Do you ever think about your gym behaviour and wonder what everyone else does? We’ve surveyed our customers to find out what’s considered ‘normal’ on the topic of gym hygiene.
To do this, we’ve delved into the routines and habits of 2,081 gym-goers to understand what you care about when it comes to gym etiquette. Is it normal to re-wear your favourite workout outfit after a sweaty gym session? Should you be using a towel? And is it ok to train when you’re sick?
Whatever your gym habits, you may recognise yourself in our roundup. Scroll down for a list of habits and an infographic to see how you compare.
Your Gym Hygiene Habits
1. Reusing your gym clothes
Looking good at the gym can be a huge confidence booster and your gymdrobe is a big part of that. Not only do they make you look awesome, they accommodate the movements you perform and adapt to your body. That includes keeping up with the sweat you produce during an intense session. Although they’re designed to handle your workout, they still need to be washed between sessions, right?
According to our survey, many seem to disagree, with 51% admitting to re-wearing the same workout gear after standard training sessions. A further 11% say they will wear the same gym outfit again after an intense, sweaty session — not the most hygienic move. If you find yourself wearing the same fitness kit, again and again, it might be time to invest in some new gym clothing for next season.
2. Neglecting mobile phones and headphones
From watching Netflix on the treadmill to tracking your lifts, mobile phones, headphones and earphones are essential in the gym. There are plenty of apps designed to make your regime more effective and listening to music can help you max out your session.
But how often do we clean this part of our gym gear? Only 15% of us actually clean our mobiles and headphones after each session, and 52% of us don’t refresh our tech after training. To avoid the spread of germs, simply give them a quick wipe down with an antibacterial wipe before you leave the gym.
3. Rinsing and refilling water bottles
The water bottle seems to go unloved by gym-goers. Although they might not need as much cleaning as your protein shaker, they still need close attention. We found that only 35% will thoroughly wash their water bottles after a training session.
Staying hydrated when you exercise is essential — especially during a high-intensity session. Drinking water helps to replace any liquid you’ve lost through sweat. Even if you think it’s just a small weights session, you can become thirstier than you think and, according to our research, one in ten (11%) people don’t even take water bottles into the gym.
4. Ignoring your gym towel
Face the facts – if you’re really giving it your all in the gym, you’re going to get sweaty.
A towel can be a great way to dry off, clean your kit and create a buffer between yourself and the equipment. If you know it’s going to be a hot endurance workout, cooling towels are designed to help you stay cool even in the toughest training.
Despite the many handy uses of the gym towel, our survey found that 51% of us don’t take a towel to the gym at all.
5. Washing up pre- and post-session
Staying clean and hygienic while you train is a great way to stay fit and healthy. Bacteria from sweat and shared equipment can get around the gym, but a great way to keep it all at bay is to wash your hands.
Only 42% say they always wash their hands before and after a gym session, meaning the majority could do with a quick scrub to stay germ-free.
6. Going to the gym while sick
Missing a session can feel like you’re letting your progress slip. But if you’re unwell, going to the gym can actually make you feel worse. Fighting off an illness can lower the strength of your immune system and you won’t be doing it any favours by pushing your limits in the gym. Your body needs time and rest to recover. Despite this, 70% of us believe it’s normal to head to the gym while sick to carry on with their routine.
Not only can it make you feel a whole lot worse, don’t forget that it can affect those working out around you too. By simply taking a couple of days off, you can speed up your recovery process and be back in the gym in no time, without affecting those around you.
7. Showering after sessions
After an intense session, there’s nothing quite like a stimulating shower to set you up for the rest of the day. Over half of the respondents (51%) disagree and don’t shower straight after they finish their training. 35% have a shower later, but 16% wouldn’t ordinarily rinse off after exercise at all.
Whilst it’s good to freshen up, a post-session shower can also help to rinse away sweat, keep your skin clear and reduce the chance of blemishes.
8. Believing gyms are just as clean as anywhere
With so many people passing through and working out, there are always going to be some germs around. Many gyms do take pride in maintaining their space and kit – 91% of the people we spoke to said their gym had facilities available for cleaning equipment. This might be why we found that 38% consider gyms to be just as hygienic as other public places.
Although gyms are home to a whole range of germs, there are plenty of measures you can take to beat the bacteria. Wash your hands after sessions, wipe down equipment and wash your clothes on a regular basis.