Recently a friend posted a story on Facebook about how she’s afraid to go to the gym due to fear of being judged for lack of fitness ability. Being afraid of physical fitness or self-improvement based on what someone might think of you is ridiculous, but it’s also a common complaint. I’m going to drop being an asshole for once and teach you how to make your maiden voyage at the gym a little easier. Time to earn the esteem of your peers and learn how to avoid getting judged at the gym with a few easy tips!

Avoid Stupid Workouts

stupid swiss ball workout in the gymThe number one easiest way to get laughed at in the gym is doing stupid workouts. For example, there’s a middle-aged guy in my gym who will spend an hour karate chopping a steel pole. On the rare occasions the guy actually lifts weights, he loads up the chest press with triple the weight he can handle and does 1/16 of a rep with one arm over and over again. Every person who’s ever witnessed this guy in action thinks he’s an absolute dipshit.

Avoid stupid workouts by killing your ego and killing your momentum. You’ll earn more respect curling 10 lbs with proper form and control than throwing 30 lbs around like a drunken chimpanzee swinging on a tree branch. Don’t perform needlessly complex workouts – keep it simple until you’ve learned enough to progress to harder exercises like deadlifts or clean and press. Not sure if your workout is stupid? Watch a few gym fail videos to learn what not to do.

Follow Basic Hygiene Practices

stinky guy at the gym

Don’t be this

Nobody likes a stinky bastard. Oddly enough, its usually gym veterans who are rolling into a workout stinking like a camel’s nut sack. Even though n00bs aren’t big offenders, keep in mind that the road to becoming a Gym Character is paved with poor personal hygiene. If your feet reek like the carpet at a cat shelter, take a shower and bust out your friend Mr. Antibacterial Soap. Don’t forget to wash your workout clothes frequently.

Also remember that when you work out intensely, you sweat. Sweating isn’t a big deal, but leaving a nasty grease puddle on the equipment definitely is. If you’re prone to massive amounts of sweating, carry around a gym towel and lay it on the bench before you work out. Wipe down the equipment when you’re done.

Wear Appropriate Clothes

jeans in the gym

Jeans in the gym – Don’t do it

Appropriate clothing is a must in the gym, and if you’re wearing something stupid you will get laughed at. A few tips:

  • For men – No “street clothes”. This includes jeans, cargo shorts, work boots, dress shoes, polos, etc. Your outside clothes are either dirty and/or look ridiculously out of place in a gym environment. Pick up a pair of basketball shorts and wear a clean t-shirt or tank top. Thin-soled, flat shoes work well for lifting.
  • For women – Guys appreciate some eye candy, but other women will harshly judge you if your workout gear is too revealing. Plus you probably won’t get anything done if an endless parade of gym casanovas are hitting on you. My gym has a huge amount of older women who refuse to wear a bra while doing cardio. Nobody wants to see granny’s flapjacks bouncing around the treadmill, so strap ’em down ladies!
  • If you’re very overweight, it’s seriously great that you’re in the gym. I applaud your decision to make a positive life change. However, it’s a good idea to wear loose fitting clothing. Save the form fitting apparel for when you’ve slimmed down a bit.

Final Thoughts

Don’t worry too much about what others think – just get in there. Most people won’t notice you unless you’re either really hot or standing out in a bad way. Use the tips above, get a feel for the gym’s culture and keep going until you meet your goals.

Like this article? Read my New Years Resolution Gym Etiquette Tips For Dummies!