7 Ways to Fight Gym Germs: How to Workout Without Getting Sick

Posted in: Exercise
cardio gym.jpg

Susan Ohtake, CPT

Gyms are breading grounds for viruses and bacteria. With so many sweaty people in one place, it’s easy to come in contact with something nasty you don’t want to bring home with you. Here are 7 ways to fight gym germs and stay healthy…

One survey recently reported that over half of gym-goers DO NOT wash their hands after using the bathroom at the gym. After they’re done, they go right back to their workout!

The same survey found that about 30-40% of people don’t wipe down equipment after they use it!


Let’s talk about where all those gym germs go into hiding and the best ways to avoid getting sick at the gym.

Be especially careful of these common gym germ “hot spots…”

  • Free Weights
  • Exercise Machines
  • Exercise Balls
  • Mats
  • Towels
  • Cardio Machines
  • Bathrooms, Showers and Locker Rooms


That’s just about everywhere! And they’re hiding everything from staphylococcus and fungal infections to viruses and common colds.

Here are 7 ways to protect yourself from gym germs...

#1. Wipe Before, Wipe After

Most gyms have some sort of cleaner. Use it on equipment BEFORE you use it. Use it again after you’re done.

No cleaner?

Find a new gym! Or, if you have to, bring your own sanitizing wipes.

#2. Sanitize Your Smartphone Too!

Our smartphones go with us everywhere.

How often do you wash yours?

Sanitize your smartphone after you go to the gym, but also make a habit of cleaning it every day. When was the last time you looked at your phone in the bathroom? I bet you washed your hands – but you didn’t wash your phone, did you?

#3. Watch Out Where You Touch

Many common colds and viruses are airborne, so it’s a good idea to find your own space away from people to exercise in.


Touch transmits bacteria and viruses too so make sure you keep your hands away from your mouth and nose.

Avoid touching your face, but also be careful not to touch the cap of your water bottle too! (easy to forget).

#4. Wash Your Hands Between Exercises

Bring a little bottle of hand sanitizer to the gym and use it between exercises!

It might seem like a pain in the butt, but it’s better than getting sick with who-knows-what!

#5. Bring Your Own Yoga Mat

“Community” yoga mats don’t always get cleaned properly. A quick spray and wipe is all it takes (you should clean your mat with a disinfectant spray or wipe after each use –a bleach wipe works great).

Be careful of mats that are cracked. Cleaner doesn’t always make its way down into those cracks.

Better yet, bring your own mat!

#6. Do Your Workout in the AM

Get up first thing and get your workout in!

Most gyms are cleaned every night before closing, so if you’re the first in the door, everything should be clean and ready to go.

I don’t know about your gym, but I’ve found there are less people in the morning too.

#7. Do Your Workout at Home Instead

You don’t need fancy gym machines or a ton of free weights to get a great workout in.

In fact, all you need are a few combination moves that work your entire body and a set of dumbbells. Even long cardio workouts can be replaced by HIIT-based interval cardio!

You can burn just as much fat as a 45 or even 60-minute cardio session in just 20 minutes right at home as long as you’re planning your exercise time properly.

If you’d like to discover shorter, more effective workouts you can do at home go here.

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