While keeping track of maintenance for your large equipment items like treadmills, ellipticals, rowers and more is one of your top priorities as a business owner, it’s important not to overlook the smaller items as well, such as hand weights and towels. The cleanliness and modern feel of your gym makes an impression on clients, though it can be a challenge to budget for the smaller accessories at your gym without knowing how often they’re going to need to be replaced. Here are some tips for making sure they last as long possible — and for gauging when it’s time to throw in the towel (literally).

Individual Weights

There are a couple signs to indicate when it’s time to go shopping for individual weights, such as hand weights or kettlebells. Although it might not impact quality, if your dumbbells have chips or cracks, this won’t make a great impression on clients. Eric Harker, manager of Fountain Valley Bodyworks, says to also look out for a change in color on rubber-coated free weights. As soon as they start to get a chalky, white coating on them, they’re ready to be replaced.

Depending on the size of your gym, this could mean re-stocking quite a lot of equipment. Cece Krause, a manager at Big 5 Sporting Goods in Monroe, Washington, says a lot of people tend to go for big brand names, but keep in mind that reputation doesn’t necessarily equate to durability. Even if you’re using your weights in classes constantly, the moderately-priced brands which are less known tend to hold up as well as the most expensive ones.

Krause recommends stocking up with a company that offers a one-year warrantee. [ClassPass Partners: Visit our ProPerks portal to learn more about exclusive offers on equipment and other studio/gym necessities.] And it may seem obvious, but basic care like asking your clients to place the weights gently on the ground rather than dropping them can make a big difference in how long they last. If you do this, they should keep for at least a few years.

Yoga Mats

When it comes to yoga mats, the thicker the mat, the less likely it is to tear. If durability is first on your priority list, check out mats made of PVC, a plastic-based material that may not be particularly eco-friendly or offer as much grip as other mat options but can last as long as a decade when taken care of properly.

To care for your mats, Gabrielle DeFusco, a continuing education provider for yoga teachers, recommends taking them outside, soaping them up with a mild detergent and sponge, hosing them down, and then allowing them to air dry. In between these thorough washes, encourage your clients to spray down their mats after every use with a solution that’s equal parts water and white vinegar, or water with a couple drops of tea tree oil. Signs that your mats are ready to be replaced include a loss of grip, subtle fraying, and unevenness.


Towels are one of those items you can try to save on, but in the long run will mean you’ll be replacing them often. It’s worthwhile to splurge on towels that are a nicer microfiber rather than buying cotton ones in bulk.

The number one indicator that your towels are ready to be thrown out is if they’re not wicking away sweat as fast as they used to. One way to slow down this process is to minimize the amount of fabric softener you use when washing your towels. It’s also always good to have extras that have never been used so you don’t have to wait for a new shipment when they’re ready to be replaced.

Exercise Balls

Most manufacturers of exercise balls will have information on how long they anticipate their products will last. The life span of these items tends to be one to two years. However, as in all exercise equipment, it really depends on how often you use them. It’s important to maintain the proper air pressure depending on the workout, but deflating and inflating the balls frequently can shorten how long they last. Get into a routine of checking how they’re holding up every six months or so.

Harker notes to make sure you’re buying the correct balls for the type of exercise you’re doing. He says it’s amazing how common it is for people to buy slam balls and use them for the wall or vice versa. Almost all exercise balls, for example, have a seam except slam balls. If you’re getting too rough with a ball that was designed for stretching, it could pop regardless of how well you take care of it.

ClassPass Partners: Visit our ProPerks portal to learn more about exclusive offers on equipment and other studio/gym necessities.