T Nation

Gym Etiquette (Do I Say Anything?)


I have two questions for the vets here:

1) If I see a dude working out and his form is horrible - I mean the worst I have seen - and it looks like he is going to f*ck himself up because of it, should I say anything to him? I don't want to be a jerk to the guy, but he is lifting way to much weight, arching his back a lot, and is in for some hurt.

2) Less of big deal, but there is a dude who clearly does not wash his workout clothes and he stinks something awful. I'd guess that if you are within 20 feet of the guy you smell him. Is it bad gym etiquette to say something to him about it?

If I should just mind my own business I will, but I wondered what the right thing to do is.


It's never a bad thing to help prevent someone from getting hurt. Be careful though, some people may take offense, so offer your information in a proper and tactful way.

If you figure out how to do that with someones BO, then go ahead. Otherwise it's best to lift up fan.


Mind your own business. People who lift too much weight in the gym, especially with today's crop of oversensitive overconfident newbies hitting the scene, should be allowed to kill themselves. People who stink should be avoided. It is common sense to most that, while extra cologne is irritating, smelling like dried oinions, feet and Frito corn chips is a gym "Don't". I am about to go lift now. I just put on deoderant again...after two showers today. It isn't your job to teach people hygeine in the gym. Most would never listen to you and most don't want your advice, especially if you aren't one very large bodybuilder yourself.

  1. Leave them be
  2. Tell the Gym Mgr. and see if he can ask the dude to wash now and then. It's likely others feel the same.


If its young kids, then say something, might bruise their ego, but might save them an injury, same goes not older guys/gals who look like ok people. Anyone who looks like they have attitude, leave it.


Thanks all.


Maybe I'm just too compassionate, but as for the guy who's about to hurt himself, I would approach him and say something like, "Scuse me, sir, I don't do this often, I don't like to stick my nose in other people's business, but I noticed that your form could use some improvement, and I'd like to help you so you don't end up with an injured back." It's what I'd say.

As for the BO, tell the manager.


I give people advice and tips all the time when they're on the heavy bags.


I see people like that all the time. I just stand back and watch every now and then between sets. I wouldn't get involved, personally.

Anyway, as far as the stinky guy, that's probably better than the guys at my gym who get a shower and stand directly in the 4' hallway where the hand-blowers are and dry themselves without a towel whatsoever. I swear, they've started jumping up and down lately and for some strange reason, some of them just stand there with their back to the wall and shake their packages around...it's like MAN, CAN YOU BE ANYMORE GAY!?!?

Not that there's anything wrong with being gay, but that shouldn't give anyone the idea that shaking your johnson around a bunch of straight guys in a locker room and having a heat blowing device that basically points directly at every single person that walks by blow heat off your naked wet body all over the room, all while shaking your johnson about...freaking sick. Get a shower, use a towel, get your clothes on, and get out.


Look at him. Will he appreciate the advice? Start a conversation about something else if you're really concerned. Talk to him once or twice, you know? THEN approach him about it. If its not the first thing you have to say to him, then he'll take the advice in a far, far more willing fashion.

This IS kind of a big deal. Bacteria and parasites and other nasty shit live on his workout clothes.. if he isn't washing them, or himself, then that SMELL is the BACTERIA.. you dig? Human sweat doesn't have a BO smell to it naturally. It's not til it has COME OUT and then DRIED that the bacteria go to work on it.. and that BO smell is the bacteria's BIPRODUCTS.

That's freaking gross. I agree with whoever said talk to the gym manager. Talk to him from the format of "It's one thing to have to smell him - i can deal with that. But he's a HEALTH RISK."

Cause he is.

And it's probably just because when he was growing up no one took the time to teach him the importance of washing himself.


An interesting topic. IMO most people just don't want help or advice.
I used to train with my 2 best mates (they were new to liting - dabbled a bit but no real structure) one listened and one did'nt. Deadlift day he was doing 80kg but form needed improving a little bit so i showed him. He just did'nt fricken listen and insisted his back was straight. He also raised the weight another 20kg to 100kg when i suggested an increase of 2kg per week if things were going well. He set up and jerked on the bar - i was glad the hospital we brought him to had reasonably good food.

Some guys start conversations with me and i take the opportunity to talk with them regarding compound exercises, eating etc but they don't listen. One guy asked about getting bigger so i told him the "secret" - he said he did'nt want to get "too big".

I gave him a routine (includes squats and deads), talked with him for 15mins (thats 15mins of my 1hr available workout time) but he just asked the same q's about doing the routine with what seemed to be his exercises in place of squats and deads (leg extensions and not doing any deads at all). Any one ever seen that episode of Friends where Phoebe tries to teach Joey french - exactly like that.

Rant over - stick to yourself if you can't find other T-men - hug them if you find them.


Just make sure you know what you're talking about. Not like the trainer that HAD to come over to me at the Y and tell me that I was doing my squats wrong and I was going to hurt my back.
He said that if I feel them in quads, it proved I was doing them wrong, because squats don't work your quads, they work your hamstrings!
Then he proceeded to tell me that the leg press machine was the only way to work ALL the muscles in your legs....


LMAO!! That's what the men's locker room is like?!?? I wanna come to your gym!! PLEASE? This is why I love T-Nation! I swear I nearly fell off the chair reading this. Took me 3 tries to read it to my hubby! Thanks for a GREAT Laugh!


  1. Tell him not to arch his back. Dont go up to him and tell him you cant handle that weight you dumb newbie. Just tell him not to arch his back, make up a story about how you messed up your back once doing the same thing. Most of the new guys appreciate advice.

  2. Stay away.


Did I miss something earlier?