Gym Mistakes
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15 Annoying Mistakes You're Probably Making at the Gym and How to Avoid Them

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Gym Mistakes
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Don't Muscle In

Unfortunately, many gym-goers, with all their sweating, coughing, selfie-taking and loud talking, break basic etiquette rules on the regular. Not everyone is aware of how to behave in such establishments, and, unfortunately, they become "that person" and annoy folks hoping to make the most of their gym membership. Some fitness experts who see these sins committed almost daily offer their thoughts on what the transgressions are exactly, and how to remedy them.

Related: 24 Fitness Myths to Debunk for Your Next Workout

Not Dressing for the Occasion
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Not Dressing for the Occasion

Skimpy tank tops, Daisy Dukes, or baggy clothing can result in unfortunate fashion hazards. "Rule of thumb is this: If you wouldn't wear it to the grocery store, do not wear it to the gym. Remember the angles we are at on benches. So men, be very aware if you are wearing shorter shorts that you have on something underneath. And ladies, just be sure that you have on enough gear that fits you properly," said Jeff Howard, a trainer at Baptist Health's Milestone Wellness Center in Kentucky. "I have been in a gym before where someone's been on a treadmill, and they actually lost their pants as they were walking and were unaware of it."

Arriving Unprepared
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Arriving Unprepared

Many newcomers don't know where to start, and often show up at the gym in need of guidance. "Do your own research," advises Mike Neumann, owner of Fit Body U, a gym in Bourbonnais, Illinois. "Know what kind of equipment you will have access to, Google workout routines. YouTube any exercises you don't know. If you know what you are supposed to do once you get to the gym, you won't be totally lost and confused."

Related: 12 Fitness Tips You Should Know Before Even Breaking a Sweat

Coming to the Gym When Sick
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Coming to the Gym When Sick

If you're not feeling well, consider this: Gyms are far from clean — sweat left on equipment can host bacteria, viruses, and fungi. If you're already sick, this combination could make it worse. Just stay home. "The gym is a very easy place to pick up others' germs. It's inconsiderate to the other members, and this is how people get sick," advises Mikey Weiss, a fitness coach in Indiana who runs themindmatterlifestyle.com.

Not Keeping Your Gym Bag in a Locker
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Not Keeping Your Gym Bag in a Locker

Tripping over someone's belongings can be hazardous, or at the very least, annoying. "I always dislike it when someone has a gym bag they carry with them and it winds up coughing up everywhere," said Allison Fahrenbach, a nutrition and health coach, and owner of AFS Training in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. "For example, they have their shaker on a bench, their weight belt on the floor, their wrist straps on a rack, etc."

Not Returning Equipment to Proper Place
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Not Returning Equipment to Proper Place

Return weights to their rack and don't leave plates on the machine. "If you can lift the weight during your set, you can put it away once you are done," said Peter Fitschen of Wisconsin, owner of FITbody and Physique. "Respect the weights and equipment, and respect everyone around you, clean up after yourself."

Leaving Machines Unattended
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Leaving Machines Unattended

Occupying more than one piece of equipment at a time during your super-setting routine leaves others either thinking equipment is free when it's not, or leaves them waiting for you to get done. Even leaving your towel on a station doesn't mean you own it. "Never be gone from a piece of equipment longer than a minute. Take breaks in between exercises, not in between sets," Neumann said.

Not Keeping the Machines Clean
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Not Keeping the Machines Clean

Always bring a towel and wipe equipment down once you're done. Oh, and "wash your hands in the bathroom. The number of people who deep clean every machine before and after yet never wash their hands is insane," said Katie Wilson, owner at Katie Wilson Fitness. Fitschen added, "At the very least, wash your gym clothes and wipe down anything you sweat on."

Grunting, Yelling or Cursing
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Grunting, Yelling or Cursing

Though occasional grunting or yelling while lifting heavy weight may be acceptable in some hardcore gyms, many patrons at more commercial fitness centers frown on such behavior. "More often than not, it's entertaining because you know it's actually coming more out of a place of insecurity than ego. But when a single person's volume, aggressive pacing, abuse of equipment, and clapping is disrupting the focus of an entire gym? Nope!" Wilson said.

Related: The Biggest Exercise Mistakes You Can Make After Age 50

Ignoring Personal Hygiene
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Ignoring Personal Hygiene

A certain amount of sweat and smell can be expected after a vigorous workout, but it's the steps you take before getting to the gym that's important. "Hygiene should be a priority at all times. Wear deodorant, and if you sweat profusely, wipe the machines down," Weiss said.

Not Limiting Chatter
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Not Limiting Chatter

Working out with a friend can be helpful, but it can also be distracting for others to focus if you're talking loudly or sitting on a machine and not using it. Also, don't initiate conversation with someone while they are performing a set or who clearly is focused only on their training. "If someone has earphones on or they have earpods in, that basically means they don't want to train or talk with you," Howard said. Fitschen added, "If you are talking to someone, be sure you stay out of the way of others who are still getting their workouts in."

Being Rude in the Locker Room
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Being Rude in the Locker Room

Basic common courtesy and respect of personal space should be the priorities. "Don't take selfies with someone changing nearby or take loud personal speakerphone calls," Wilson said. "And please stop leaving your garbage and hair in the bathroom sinks."

Also, spare others from having to witness your private parts flopping about. "For God's sakes, man, put a towel on," Weiss offers.

Being Indiscreet with Selfies and Phone Calls
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Being Indiscreet with Selfies and Phone Calls

Though taking an occasional selfie while working out is a good way to track your progress, random poses on the gym floor can be distracting. Consider limiting them to the change rooms and be considerate of others by not getting in their way. "If you need to take a call, step outside, go to the gym entrance or find a corner of the gym that is seldom used," Fitschen added.

Offering Unsolicited Advice
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Offering Unsolicited Advice

Weiss thinks it best to help others only when they request it. "People can indeed get offended. I've learned that you can't help everyone," he said.

Howard told Louisville's WHAS-TV, "We don't want to go up to people and help them out because we don't know what they are doing, but a personal trainer in the facility could do it. But a lot of times, they are wanting their own space. Don't be a jerk."

Unfortunately, not everyone can take no for an answer, and in that case, "Just nod your head and say, 'Thank you.' You don't have to use their advice, but let them believe you learned something," Neumann said.

Being Disrespectful
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Being Disrespectful

Whether you're a longtime gym-goer or new to the scene, you may be unaware of the proper behavior in such a setting. It really comes down to common sense. "Everybody's there for the same reason — all working for self-improvement," Fahrenbach says. "Gym etiquette is just old-fashioned respect. Respect for the equipment, others, and yourself in the gym."

Judging Others
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Judging Others

People, in general, may try not to judge others, but it happens. Fahrenbach said she has seen "men and women with a superiority complex, who look down on gym newbies, or who are judgmental toward people who are in the gym and are not in the 'best' shape." This can result in gym anxiety for many and prevent others from committing to a fitness program. Neumann, owner of Fit Body U, offers this to newcomers, "Have courage, walk through the gym doors, and do it."