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Freya Active has partnered with the authority on etiquette, Debrett’s, to produce ‘Sweatiquette’, a five-point guide to dos and don’ts in the gym to navigate tricky gym-based etiquette conundrums.

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You might be looking for romance, but remember that for most people, the gym is simply a place to get fit. And while almost a quarter of us would like to be asked out at the gym, only 12% would ever make the first move.

One thing’s for sure: attempts to make meaningful eye contact across a crowded gym floor can be misconstrued, so keep your gaze to yourself. Watching someone else’s workout will only make them feel uncomfortable.

If you do want to approach someone, choose your moment wisely. Initiating friendly conversation at the water fountain is likely to reap more rewards than breathlessly yelling your chat-up line over the noise of neighbouring treadmills. A final word of warning: make sure the object of your approach isn’t working out with his or her significant other…



There’s nothing worse than finding sweaty handprints and drip-marks on your machine, but research found that as many as 18% of gym-goers never wipe down equipment after using it. You might think that you barely break a sweat when you work out, but spare a thought for others and use paper towels and some hygiene spray to clean up after your workout.


Gym-goers seem to be a less-than sociable bunch: while more than 40% say they’d be happy to get chatting to another person at the gym, far fewer are inclined to make the first approach. If you’re keen to make friends with your fellow fitness fans, take your cue from silent signals: if somebody is listening to music or appears to be very focused on their workout, leave them to it.

If, on the other hand, they look like they’re open to some friendly conversation, feel free to approach, armed with a smile and an opening gambit.



At busy gym-going times, you might find your favourite machine is already in use, but waiting pointedly beside a treadmill or cross-trainer will only make its occupant feel pressurised into winding up their workout.

Instead, ask if they can let you know when they’re finished, and move on to another machine in the meantime.

When you’re the one using the equipment, be mindful of others and don’t monopolise it for too long – you can always offer to take alternate turns on the weights. Similarly, don’t sit around chatting or using your phone after you’ve finished using a particular machine.


When you’ve had a great workout, it’s tempting to share a photo of your endorphin-rich glow on Snapchat or Instagram. However, other gym-users might not appreciate your #fitspo, particularly if you capture them in the background straining with a set of weights or in the middle of an unflattering lunge.

If you need the encouragement and motivation of your social network, keep any selfie-taking brief and discreet, and make sure your post doesn’t feature any unwilling participants.





About YouGov stats: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1775 adults aged 18-45. Fieldwork was undertaken between the 23rd and the 27th November 2017. The survey was carried out online.

About Debrett’s: Debrett’s is a professional coaching company, publisher and authority on modern etiquette, founded in 1769 with the publication of the first edition of The New Peerage.