Different Gym Customs Around the World

Traveling to new countries opens us up to new cultures and traditions, which we can see in their architecture and historical heritage but mostly in the daily lives of people. These differences can also be seen when we visit their health clubs.  

And although gyms have been standardized as the fitness industry continues to evolve, there are still some different gym customs and trends you’ll notice when you visit a gym overseas. 

group class


In this article, we’ll particularly focus on interesting rules of etiquette and habits of gym-goers in several popular destinations, so you’ll know what to expect next time when you visit a gym while traveling. Here’s some things to look out for next time you’re working out on the road:


Almost Every Gym Feels Like A High End Hotel In Russia



Russia is known for their majestic architecture and interior design, packed with intricate elements and beautiful decor, and you won’t find anything different in their gyms, particularly if you’re visiting Moscow. 

The gyms commonly have a hotel-like lobby and take great pride in their luxurious service and atmosphere, so you’ll be expected to follow the etiquette that goes with that. You will see all gym members arriving in their everyday clothes, checking in their coats at the door when they will also frequently receive baheeli. 

These are shoe covers that they wear to the lockers, where you’re expected to change into a clean pair of shoes. Additionally, most Russian gyms have a pool and you might even be required to get a quick check up at the in house doctor, who will then approve you are ok to go to the pool. 


You Might Need To Reserve Equipment While In Japan



Like with everything else in Japan, there are many unique things you’ll encounter while visiting their gyms. For example, since aerobic training is still one of the most popular forms of training in the country, you might need to make a reservation for a cardio machine if you come during peak hours. Additionally, when it’s your turn, you will have a time limit of how long you can use it.

Hogging the machines and other equipment is also taken quite seriously in the country, and you will notice signs around the gym that instruct you to check whether anyone’s waiting before you do your next set. Finally, some gyms don’t allow you to make calls and take pictures with your phone, in order to respect other members of the gym.


It Is Possible To Feel Underdressed In A Gym In Sweden



Sweden is known as one of the healthiest and fittest countries in Europe, and 7 out of 10 people report they are exercising regularly. As a result, the gyms are packed with bodybuilders and popular Instagram personas. They like to connect with each other through social media and showcase their results, and most of their gym customs are fashionable activewear brands and you will likely see them taking instagram-worthy selfies.

If you’d prefer a more laid back atmosphere when working out, try out one of their outdoor gyms that can be found throughout Stockholm and are free for everyone.  


Gym Hygiene Is Very Important In Germany


kettlebells & shoes

Fitness culture is rapidly evolving in Germany for the past few decades, and you will find countless gyms wherever you go. However, make sure you respect their gym hygiene rules, which they take quite seriously. 

Besides having clean shoes and a towel, you’re also expected to clean up every machine after use.  Additionally, almost every German gym has a sauna, and besides making sure they are male-or female only as this isn’t always the case, you will also have to follow their sometimes surprisingly strict rules, such as not being able to change the temperature and staying silent.


You’re Expected To Look Good While Working Out In Brazil


woman jumping

Everyone knows that Brazil is one of the fittest countries in the world, mainly because the residents take great pride in their appearance. You will notice those two things combined in their gyms – they will frequently shower before and after their workout and when it comes to gym customs, you will see both males and females wearing trendy clothes.

However, like in Sweden, there are many outdoor gyms as well, for those who prefer to workout in a relaxed and open environment. 


Expect High Standard In Australia


gym class

Australian gyms are mainly part of larger chains, so you can expect cutting-edge equipment, challenging group classes, and mainly 24 hour working hours. Since many of those hours are unstaffed, the members are expected to make sure to leave the gym as they found it, so you’ll find cleaning stations you can use to clean your workout equipment after use. If in Australia, also try out their F45 high intensity classes, which are one of the most popular exercise trends in the country. 


Women Workout Separately In Saudi Arabia



It’s not a secret that patriarchy is still alive and well in Saudi Arabia, and women weren’t really allowed to visit gyms until fairly recently. And though this has changed quite a lot especially in larger chains, other gym owners are now getting licenses for women-only gyms. These enclosed facilities are safe fitness clubs where women can feel accepted and work out in an encouraging and judgment-free environment. 


They Take Exercise Seriously In Finland


strong woman

Most Finns are exercising actively and they usually have a strict workout plan and are very vigorous in their workouts. And though there are a variety of different gyms you can enjoy as their fitness culture continues to evolve, whichever you choose you should try not to interrupt them and follow a proper etiquette in the gym, which includes not hogging the machines and maintaining silence. Also, the music is generally geared towards the large hard rock fanbase, so you might want to take your headphones if that isn’t something you enjoy. 


Wrapping up

When visiting a gym in different country, proper etiquette is a must if you want to respect the locals and what is important to them. However, although they sometimes take certain rules much more seriously than in your home gym, they generally revolve around the same idea: respect other members and you will be respected too.

So wherever you’re working out, remember to think a little about the culture before getting stuck in! But if you’re using TrainAway, don’t worry, we’ll always give you any pointers you need.