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Several gyms in the United Kingdom are moving to prohibit members from filming their exercise routines, citing concern among other members about privacy and the filming tools that have the potential to obstruct access to certain equipment.
The practice of filming certain exercise routines and workouts has become a growing sensation in the age of technology, with influencers, fitness instructors and others sharing clips and photos of themselves on social media.
Erin Blakely, a fitness trainer in central England who has vast experience working in commercial gyms, told The Guardian that several of the gym chains she works with now “have a policy against bringing camera equipment into the workout area.”
“Safety is an obvious concern; equipment on the floor can be hazardous. Beyond that, the distraction factor is significant. There’s a tendency to concentrate more on getting the ideal footage than on the workout, which defeats the whole purpose of being in a fitness studio,” Blakely added.
PureGym, a U.K.-based chain with more than 340 gyms across the country, is one company that has moved to prohibit the use of all cameras.
“It is important to respect one another’s privacy, which is why our gym rules clearly state that people should not take photographs or videos on the premises unless they have permission,” a PureGym spokesperson told the outlet. “We also ask people to not post remarks or imagery to the internet, including social media platforms, that may identify another person.”
Virgin Active, a fitness company with more than 30 gyms across the U.K., has moved to implement a policy that asks members to delete any images of which other members may not feel comfortable, according to the outlet.
Fitness First, another U.K.-based gym company, is also reportedly requiring members to ask for consent from others who may be filmed or captured in the photos they take.
The growing requirements outlined by the gyms come after a number of incidents in recent years that made some members uncomfortable. Some individuals who have been filmed working out have also been the subject of social media posts that poked fun at them.
“In an environment like a gym, where people are focused on their own bodies and personal growth, being unknowingly filmed can feel particularly invasive,” Blakely said. “Unfortunately, with the urgency to capture ‘the moment,’ many forget the importance of asking for permission.”
But not everyone shares Blakely’s point of view. Exercise trainer Dave Readle told the outlet that the filming of workouts can help him financially.
“The best chance of advertising is filming it and putting it on social media,” he said. “We have a lot of issues with gyms who won’t allow filming.”