Buying equipment for your fitness studio is often a big investment. Depending on the type of workout you’re offering to your clients, the price tag can range from a few grand for some free weights and mats, to a much bigger spend if your workout involves machines like bikes and treadmills.
Of course, you make it a point to keep everything in your studio clean. But certain gym equipment requires a little more T.L.C. than just a daily wipe down. What should you be doing daily, weekly and monthly in order to keep everything running in good working order? Here are a few tips for maintaining the equipment at your studio.
Tips for treadmills
Keeping your gym equipment clean goes beyond sanitary and aesthetic benefits. According to Dan Thompson of Huff-n-Puff Fitness Repair, keeping machines free of dust and grime actually helps improve overall functionality as well. “Vacuum around [treadmill] machines daily, and inside the machine monthly,” he says. “The fan attached to the motor is constantly circulating air within the motor compartment. Once the dust enters the motor compartment it is difficult for it to escape. Keeping the area around the machine clean will greatly reduce the amount that then needs to be vacuumed out from within. Placing treadmills on a mat will help limit this as well.”
Also, be sure to check that your treadmills are properly lubricated, and apply more as needed. “Run your finger on the deck surface underneath the walking belt,” says Thompson. “You should feel a little lube under there. If not, it is time to apply it.” To do this, Thompson recommends consulting your owner’s manual, as all treadmills are a bit different. When applying lube, be careful not to overdo it. “Over lubrication can result in lube spray once the belt is oversaturated,” Thompson explains. “The excess lube will enter the motor compartment as well as spray out onto the floor. A hard surface is not a big deal, on a carpet it may stain.”
Ellipticals and bikes
There are a lot of mechanics that help keep ellipticals and bikes functioning properly. So it’s not surprising that the care behind keeping these machines up and running can get a bit tricky. Both machines should be set to the highest resistance before turning them off for the night. If your machines use an “eddy brake” resistance system, they’ll do this automatically. “Machines with these systems are programmed to automatically raise resistance to the highest level when they go into ‘sleep’ mode,” Thompson explains. “However if a user turns the machine off prior to it being able to go to sleep, it will cause premature wear of the interior brake chamber cables.” So it’s best to make sure that each machine shut down properly before heading home for the night. You’ll also want to make sure you’re restoring tension regularly. “Tension pedals and crankarms monthly,” says Thompson. “Once these loosen up, if they continue to be used they will round out and need to be replaced.”
As far as other maintenance goes, cleanliness is key here as well — but requires less frequency than a treadmill. “Clean the interior about once every six months to a year,” Thompson says. “Without a cooling fan circulating air within these machines (like a treadmill) they are mostly enclosed. Clean off rollers and tracks monthly. Debris that has built up on rollers will cause rough and bumpy motion with every rotation that is not as smooth as it should be.”
Strength training equipment
In addition to keeping them clean, doing a regular check up on the inner workings of your strength training systems will help keep them in good working order. “Check cables and pulleys for wear,” says Thompson, “and replace any that are worn. Check all frame hardware, keeping it tensioned correctly to maintain the machine’s stability and keep everything aligned.” You’ll also want to add in some light lubrication to keep the machine functioning properly. “Keep guide rods lightly lubricated,” says Thompson. “This will result in a smoother motion as well as a moisture barrier.” Free weights should be wiped down regularly also. Additionally, check to make sure that nothing has come loose on heavier weights.
We can’t stress this enough — cleanliness is key to the longevity of your gym equipment. Whether you’re wiping down gym mats or keeping grime off bosu balls, the more diligent you are about giving everything a good wipe down, the better off your equipment will be. “You don’t need to go crazy, but the whole idea of working out is to sweat — which should be wiped off,” says “Thompson. “Sweat will cause premature rusting to metal components and if left to dry on its own, will collect dust.” When wiping down mats, be sure to let them dry completely before storing them, to prevent molding.