Fitness + Well-being

published : 2023-11-11

UK Gyms Ban Selfies in Blow to Influencers: 'Distraction Factor is Significant'

'Being Unknowingly Filmed Can Feel Particularly Invasive,' Says Fitness Trainer

A photo of a fitness trainer demonstrating proper weightlifting technique at a UK gym, taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

Several gyms in the United Kingdom are implementing a new policy that prohibits members from filming their exercise routines. The move comes as concerns about privacy and the potential obstruction of equipment access have been raised by other members.

In the age of technology, the practice of filming exercise routines has become a growing sensation. Influencers, fitness instructors, and others have been sharing clips and photos of themselves on social media platforms.

Erin Blakely, a fitness trainer in central England with extensive experience working in commercial gyms, has revealed that many of the gym chains she works with now have a strict policy against bringing camera equipment into the workout area.

Blakely explained that safety is a major concern, as equipment on the gym floor can be hazardous. Moreover, the distraction caused by filming becomes significant. Many tend to focus more on getting the ideal footage rather than concentrating on the workout itself, which defeats the purpose of being in a fitness studio.

An influencer capturing a dynamic leg press exercise at a fitness studio, taken with a Nikon D850.

PureGym, a well-known UK-based chain with over 340 gyms nationwide, has completely banned the use of cameras. A spokesperson for PureGym emphasized the importance of respecting each other's privacy and highlighted that photographs or videos should not be taken on their premises without permission. They also emphasized that any online posts, including on social media platforms, should not identify another person.

Virgin Active, another fitness company with over 30 gyms in the UK, has implemented a policy that asks members to delete any images that might make other members uncomfortable.

Fitness First, a popular gym company in the UK, is reported to have made it mandatory for members to seek consent from others who may be filmed or captured in photos.

These new requirements from gyms come after several incidents in recent years that made some members feel uncomfortable. In addition, some individuals who have been filmed working out have become the subject of ridicule on social media.

A group of gym members respecting each other's privacy and focusing on their workouts, taken with a Sony Alpha a7 III.

Despite these concerns, not everyone shares the same viewpoint. Exercise trainer Dave Readle believes that filming workouts can be beneficial for financial reasons. He argues that filming and sharing exercise footage on social media provides an excellent advertising opportunity. However, many gyms still have restrictions on filming.

Overall, being unknowingly filmed in a gym environment can feel invasive, especially when people are focused on their own bodies and personal growth. The urgency to capture the perfect moment often overrides the importance of asking for permission.

The new policies implemented by UK gyms aim to maintain privacy, safety, and a distraction-free environment for all members.