As we discussed last week, there’s nothing wrong with being a part of the “new year, new me” crowd, no matter how much I may hate the phrase. We all have to get started sometime, and if a New Year’s resolution is enough to get your fitness gears turning, more power to you… but there’s one more thing we need to address before you can take your place in line waiting for the bench on Monday afternoons at your local L.A. Fitness: proper gym etiquette.

No matter what you’re into, there’s an online community full of blow-hards and elitists just waiting to pick you apart for not adhering to their standards of decency, and we’re not just talking about the culture-camps we for some reason establish within every field of interest. Sure, we all know Glock guys and 1911 guys can’t be kept in the same kennel – they start gnawing at each other’s ears and nipping at butts. We also know Ford and Chevy girls can’t shop at the same deli without stickers of Calvin peeing on something getting thrown about like confetti… but even within these brand-selective groups, there are always those uppity types that’ll eat their own because they bought “cheap” optics, rock the wrong holster, or don’t have the Ford logo tattooed on their neck big enough.

The gym is no different. In fitness forums all across the internet, there are New Years posts aimed at either bitching at you for daring to be new, or at commiserating with one another about how hard life is in January, when you’re forced to work your tri’s while surrounded by fitness-plebes. These folks aren’t any different from the guys that tell you it isn’t worth even buying a 1911 unless you spend more than three thousand dollars on it, or that the only way to make your mustang respectable is with a Roush supercharger kit (because we all know Procharger is for poor people). These folks aren’t trying to help you, and neither are most articles about what you should and shouldn’t do in the gym.

So, without any further ado, here’s the a brief, no-bullshit guide to looking like you belong in the gym, even if the internet thinks you don’t.