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What NOT to Wear at the Gym

By Jean Suffin

In October, our lovely and talented Mia authored a two-part series on “pet peeves” at the gym (click here to read Part One; click here for Part Two). Mia, being younger and less curmudgeonly than I, was extremely nice. I submitted my rants to her, which she chose not to include, probably because, admittedly, I’m a particularly cranky gym-member. But seriously folks, let’s talk about what we really can’t stand to see at the gym. Let’s talk about “What Not to Wear.”

I frequently see a woman at my gym working out in her running clothes that she might wear were it 90 degrees outside. You’ve seen running shorts. They’re very short and loose, to keep us cool when we’re running. They’re not meant for the gym, where we twist and turn in precarious positions. Aforementioned woman has a very interesting workout routine during which she vigorously flies her spread-eagled legs in the air—in her short shorts that don’t cover anything. It makes me want to cut my workout short and LEAVE the gym. Same is true for the man wearing his running shorts while doing leg presses. I happened to have been directly across from him on the squat rack the other day, and it was not pretty. Other members notice, too—I know it’s not just me—and I just don’t think this promotes membership retention.

I think people forget when they roll out of bed in the morning and show up for their workouts that they’re going out in public. I mean, presumably most people in the gym care what they look like or they wouldn’t be there in the first place, so why—oh why?—do they forget to look decent while they work out?

There are a number of brands devoted strictly to making us look good when we’re working out. They design clothes that cover us up while wicking away odorous moisture. They cover, and yes, even enhance, our butts. They support and shape us. Designers spend a lot of time and energy trying to make us look good while we work out. It is their raison d’etre and yet too many of us don’t take advantage of them. Granted, many of these brands can be costly, but if they are sapping your budget, check out discount stores.

Here’s my top-5 list of what NOT to wear at the gym:

  • Short shorts

  • Spandex

  • Threadbare tights—they don’t hide anything

  • Little, itty-bitty sports bras

  • On men, sleeveless “wife beater” T-shirts

Mostly, just remember that the gym is a public place where other people congregate. And like it or not, they’re looking at you.

Next rant: Smelling clean at the gym. It’s not hard to use deodorant.

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