With gyms now allowed to open, many avid gym-goers will be eager to go back and hit the squat-rack. So, how do you stay safe as possible? 

Pre-lockdown, MyProtein surveyed the routines and habits of 2,081 fitness enthusiasts 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?

Here’s what we found in February:

  • Over 1 in 2 admit to not washing their gym clothes after training.
  • 70% will go to the gym while they’re sick. 
  • 51% don’t shower immediately after training.

Gym Hygiene Tips

1. Don’t re-use 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 ideally!

According to our survey, many seem to disagree, as 51% admitted to re-wearing the same workout gear after standard training sessions. A further 11% said 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 and keep yourself fresh for each session.

2. Clean 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 cleaned our mobiles and headphones after each session, and 52% of us didn’t refresh our tech after training. Simply give them a quick wipe down with an antibacterial wipe before you leave the gym and upon entering!

3. Wash your 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 pre-lockdown, only 35% thoroughly washed 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 didn’t even take water bottles into the gym.

4. Take a 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 didn’t take a towel to the gym at all. This could be the time to invest in one, but be sure to check your gym’s new rules on whether you can take one.

5. Wash your hands 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% said they always washed their hands before and after a gym session, but now more than ever it’s important to give them a good scrub to help you stay germ-free.

6. Give the gym a miss when sick

Missing a session can feel like you’re letting your progress slip. But if you’re feeling unwell, it goes without saying, don’t risk it!

Before lockdown, 70% of us believed it was normal to head to the gym while sick to carry on with their routine, while we’re sure this has changed since, let’s air on the side of caution.

Not only can it make you feel a whole lot worse, it can affect those working out around you too, as germs can be easily spread. By simply taking some time off to monitor your illness and ensure you don’t have serious symptoms, you can speed up your recovery process and be back in the gym in no time, without affecting those around you.

7. Take a shower post-workout

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%) disagreed and didn’t shower straight after they finish their training. 35% had a shower later, while 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. Depending on your gym, you may have to shower at home – so check your gym’s new guidelines to see if the showers are in use before you go.