Top 10 Bonehead Characters You’ll Find in the Gym:

Gym Etiquette Edition

By: Matt Weik

Whether you’re new to the gym or a veteran of the iron, you’ve probably come across some characters in the gym.  In an effort to educated people on the “villains” of the gym and their poor gym etiquette (while having a little fun with things), below are the top 10 gym characters you never want to have the starring role as.  

  • “The Chihuahua”

  • Ah yes, the tiny dog that just won’t shut up and no matter where you are, you hear it.  As much as you may want to, you can’t kick it (that would be inhumane). Yet you’d love to just put him outside and rid yourself of the barking.  

    You know exactly who I’m talking about.  It’s the dude in the gym curling the purple dumbbells yelling, screaming, and grunting like he’s giving birth to a grizzly bear.  Listen, you can lift any amount of weight without making the entire gym aware. A little subtle grunt when struggling will suffice – but that doesn’t mean every rep.

  • “Oscar the Grouch”

  • If you roll up to the gym like you just jumped out of a New York alley trash can, we need to talk proper hygiene.  I understand people like to work out first thing in the morning, but that’s no excuse to wear week-old stinky gym clothes or smell like you’ve already spent three hours sweating in the gym already.  

    Good hygiene goes a long way – for yourself AND others.  Proper gym etiquette would be to freshen up a little bit.  Put on your deodorant, brush your teeth, and if you can smell yourself… so can others.  Hop in the shower before your workout AND after if need be. We don’t need to know you’re at the gym without even seeing you.

  • “Spatially Special”

  • We all need our personal space.  I’m not saying you need to put yourself in a bubble, but you know when people are “a little too close for comfort.”  Unfortunately, some people don’t understand proper gym etiquette and invade your space. They start doing dumbbell lateral raises a foot away from you, they grab the dumbbells in front of you at the rack and then proceed to stand directly in front of you to complete their entire set of curls… you know what I’m talking about.

    Be aware of your surroundings and those around you.  The gym is big enough for the both of you. There’s no need to get all up in someone’s space as if you’re working out in a closet.  Give people a good 3-5 feet of space and save yourself the dirty looks.

  • “Center Stage Sam”

  • A workout at the gym isn’t an audition for the next Rocky movie.  You don’t need to be shadow boxing in the middle of the gym or jumping rope where you can hit the people around you.  If you’re that worried about getting the starring role, go to an unoccupied area of the gym.

    There have been cases where people have been accidentally punched, kicked, and hit with gym equipment because of this.  Accidents happen but many can be avoided… this is one of them. No one wants to steal your spotlight, Sammy. Practice your movie scene somewhere else.

  • “Not-So-Secret Squirrel”

  • The locker room is THE MOST private part of a gym (for obvious reasons).  A major gym etiquette no-no is being the Not-So-Secret Squirrel that likes showing people their nuts.  Well, there they are, in all their glory for everyone to see. And I get it, you're comfortable in your skin and that's great.  But no one else thinks it's a good idea or appropriate to stand over them while they’re tying their shoes with your saggy nutsack in their face.

    Respect others and at least wear a towel if you’re moving around freely (and I mean FREELY) in the locker room.  

  • “Squat Rack Scotty”

  • Scotty’s pumped to be in the gym.  He’s got his favorite Gucci tank top on and his overpriced hypebeast shoes.  He’s always having a pump-up party over at the squat rack. Every day you see him spending a good 15 minutes doing curls in the squat rack.  THE ONLY ONE in the gym. Meanwhile, there’s a line of people forming like they’re at the mall waiting to sit on Santa’s lap before Christmas.

    It’s called a squat rack for a reason.  YOU SQUAT IN IT (or any other movement where you need safety bars because you’re pushing some serious weight).  Don’t use the squat rack for your curls.

  • “Paparazzi Pam”

  • We live in a world where if you don’t record a video or take a picture and post it on social media, it never happened.  Let’s be real for a second… if you have to post pictures or videos that you’re at the gym to convince people you actually go, you have bigger problems.

    The mirrors at the gym are there to help you watch your form.  You don’t need to whip out your phone and turn it into a photoshoot or have your friends walk around you doing a set sumo squats video recording the whole thing to show off your glute gains in your Gym Shark leggings (sorry ladies – had to be said).  

  • “The Hoarder”

  • Some people have a hard time letting go of things.  The Hoarder in the gym is the person who collects every piece of equipment during their workout.  They are using up two benches, both sides of the cable crossover, a recumbent bike, four pairs of dumbbells, the squat rack, and the stretching machine – and they aren’t even super-setting.  I mean, seriously?

    When there are others in the gym, this is poor gym etiquette.  Use the piece of equipment you need and then wipe it down and move on so others can use it.  If you are trying to save time by super-setting, that a great plan but do so with only two machines or pieces of equipment that are nearby so you aren’t running from one side of the gym to the other and inconveniencing everyone else in the gym who is trying to get in a good workout. 

  • “The Dumbbell Thief”

  • If the gym were a jewelry store, we’d have a diamond thief on our hands.  How many times have you walked over to grab a pair of dumbbells and they’re nowhere to be found?  You look behind you and not a soul in sight. Who took them and where did they go? It’s a real live version of Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?  (Are you even old enough to know what that is?) Next thing you know, you’re a private investigator looking for clues to find the missing dumbbells you want to use.  You finally find them in the corner of an adjacent room because someone was too lazy to put them back.

    When you're done with the dumbbells, PUT THEM BACK.  It's gym etiquette 101. If you had the strength to pick them up and take them halfway across the gym, you're strong enough to put them back where they belong.

    1. “Big Hoss Hog”

    The gym is a place to work out.  At least that’s what most people go there to do.  Others, well, they decide they want to bring work with them and sit on a piece of equipment while on what seems like a conference call with China or put their feet up and thumb out a novel on their phone texting their broski (probably about how “killer” their workout is).  

    Don’t be a hog and take up pieces of equipment that others need and are waiting for by sitting there on your phone.  In fact, if you aren’t using your phone to listen to music, there’s absolutely no reason to have your phone on the gym floor.  Leave it in your car or toss it in your locker until you’re done with your workout.


    Matt Weik, the owner of Weik Fitness, LLC, is a well-respected fitness expert and author with a global following. His work has been featured in nearly 100 fitness magazines, 5,000+ websites, as well as having numerous books and audiobooks that are published.  Matt Weik graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Kinesiology. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, personal trainer, and sports nutritionist. Matt is a member of the supplement expert panel.

    Contact Matt via or on social media @weikfitness


    February 18, 2020 by Chris Niemczyk

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