Classes 


Do you take this class every week? Are you super good? Well, awesome for you on both of those accounts. Realize that no one really cares how awesome you are – there are no SoulCycle scouts waiting to bring you up to the majors. Don’t be snobby. Don’t be petty. You don’t *need* the front row spot every time. Spend your energy kicking ass in the class (for you), not doing some weird showing off and owning the class nonsense.

13 – Use a Machine a Few Down from Nearest Person

Unless the whole row of machines are in use, there’s no use to grab one right next to someone. Treat it as you would a bathroom stall. You’re not getting into a single file line – so respect people’s personal space.

14 – Don’t Talk On Your Phone

No one cares about your dinner plans, how your boss is a total dick, that your startup just got its C round of funding, or that your cat is sick. Don’t talk on your phone. Go off to the side, away from people to make the call.

15 – Don’t be the Naked Guy (or Lady)

As a society, we tend to be a little weird and prude when it comes to nudity and sex. With that being said, realize that the locker room is not the place for your free spirit to just let it all hang out. I understand that you need to shower, change, etc. but there’s nothing wrong with throwing on a towel when you’re walking around. People don’t like walking through the locker room feeling like they can only look up or down, out of fear of getting an eye full.

Did I miss any? Leave them in the comments so we can make sure all offenses get corrected.

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Kinda Kind

Kinda Kind

It’s become my mission to show the world that not only is kindness fun and easy to do, but also that small actions can have giant impacts. That’s why I started Kinda Kind. I’m glad that your path has led you here and I’m glad we’re on the journey together to make kindness badass.

  • Morgan

    Yes. All of this. Spot on.

  • Glad you agree! Let’s hope the offenders see this and the result is a little self reflection 🙂 I know I’ve been guilty of number 10 a few times – and didn’t realize how annoying I was accidentally being until recently.