Guest Post: The DOs and DON’Ts of the Gym (For Gents!)

by Bailey Powell

While my posts are mostly geared toward women, when my brother expressed interest in starting a blog I suggested he guest post for mine first as an experiment. As you’re about to see our demeanors and writing styles are quite different, but I hope that you find his tips humorous if not informative. While this post may not be directed toward women I think it’s safe to say that we all have men in our lives. Click images to shop. Pass it on.


The author displaying several DON'Ts

Photo by Amy Wingard

Through sports and countless hours in the gym, I have made several observations over the last decade. I have seen normal gym attire and etiquette and I’ve seen horrifying acts that still haunt me to this day. The following is my basic list of gym DOs and DON’Ts that might help you look the part and will most definitely prevent you from becoming that oblivious, unintentionally hilarious dude.


  • Wear workout clothes (i.e., tennis shoes or sport appropriate athletic shoes, athletic shorts or sweats, athletic shirt or sweatshirt)! You would think this is a given… you would think.
  • Figure out what gym appropriate attire is most comfortable for you and for what you are doing.
  • Shoes: I prefer as light as possible for running or lifting (i.e., Nike Frees, New Balance Minimus) and something with more support for a pickup game. Combat boots are for combat.
  • Shorts: Light, breathable, and a comfortable length (i.e., Nike Dri-Fit). Hot pants and shants should be left at home.
  • Compression Shorts:  They keep things in place and guarantee a Billy Madison weird-looking-balls-incident doesn’t happen (i.e., Under Armour Dry-Fit, Nike Combat).
  • Shirt:  Again, light, breathable, and short or long sleeve (i.e., Nike Pro Combat or Dri-Fit, Under Armour Dry-Fit). It is never okay to cut the sleeves off of anything.
  • Sweats:  I usually wear sweats during my workout when I’m just looking to sweat my ass off (i.e., Under Armour open bottomed sweats). This is not permission to show up in 1976 Rocky gear.
  • Know how to lift properly! Nothing makes you look more oblivious than attempting to lift more than you can by throwing your entire back and body into it.
  • Ask questions, get a few lessons from a trainer, workout with an informed friend, or attend a class to learn how to lift properly.  If you’ve never been taught (i.e., through sports, trainer, etc.) then you do not know how. Reading Meathead Monthly doesn’t count as a lesson.
  • Clean up after yourself.  Taking ten seconds to wipe down your machine, pad, bench, or simply washing your hands and re-racking your weights goes a long way in terms of letting everyone else know you give a shit about anyone else in the gym.


  • Grunt loudly and make weird sex noises while you’re lifting. It’s revealing and unbecoming.
  • Slam the weights down so hard that it reads on the Richter scale. You’re so bad ass.
  • Give unsolicited advice, it’s a passive aggressive move.
  • Stare intimately into the mirror at yourself. It’s creeping everyone out.
  • Stare menacingly at everyone and strut around like you’re the 5th grade bully looking to give someone a swirlie.  Nobody gives swirlies anymore, and… just quit staring at people.
  • Hit on a girl on the treadmill. She’s working out.
  • Cut your t-shirt to resemble a butchered thong that conveniently shows off your cool tribal… or armband.
  • Use $95 worth of hair product to go to the gym. It’s not da club.
  • Talk about what girl you hooked up with or whose ass you kicked so loudly that the whole gym can hear. We highly doubt you “hooked up” with anyone.
  • Talk on your phone. It should be on silent.
  • Turn your iPod up so loud that you can’t hear the person next to you (whose foot you just slammed your anvil on) screaming. Nice rep, though.
  • Spit in the water fountain. Sick.
  • Obnoxiously/loudly sing or rap along with your iPod. Not everyone’s taste in music is as good as yours.
  • Cover yourself in rodent repellent scented Axe or Abercrombie before you come to the gym. Save that for Hooters.
  • Think that the tighter the shirt, the bigger you look. Belly shirts were never cool.
  • Pop your shirt off. I’m not kidding.
  • Wear biker shorts, jorts, cargos, or wife beaters… ever.
  • Forget deodorant. This isn’t Eastern Europe.

Hope this is helpful! I know it was therapeutic for me.