Fitness influencers who regularly record their workouts in gyms and share the content with their followers are facing pushback from fitness centers as some establishments are now prohibiting the use of filming equipment. Concerns about privacy and overcrowding have prompted this move, as reported by The Observer.
The Observer reached out to representatives from several prominent gym chains in the UK who expressed apprehensions about the usage of recording equipment. They cited concerns about privacy, bullying, and instances where individuals were filmed without their consent. Erin Blakely, a fitness instructor with experience in large gym businesses, pointed out that filming can be a significant distraction on the gym floor, with some individuals prioritizing the quality of footage over their actual workout, thereby defeating the purpose of being in a fitness studio.
In response to these concerns, some gyms in the UK are implementing measures to address the issue. One London-based gym, for instance, has banned the use of tripods during the weekends, while Virgin Active has introduced a rule allowing people to request that recorded videos and images be deleted. Fitness First, on the other hand, has mandated that anyone appearing in footage must provide their consent beforehand.
A spokesperson for PureGym, a fitness chain with a presence across Europe, emphasized that their gym rules explicitly prohibit the taking of photographs or videos on the premises without proper permission. They also discourage sharing any content on the internet, including social media, that may identify other individuals.
The debate surrounding gym etiquette is a global concern, with discussions on filming others’ workouts gaining particular attention. In the US, a man was banned from a Crunch Fitness gym in 2021 after being accused of secretly filming a woman during her lunges. Additionally, a fitness influencer issued an apology earlier this year for sharing a video of a man in her gym whom she accused of objectifying her.
Joey Swoll, a TikToker, has made it his mission to raise awareness about inappropriate behavior in gyms. Swoll shares videos in which women have felt threatened or uncomfortable due to the actions of men nearby, such as unwelcome staring or interruptions during their workouts to ask them out. However, he also addresses situations where criticism of fellow gym-goers may be unjustified.
While many gym attendees understand the need for new rules to protect privacy and ensure safety, they acknowledge that influencers often rely on filming their workouts for content. Personal trainer James Dixon suggested that having designated areas for filming could be a balanced solution, allowing those who wish to avoid cameras to do so while still accommodating content creators.