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Study Reveals There's More Bacteria On Barbell Than A Toilet Seat

Ronan O'Shea

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Study Reveals There's More Bacteria On Barbell Than A Toilet Seat

If you've ever been to a gym, you'll be familiar with the ghastly sight of a moist bench after some selfish fellow fitness enthusiast gets up without towelling down the equipment, leaving an awful puddle of human-ooze for you to enjoy.

It's the gym-goers equivalent of not saying bless you when someone sneezes - not criminal, but just not right either.

A new study by Elliptical Reviews, a site which provides independent reviews of gym equipment, has found a surprising amount of bacteria on different types of equipment.

The website attended three classes for several different types of workout to assess the bacteria that could be found in each one, swabbing equipment from barre, CrossFit, spin and hot yoga sessions. Some of their results were rather surprising. And not very nice.

The team measured the CFU of each swab, otherwise known as colony-forming units, a measure of the volume of microbes in a sample.

Credit: Pixabay
Credit: Pixabay

It found that a swab from a CrossFit class contained 153,410 CU, Hot Yoga 25,533, Cycling 13.3 and Barre 10.

Respectively, they analysed swabs from a barbell, rental mat, resistance knob and wooden bar.

To put that into some context, that made CrossFit equipment forty-eight times dirtier than a toilet seat, Hot Yoga mats eight times. Barre and cycling equipment, conversely, were 320 and 240 times cleaner.

It should be noted that the types of bacteria found included a high percentage of bacillus, a type of bacteria which can both harm and help humans. It is used in some medicines and antibiotics.

It should also be noted that the bacteria on a toilet seat is highly likely to be bad for you given that it covers a receptacle designed specifically for the removal of human waste.

I know some of you will feel like you're finally free to start licking your toilet bowl as you'd always dreamed, but this is most certainly not a good idea. Don't do it. Trust me.


Though the research discovered a high level of bacillus, it also found evidence of gram-positive cocci, which can cause skin infections and pneumonia, and gram-negative rods, which are usually harmful and can be highly resistant to antibiotics.

Despite its generally positive outcome, the wooden barre swab's microbe volume was one hundred percent comprised of gram-negative rods.

The website recommended that gym goers clean gym equipment before exercising by wiping it down instead of assuming Sweaty McBetty has done so before you, and also recommended wiping it down after use; though that was less to do with your own health and more to do with not being a dick.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Topics: Science, Fitness, Health

Ronan O'Shea
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