For most of us, finding time in our busy schedules to go to the gym can be a workout in and of itself.
But for those who have dedicated themselves to a healthy lifestyle, congratulations, you already have more willpower than I do. And while your commitment to a healthy lifestyle is commendable, your disgusting gym habits, on the other hand, not so much. Many gym rats focus so much on perfecting their bodies to the best of their abilities that they fail to notice those habits.
Numerous studies have revealed that your local gym could be one of the germiest places on the planet. Is it any wonder with the amount of blood, sweat, and tears shed at the gym each and every day? So while you might not even realize you’re performing these gym no-nos, others definitely do.
You might want to take a look at your own gym routine and reevaluate your workouts after learning about these 16 gross gym habits that could be putting your health in jeopardy.
1. Wearing makeup to the gym
Whether you’re coming straight from work, or getting all dolled up to impress your gym crush, wearing makeup during your workout can be harmful to your skin. Even the lightest layer of makeup can clog your pores, leaving you vulnerable to nasty breakouts.
2. Wearing your hair down
Putting your hair back into a ponytail can seem like an unnecessary step in the workout process, but it could also protect your skin. Most men and women with longer hair use a variety of mousses, sprays or hair gels, that when sweating it out in the gym may cause acne on the shoulders and back.
3. Touching your face while working out
Your face is one of the most common places for germs to collect, so if you’re one to wipe away sweat from your face and forehead, try using a towel instead. You never know what harmful bacteria can be hiding on the gym equipment.
4. Not wiping down machines before and after using them
Just because the staff at your local gym are responsible for keeping machines clean doesn’t mean they won't miss germs that living on your favorite gym equipment. Oh, and that sweaty guy who used the elliptical before you? Don't just assume he wiped it off when he was done.
5. Not wearing gloves to lift weights
Just because you wipe down machines doesn’t mean you should be wearing gloves when lifting weights. Gloves prevent the transmission of bacteria and viruses that can cause a common gym-related disease known as impetigo. Impetigo is a skin infection that can result in blisters and sores around the mouth.
6. Not bringing your own yoga mat
Whether your an avid yoga master or a total novice, it’s recommended that you bring your own yoga mat to every class. I mean, just think about how much time you spend sprawled out on the thing. The person before you did the same thing.
7. Not cleaning that yoga mat before using it
And even when you do bring your own mat, it's still important that you clean it between each use to disinfect it. Your own germ buildup can make you sick too, folks.
8. You don’t use a mat at all
Not using a mat is just as unhealthy as using a mat that isn’t properly cleaned. Think about this for a minute. You’re in the middle of a public gym barefoot doing intense poses on the same space where athletic sneakers track anything from germs to feces through the space. Yuck!
9. Not cleaning your gym bag
Keeping a packed gym bag handy might seem like a time saver, but it can also turn into a cess pool of germs. If you’re in a hurry post-workout, you probably just throw your shoes and clothes inside the dark, damp bag where germs can multiply by the thousands.
10. Sitting on a bench without a towel
You really don't know what those benches in the locker room have seen. Whether people prop their shoes up on them to tie the laces or, god forbid, they sit their bare butts on there before and after showers, just put your towel down before sitting for good measure.
11. Not cleaning your water bottle before every use
It’s only water, right? Wrong! Taking your bottle to the gym on the regular can expose your bottle to a variety of bacteria, fungi, or yeast that could be harmful to your health. You don't want that nastiness near your mouth.
12. Using the gym’s water fountain
There’s no clear way to know how often your gym’s water fountains are cleaned, meaning they could be teeming with germs. Think about it. Not only do people’s mouths come into contact with these fountains, but dirty water bottles do, too!
13. Not showering after every workout
You may be in a hurry to go about your day and forego a quick rinse off or shower after a workout, but here’s why you shouldn’t. Your body is coming into contact with plenty of gross bacteria and other substances at the gym, which will follow you like the plague. Just give yourself an extra half hour post-workout.
14. Not wearing shower shoes in the gym shower
If you’ve ever shared a bathroom in college, you know all too well about the risk of athletes feet or foot fungus when showering without shoes on your feet. Flip flops were my shower shoe of choice, and I made it through four years of schooling completely fungus-free! Same goes for the gym.
15. Not washing your gym clothes after every gym workout
Sweat and a good workout will cause your workout clothes to collect germs like crazy. Not washing your gym clothes regularly will not only multiply the bacteria after every use, but they could make you susceptible to tine versicolor, a type of yeast infection.
16. Peeing in the pool or shower
One out of every 5 people admits to peeing in the pool. Let that sink in. And more than a handful of people have peed in the shower at some point, so please, I'm begging you, if you're one of those people, just stop.
While it might be some time before I make my way back to the gym, you best bet I’m going to be on the lookout for these nasty hygiene crimes. Just call me the gym police! You’re under arrest for being straight-up disgusting.