Gym classes are a great way to feel like part of a community while working out. But as well as jointly enduring the pain of holding a plank, it seems gym class-dwellers also share something else: bacteria.
New research carried out by EllipticalReviews.com has revealed there are two classes in particular which were found to be more unhygienic than a toilet, everyone can agree this information is fairly off-putting.
Researchers took three swabs from the equipment in each of the four different classes (spin, barre, weight-based workouts and hot yoga) and measured the volume of microbes found in ‘colony-forming units’ (CFU).
Each class’ CFU was determined by calculating the average number across the three swabs. Then, they compared the number of CFU with those found on the average toilet seat. Brace yourselves, it’s not pretty.
The study revealed that weight-based classes had by far the most germ-heavy equipment of all the classes, with 153,410 CFU detected on the barbell compared to a toilet seat’s 3,200.
That’s a disgusting 48 times more bacteria than you’d find on the loo.
In second place in the grim stakes came hot yoga, with the mats tested in this experiment having been found to harbour 25,533 CFU.
That’s eight times dirtier than a toilet seat, in case you don’t have a calculator to hand.
Barre and spin, on the other hand, came out smelling of roses. Very clean roses.
The resistance knob on the spin bikes they tested were found to be 240 times cleaner than a toilet, while the wooden bar from a barre class was revealed to be 320 times more hygienic.
Obviously these tests were only carried out in one set of classes in one place, so you can’t 100% assume you’d see the same results at every class worldwide.
But it does give you an indication of where germs are more likely to lurk in the gym so you know when to load on the anti-bac.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.
Want to avoid the germs altogether? Try these at-home swiss ball exercises or do a HIIT workout at home.