The average gym user may not realise it, but keeping a gym operating smoothly is an ongoing process with numerous essential procedures.
One of the most important responsibilities for the committee and/or caretaker of a strata property with an on-site gym is the maintenance of the equipment. Keeping the workout equipment safe and working well is like a chef keeping their knives sharp or soldiers keeping their weapons clean; and according to Sport Australia, a little preventative maintenance can keep the facility a safe and productive environment for all occupants.
Why? Well residents and guests want to have gym equipment that not only performs well but is also safe.
To make the best use of the facility one must keep all of the equipment up to date and working. Anyone going to the gym will be using the equipment whether it be dumbbells, cardio or strength machines so it is important that when they get there with a plan in mind, they are able to carry out their workout with no issues.
‘Out-of-order’ machines are a major inconvenience, and frustration for everyone involved so it’s important to invest in superior, low maintenance fitness equipment and to take care of that investment with regular maintenance and upkeep.
The three key parts to keeping the gym in optimal order are:
- Selecting the right equipment initially;
- Following a set maintenance routine and;
- Keeping the warranties and service agreements up to date.
Prevent Problems Before They Happen
Preventative maintenance is not only smart, it can help save time, money and aggravation later. Just as getting a car’s oil changed at the recommended intervals helps protect the engine and prevent costly repairs, staying on top of regular maintenance of fitness equipment can also help avoid breakdowns that can be annoying and expensive.
Preventative maintenance can make a tremendous difference in maximizing the life of the training equipment, easily adding four or five years to a machine, sometimes more.
Develop a habit of regularly inspecting all gym equipment on a regular basis and keep a record of all inspections. You should also remove or make clear that any broke, faulty or damaged equipment is out of use.
Exactly when and how one maintains the fitness equipment will depend upon the specific pieces involves. Be sure to read the user’s manual or manufacture’s handbook carefully, as these materials will often include guidelines on how to properly maintain the equipment.
Free weights are the easiest to maintain since they don’t have pulleys, motors or other complicated parts. Mainly you will just want to keep them clean and watch for any signs of wear or breakage that might cause injury.
Check fixed barbells and dumbbells to make sure the weights are securely attached. Dirt, dead skin, rust and lifting chalk can collect in a barbell’s knurling. A wire brush should be used weekly to scrape them clean. Oil the bearings every month so the sleeves can spin freely. Immediately fix or replace any equipment that presents a safety hazard.
With machinery, it’s a bit more complicated as there are many more parts to maintain and monitor. One also needs to be alert for any signs of loos or wearing wires, ropes or other items that could break or dislodge. When carrying out visual cable or belt checks, extra care should be taken to make sure your hands, fingers and other body parts are kept clear of any moving parts at all times.
Switch off any power at the mains before cleaning and unplug each unit from the wall socket.
Resistance machines have moving parts that must be lubricated on a monthly basis at least.
Lubricating machinery using a product approved or recommended by the manufacturer can help cut down on wear and tear, as well as prevent damage caused by friction.
For resistance equipment, spray silicone into a clean rag and apply it to the weight tracks. Spray the silicone into the bearings and move them to ensure they can move freely. Most cardiovascular machines such as treadmills are self-lubricating. Check the oil reservoirs and fill them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
General Cleaning of Gym Equipment
Don’t underestimate the importance of cleaning the fitness equipment. This is vitally important for health and hygiene reasons and can prevent the spread of communicable illnesses through viruses and bacteria. Regular cleaning can also help prevent dirt, sweat and other materials from building up on your equipment, possibly wearing down the surfaces or contributing to friction and wear.
Correct cleaning will also help prevent corrosion to painted surfaces, the deterioration of fabrics and discolouration of cosmetic and protective covers.
The most frequent maintenance task is to wipe down all mats, seats, benches, cardio consoles and pads. This task should be performed multiple times per day with a clean rag and water-based disinfectant. To prevent too much disinfectant from being sprayed into the air, spray directly into the rag before wiping down the pad.
Post signs throughout the gym requesting members wipe the equipment after use. Consider providing paper towel dispensers throughout the facility.
It’s important to be very careful when moving or maintaining fitness equipment. Losing or breaking any part from a piece of fitness equipment can render that equipment unusable until that part is fixed or replaced.
It’s also wise to use caution when moving or maintaining equipment because, obviously, this equipment tends to be heavy and potentially hazardous. To avoid injury, it may be a good idea to recruit one or more helpers if you need to lift or move heavy machinery or weights.
Ultimately, adequately maintaining the fitness equipment installed on common property will prove to be more cost-effective then spending time and money on replacing and repairing fitness machines.