Even if you go to a gym that looks nothing like the one in the above photo — and for crying out loud, please let that be the case — here’s some bad news: it’s still gross and filthy and filled with bacteria. Recent research from fitrated.com found that, among other nastiness, free-weights have more bacteria than the average toilet seat.
The study examined 27 pieces of exercise equipment at three different gyms. They didn’t say whether the gyms were high-end places that most guys we know would never pay for — yeah, we’re talking to you, Equinox! — but three gyms gives an idea of the average horribleness at your gym. Anyway, the study found that the average treadmill has 74 times more bacteria than water taps. The average exercise bike has 39 times more bacteria than cafeteria trays. The free weights were the dirtiest piece of equipment in the gym. Free weights have 362 times more bacteria than toilet seats.
The researchers noted that people who go to the gym may be putting themselves at risk for developing an infectious illness, which pairs well with a well-sculpted physique. The bacteria found on exercise equipment can cause blood poisoning, skin infections, and pneumonia.
Additionally, some bacteria can be resistant to antibiotics. The researchers have stated that people should — you guessed it — wipe down machines with disinfectant before they use them. It’d also be wise to avoid walking around barefooted in the gym or locker room. And it’s a good idea to change clothes immediately after they complete their workout.
Here’s a handy chart from fitrated.com that explains how gross things at the gym really are: