I spend most of my day in a gym. Whether it's in a commercial facility or in a collegiate weight room, I see it all. There are some do's and don'ts that everybody should know before entering a gym, and I think its high time that I go over some of those here.
1) Put your shit back where you got it - This one should be self-explanatory. If you took a barbell off of a rack to use it, put it the fuck back where it came from. The gym clearly left it there for a reason (squats, presses). Also, take a look at the dumbbells; they all have numbers on the ends. These go in ascending order, usually in 5 pound increments. Since you're lifting weights, I'll assume you can count which means you sure as shit better put the DB's back on the rack in the right order. "5, 10, 15, 65, 20" does not make any damn sense.
2) Don't be a dick - Ok, I get it. You have a lot of sets of benching to do (it is Monday, after all) but don't be pissed at 6 p.m. when someone asks if they can work in with you. Most people won't have the time to wait for you to finish 12 sets of presses so they can get in their quick 5x5. By the same note, if you're using the cable-crossover to do your flys, or double bi's or whatever, don't be surprised when someone asks if they can sneak in and use the pull-up bar.
3) Don't be a dick - If you need to sneak into the squat rack while someone has 345 on the bar so you can squat 155 and change the bar height, dont do it. Just wait.
4) Nobody cares - This one goes both ways. Ladies, seriously, guys aren't looking at you. I know that Healthworks built their business on the basis that guys are leering and drooling at women in the gym, but it doesn't happen. On the other hand guys, theres no girl in the gym who really gives a rats-ass if you can curl 25 pounds for 30 reps. You know who cares about that? Other dudes. If you want to attract the attention of other dudes, grunt and groan your way through your set. If you want to get a chick to notice you, go to yoga and try to do yoga.
5) Don't be a Chatty Cathy - It's cool to know other people where you lift; it's part of the fun of training. You go lift at the same time every day and see familiar faces. You chat about the (shitty) Pats game or your line of work. Keep it simple. Chit chat is fine, but don't take away from my workout. Once you detract from my workout, you become a dick.
6) Don't be a know it all - One of the nice things about being in a weight room is that you know the people around you are at least somewhat interested in something you're interested in. If you know a lot, thats great. But don't impress it upon someone who doesn't give a shit. It's one thing to say "hey, try and keep your elbows in on your bench" and it's another to dive into why they should be doing a Periodized High Volume German Concentric-only Dynamic Effort program. You know what? Sometimes people are there just to lift a few weights and go home.
7) Ask for help - If you have a question, ask one of the trainers or one of the other people who seem to have a handle on what they are doing. There's no such thing as a stupid question, only a stupid person for not asking.
8) Don't slam your weights - No matter how hard you drop them, 30 pound dumbbells aren't going to sound like 70's. Drop weights during Olympic Lifts and such; there's really very little reason to drop weights during biceps curls.
9) Leave your cell phone in the locker - Gym rules always state "no cell phone use". The reason is because every phone has a camera now and they run the risk of some invasion of privacy issues if you start filming the old guy on the upright bike who's nuts are hanging out of his shorts. The better reason? Because if you can't leave your phone in the locker for 60 minutes while you lift, you're a douche. Turn yourself off for a while! De-stress! Forget about everything else for a while and move some weights, dammit!
10) Just don't do it - For fuck's sake, DON'T CURL IN THE SQUAT RACK. Unless you can do a barbell curl with more than I can squat, don't fucking do it. It's a surefire way to get kicked in the babymaker.
These are just the basic gym commandments. It really comes down to common sense, but we all know how few people have that.
Go lift some heavy shit today!