Do you ever think about your gym behavior and wonder what everyone else does? From hygiene habits to how often you work out, at Myprotein we want to understand America’s gym routines and what’s considered ‘normal’.
To find out more, we’ve delved into the routines and habits of 2,081 American gym-goers and surveyed their thoughts to understand what you care about when it comes to gym etiquette. Is it normal to re-wear your favorite workout outfit after a sweaty gym session? Should you be using a towel? And is it ok to train when you’re sick?
We’ve answered all of these questions and more to help you find out what’s ‘normal’, what’s ok and what’s just wrong. Whatever your gym habits, you may recognize yourself in our round-up of the top ‘normal’ gym habits in America. Scroll down for a list of habits and an infographic to see how you compare.
The most ‘normal’ gym habits in America
1. Reusing your gym clothes
Looking good at the gym can be a huge confidence booster and your gym clothes are 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% of Americans 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 the summer.
2. Neglecting cell phones and headphones
From watching Netflix on the treadmill to tracking your lifts, cell 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 cells 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. Training more than 6 times a week
We all want amazing results from the gym, and we all want them now. Whatever you do in your session, rest can be just as important as working out to give your body time to heal and recover.
It might feel like you’re slacking, but if you don’t take a rest day you could be compromising those hard-earned gains. Your body can easily become fatigued, meaning you won’t be able to do your best next time you head to the gym. Despite this, 29% of us think it’s normal to workout 6 or more times per week.
If you’re going for a new personal best, or simply to boost your fitness, try to limit your gym visits to just 5 times a week. Spread rest days throughout the week to give your body a few well-earned breaks. That way, you’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to smash your workout. If you need more information on how to plan your workout week, check out our top tips for rest days.
4. 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.
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.
If plain water is too basic, why not add some delicious flavor to your drink and use BCAA powder? It’s a great way of staying hydrated, and they can boost your gym performance too.
5. 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.
6. 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 up around gym sessions, meaning the majority could do with a quick scrub to stay germ-free.
7. 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 favors 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.
8. 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. Almost half of the respondents (49%) agree and shower straight after they finish their training. A further 35% have a shower later, but 16% wouldn’t ordinarily rinse off after exercise at all.
While 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.
9. 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 number of germs, there are plenty of measures you can take to beat the bacteria. Wash your hands after sessions, wipe down equipment and launder your clothes on a regular basis.
Overall, many of us maintain fitness practices that might look a little odd to others – especially when it comes to hygiene. Check out our infographic below to see how you compare to the US average.