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The 10 worst things you can do at the gym


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Photo: Larkin Clark for Well+Good

You did it. You threw on your favorite new tank top, laced up those tried-and-true sneakers, and impressively paused that Netflix series you were binge-watching to go to the gym for your regular sweat session.

Then the girl next to you does the unthinkable—she answers her ringing phone and starts gabbing away. Your focus is totally thrown off, and now you know way too much about what she and her roommate got up to at the bar last night.

We can all agree that gym faux pas are the worst. But which are the worst of the worst? We polled Well+Good readers on social media to find out, and you delivered big time—with hundreds of hilarious, shocking, and (in some cases) too-disgusting-to-mention responses.

Scroll down to see the 10 most-common gym etiquette fails, according to Well+Good readers.

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1. Talking on your cellphone

This is a huge no-no. Chatting for longer than 30 seconds—sometimes it’s an emergency, we know—should never happen at the gym. It throws everyone off around you and, frankly, if you’re not too out-of-breath to chat on the phone, you’re not working hard enough.

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2. Eating anything but a gym-appropriate snack

From spaghetti on the treadmill to a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich in between lifting sessions, some people out there try to cram in a full meal mid-workout. Do everyone a favor and keep the snackage to a nutrition bar or smoothie.

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3. Excessively sharing stories during a class

Another huge reader pet peeve? Excessive social media documenting during class. Totally cool that you want to live-stream your fitness pursuits, but let’s keep it to a minimum shall we? (Unless you work for a wellness website and Instagramming is part of your job description, of course…)

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4. Dropping weights heavily

We get it. You’re done with that set, but must you throw your weights down so loudly?!

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5. Leaving a class early

From leaving a spin class during the stretch to stomping out of yoga class during savasana (which we just don’t get TBH), it seems to be a common annoyance among most class attendees. Will that extra two minutes really make a difference?

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6. Getting a little too comfortable in the locker room

Between clipping nails and using a hair dryer in places that we don’t even want to mention, W+G readers have seen some things. Please, oh please, treat this like the public restroom that it is and not like your personal bathroom. We’re all for free-spirited ladies, but some things can be kept private.

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7. Lurking behind another gym-goer

If the room is packed and you’re just dying to get on a machine, we get it, but do you really have to stand directly behind and wait or—even worse—try to work into someone else’s five-minute set? One reader even had someone take her weights while she was using them!

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8. Intense body odor

The whole point of the gym is to sweat, so it’s totally understandable that not everyone will smell like roses. But, to cause actual pain to those around you is where we draw the line—shower before the gym if you have to!

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9. Or worse—OD’ing on perfume

Listen, we all sweat at the gym. Covering it up with the latest fruity scent from Michael Kors really isn’t going to help. In fact, it makes it much, much worse.

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10. Showing off or hitting on people while you’re working out

Sometimes the gym can be a great place to meet someone who shares common interests. And sometimes, you really need that guy or girl to let you get your sweat on in peace.

Just can’t deal with the gym today? Try this do-anywhere (AKA at-home) workout from The Fhitting Room’s Emily Cook Harris. Or hit the beach and try this perfect outdoor workout from the Tone It Up girls.

This story was originally published on July 15, 2016; it was updated on June 29, 2018. 

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