Gym Etiquette: Dress Code and Gym Class Rules
Gym wear is great these days as it is an expression of a determination by means of fashion. To better understand this, see the multi-million dollar campaigns by Nike or rather look at the number of high-fashion gym wear collaborations – Alexander McQueen for Puma; Hussein Chalayan for Puma; Jeremy Scott for Adidas; Stella McCartney for Adidas –for an example of how the gym wear industry has blossomed. With that said, there are still unspoken rules for what or what is not appropriate for the gym. For example, short shorts, worse so, without netting, is offensive, or the wearing of non-sports materials such as denim is not only bad for your skin but also frowned upon when worn at the gym.
We explain how to socialise in the gym and how best to behave to make the gym a healthy environment.
On a separate note, gym classes can also be tough, especially for those new to the class, and even if the class is promising, certain bad behaviour by members of the class, can make or break the class.
Below, we continue our two-part gym etiquette story and list the rules for how to dress and behave in class.
Dress in whatever colour you like, but do note that anything flamboyant will only raise expectations of yourself. Whether you’re one to work out in an old shirt and shorts or have a preference to dress in the latest from Stella McCartney and Adidas’ collaboration, combined with Dolce & Gabbana or Louis Vuitton trainers, that is entirely up to you. But should you dress in a somewhat flamboyant manner, note that the rest of the gym crowd is watching and they will be expecting big and impressive things (in the form of weight or determination), so dress at your own risk
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No short skirts. This is a general rule in fashion, some think they can break in the gym. It’s crass. Also, if you read the tag carefully, we’re pretty sure the word ‘tennis’ will follow – so save it for the tennis court
Sports shoes are to be worn at the gym. Nothing is more disgusting than someone on the treadmill running barefoot, in fact we’re pretty sure it’s mandatory to wear shoes in the gym. The only exception is yoga or a yoga-sort class that requires no shoes or, at a stretch, those Vibram Five Fingers footwear (we’re not saying they are fashionably acceptable) which we hear have notable health benefits
Wear sports clothes. We’ve seen loafers and jeans at the gym just this week. We must reiterate: ‘casual’ is not quite the same as ‘sports’
Wear appropriate undergarments. A sports bra for women, proper underwear for men – we don’t care to over expand on this, simply note the word ‘support’ is a good general rule for undergarments at the gym. Undergarments are also a must before you sit down anywhere in the changing rooms
Wear your gear properly. The waistband of your trousers or shorts are to be worn from anywhere between the hips and the waist
Don’t be late for class. If you’re any later than five minutes for a class, it is best if you don’t attend as your entrance is disruptive to the rest of the class
If you’re ever to leave the class, walk round the back. If you plan to leave early or you simply want to dash out to grab a towel or a sip of water, do so by all means – discreetly
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First come, first serve. There is a tendency for regular gym attendees to feel a sense of entitlement especially when it comes to space in a class. This is unfounded. If you have a ‘spot’ you feel most comfortable in, go to the class early to make sure you get it. Should someone else arrive first, it is not your prerogative to kick them out of their spot
Best in the front. A lot of the times, the best and regulars are in the front. Feel free to position yourself wherever you want but note this is a general tendency in most classes, so if you’re rather shy or you’d like extra attention from the instructor, position yourself accordingly
Make personal space. You should not be able to both hear and feel the person next to you breathing regardless of what class you’re in. If you are able to, you’re too close