It pains me to even need to put out such an article but we live in a world where an item that never seems to leave our hand is our phone. Phone etiquette goes a long way in public and is even more important (especially for privacy reasons) at the gym. Remember the days where people would train to a boombox in the corner and everyone was checking their form in the mirror? No, me neither. That was WAY too long ago. Nowadays, what people are listening to is music streaming from their phone while snapping selfies of themselves in the mirrors with good downlighting. All I can do is shake my head.
This article I want to lay some ground rules for proper phone etiquette at the gym. If you follow them, you’ll go unnoticed. Heed my advice.
8 Things You NEED to Know
- DO listen to music or podcasts on your phone
It’s extremely boring to exercise without anything playing in the background. For that reason, many people listen to their favorite music or even an educational podcast to help them improve a skill set or learn something while exercising (killing two birds with one stone). Regardless, be respectful and don’t blast your music or podcast and do yourself and everyone around you a favor by not singing along with your tunes. Get in a zone with what you want to listen to and crush your workout.
- DON’T sit on equipment and watch videos between sets
The gym isn’t a movie theater. You can’t simply lay down on the leg press with your feet up and start watching videos, shows, or movies. Do that on your own time. Your rest periods should be short so you keep your workout intense. Try not to rest for more than a minute if you’re looking to build muscle and even shorter if you’re trying to lose weight and burn calories. You can watch Netflix or whatever you want to view when you get home.
- DO track your workout
If you want to track your workout, great. However, when you are done, put your phone back in your pocket. Having your phone simply laying around or constantly in your hand gives people an uneasy feeling. Not only could your phone get broken if stepped on or if a weight were to fall on it, but having it always in your hand makes you seem like a creeper who is going around taking pictures of people. Log your set in your phone, see what your next exercise is and weight needed and keep moving. Tracking your workout is a great way to ensure you are progressing and overloading the muscle each workout to see progress. You could bypass all of this by simply purchasing a workout log or workout journal where you simply use a pen/pencil and document your workout – no phone needed.
- DON’T waste time texting and emailing
When you go to the gym, are you there to exercise or to chit-chat? Exercise, right? Then why are you spending time on your phone texting and emailing? You’re taking up space in the gym that could be occupied by another person. You’re wasting not only your time but the time of others by having improper phone etiquette. Save your conversations on your phone until after your workout. If you have time to text and email on your phone, you’re not putting in maximum effort and intensity with your workout. Get in your workout and then return those messages later when you get home or back to work.
- DO talk to people at the gym and offer your support and encouragement
Everyone is at the gym for the same reason – to achieve their goals. Helping others stay motivated is an amazing way to create an ideal environment in the gym. Strength is in numbers and when everyone is supporting each other, motivation levels are high, you stay committed to your workouts and coming to the gym, and it helps you stay accountable. Supporting and encouraging others at the gym also shows you’re personable and not some miserable person who comes to pick things up and put them down and then leave without making eye contact with anyone or cracking a smile.
- DON’T talk to people on your phone
This is a phone etiquette no-no that I see way too many people doing. Whether you’re talking on your phone directly or through a headset, you are going to annoy just about everyone in the gym. The gym is a place for people to get away from everyday life and work and simply escape to get in a killer workout. You’re hurting the atmosphere of the gym by bringing your affairs with you to the gym. No one wants to hear what you’re doing tonight or how terrible your meeting was at work.
- DO take progress pictures (at home)
There’s no better feeling in the world than looking at old photos and seeing your transformation. Use your phone for something good (outside of the gym) by taking pictures of yourself. Try to be consistent by taking weekly pictures, bi-weekly, or monthly. This will show you how you’re progressing as time passes. It will show all the hard work you have put in with your diet and with your training.
- DON’T block the gym mirror for selfies
I saved the best (or you could say the worst) phone etiquette offense for last. Any gym you go to, you will experience this many times and we all know “those people” who are the worst offenders. They are the people who stand in front of the mirror and snap photo after photo of them posing. They’ll change poses, move into better lighting, make funny faces, and then sit there for the next 10 minutes posting the photo to social media, making sure they get all the best hashtags. STOP! The mirrors in the gym are to help you focus on your form and posture – not for you to stand there and snap selfies all day.
Phone Etiquette is IMPORTANT
As you can see, there is a right way and a wrong way to do things at the gym when it comes to the use of your phone. Phone etiquette is something I wish more gyms would regulate. But to stay on the good side of the other members of the gym, keep your phone in your car or locker, only use it when necessary (such as to change songs or log a set), and abide by the phone etiquette rules mentioned above.