The Germaphobe's Workout Guide
You come to the gym for the gains, but muscle may not be the only thing you bring home from the gym.
The gym is a place that can be filled with germs. These germs can reside on surfaces you use and can cause all sorts of sickness. Flu season is fast approaching, and you don’t want to struggle through midterms because you can barely get out of bed. To stay healthy, keep these tips in mind!
Know Your Gym’s Cleaning Procedure
Fitness centers usually make sure their employees regularly clean and sanitize the gym throughout the day. However, you cannot just assume this. Consider asking the gym’s staff to explain their cleaning procedures. This way, there will be no doubt in your mind about your gym’s cleanliness.
Wipe Down Machines
Take cleanliness into your own hands! Most gyms provide disinfectant wipes to wipe down the equipment surfaces before and after you use them. We’ve all seen people who leave the gym with their sweat prints covering a mat or machine. Don’t be that person. If your gym doesn’t provide disinfectant wipes, you can bring your own or carry antibacterial gel to use.
Wash Workout Clothes Often
Make sure to wash your workout clothes after each use. If your detergent isn’t quite strong enough, consider picking up one made specifically for sports and activity odors. Baking soda and vinegar can also help remove odors from clothes.
Bring Your Own Exercise Mat
The last person who used that yoga mat at the gym may not have wiped it down! Next time you grab that mat to hit an ab set or go to a group fitness class, think about bringing your own mat that you wipe down with disinfectant after each use. Or just grab a wet wipe and get to work.
Make sure to cover any cuts and scrapes when working out! Breaks in the skin are invitations for bacteria. After your workout, make sure to remove the bandage, clean the wound, and re-bandage.
Keep Your Hands Clean
We all know we are supposed to wash our hands regularly, but how often do you actually do it? Sweaty gym equipment is often crawling with bacteria, so make sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before touching your face or going for that post-workout meal.
Keep a Tidy Gym Bag
Germs and dirt love gym bags. Inside they’re dark and often damp from sweaty gear. Keep your gym bag clean by putting any dirty gym clothes in a plastic bag before they go into your gym bag. Gym bags made of vinyl or plastic are better for fighting germs. Make sure to wipe down the inside of your bag or wash it as well.
Wash Your Water Bottle
If you have a reusable water bottle, try to wash it between workouts — especially if you are the type to let your protein shaker sit in your car for days. We all know the dreaded odor of protein powder that’s been left in the bottle. Save yourself and your nose. Go ahead and make washing your bottle a habit.
Wash Your Body Properly
Just like your mother would probably say, make sure to get all those hard to reach places! When washing your body after a workout it is important to get all the sweat and bacteria off your body. This will help you avoid rashes and breakouts.
Wear Proper Footwear
The possibility of getting athlete’s foot or a fungal infection is nothing to mess with. Make sure to wear flip flops or sandals in wet areas of the gym including the locker room, showers and pool areas. Do not go barefoot inside the gym. Even for classes involving the mat, it is recommended to wear socks. All other parts of the gym are for sneakers!
Germs are everywhere, but we can do our best to combat them and stay healthy. We hope these tips help you have a clean and refreshing workout experience!
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Julia B.