Getting back to working out at a gym has got me excited about feeling positive results (I hope to see a few more after a couple of months). But one thing that I don’t miss about working out at a fitness facility is the lack of gym etiquette.

In January, this is usually something I expect to see. Several folks look to get in shape that haven’t worked out at a gym before and they may not know the proper (unwritten) protocol. Most of the time it is people just bouncing from machine to machine and being blissfully unaware that they have made a weight room faux pas.

Lately, it hasn’t been the new gym members (congrats for taking the first step, now keep it up) but those that have been working out in the same gym for awhile. Most of the time when an experienced lifter or fitness person breaks etiquette, it is by accident. They either weren’t paying attention as they had headphones on or went into the locker room for a minute and came out without seeing another person using the same equipment.

The two instances that happened to me were a break in the typical expectations at a fitness facility and left me a bit frustrated and behind schedule. Before I get into it, I want to state that I am not really confrontational when it comes to working out. I don’t have a “bro”-mentality that makes me more aggressive toward my fellow fitness enthusiasts.

So for starters, I was working out on a cable machine doing tricep extensions. I had clipped in the proper apparatus and had already done three sets with a split  of machine flies. Next thing I know I look over to see one of the longtime members grab my bar off the cable and go over to another machine with it. I was fuming (but probably only visible to me) and couldn’t believe that this person (who clearly saw me using the bar) not ask me if I had finished.

Frustratingly, I finished up my other lift and moved on to something else. I did eye-up the individual for a period of time, giving him a somewhat nasty/“what are you doing” stare.  What was upsetting is that the person has been lifting for decades and you would think they had learned to check on equipment before just grabbing.

The other one has happened to me multiple times and typically it is the same group of people. I will admit that I am partially to blame for this as I have too much “Minnesota Nice” in me to make a stink. Several times I have seen a group of folks talking on the equipment. I will be busy trying to get in a quick workout and I look over and they are talking on the machine I am going to use. Most of the time, I assume it will be a quick conversation and move on to a different machine but lately it has been in the range of 20-30 minutes before they disperse.


I try not to get rattled when I work out as I use the weight training as a way to blow off some steam. For the most part, the fitness facility I work out at is great; owners and manager are very helpful and understanding. But, you can’t let a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch.

Zach Stich is the managing editor of The Fergus Falls Daily Journal. His column appears Thursday.


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