People often ask me what to wear to the gym, very good question and alot of people stress out WAY too much about this. Yes, its great to look good but if that gets in the way of fitness then DITCH IT! Function first!
Lets cover the superficial first, this fashion advice for men I call “Scoobys Rule”. Of course, despite the sterotype that I should be very good at fashion, I am severely fashion impaired … or maybe its just that I just dont give a **it. For me it always comes back to comfort and functionality. Anyway, here is Scooby’s rule of gym fashion for men:
One tight and one loose or two loose but not two tights
If you wear tight biking shorts then wear a loose tank top or t-shirt. If you wear a compression top to show of your amazing abs then wear loose fitting shorts. Overdoing the baggy is fine, just dont overdo the skin tight stuff or you look like a douchebag. Wearing biking shorts and a compression tank top might show off your amazing physique but unless you are doing a photoshoot, its best avoided because few can pull it off.
So lets talk below the waist. Levis are frowned upon as are all street clothes. I admit that in emergencies I have trained in street clothes but typically its been when I am traveling and find out the gym I have chosen closes in 25 minutes leaving zero minutes to change. So gym attire but shorts or long sweats? Choice is yours. Just remember that sweating does not make you lose weight, it just dehydrates you and makes you weak. Dont wear sweats if you think it will help you lose weight. If you are hot and sweaty there is now way you can lift at 100% efficiency. Best choice in my opinion is some cheap baggy shorts that come with a liner. If its just shorts without a liner then you have to wear underwear or a jock, no, you MUST wear underwear or a jock. I dont want to see you hanging out and displaying your wares, nobody does. It wont get you dates and it just grosses people out. A pair of shorts with a liner means that you only have to wash one thing instead of two, thats my choice. If part of your workout is riding the stationary bike for long periods of time, consider wearing a good quality biking short … and a loose fitting top.
Now lets talk above the waist. Please, please, please do not wear one of those nasty string tank tops that only cover a small patch over your belly button and a small patch on your back. There are only about 100 people on the planet these look good on and I am not one of them and neither are you. In that same vain, please do not wear those tank tops that are expose your side all the way to your waist band. If you want to are tempted to wear either of these, please just take your shirt completely off like I do 🙂 So, loose fitting cotton t-shirts are awesome for workout out … as long as they dont make you too hot. For me t-shirts are WAY too hot becuase I sweat like a pig when exercising. That leaves tank tops. Normal tank tops are fine. Lycra tank tops are fine. Compression tops are fine. Just remember that if the shirt is skin tight to wear loose pants. Remember again, comfort is the primary directive. Sweat shirts? NO! Not unless you live in Antarctica! Being hot and sweaty ready to pass out is NOT good for your workout and you cant do cardio with any degree of effort in a sweatshirt without passing out. NO SWEATSHIRTS!
IMO people pay WAY too much for fancy shoes. Special “lifting shoes” are just a waste of money in my opinion. What are shoes for? Think about it! They are to keep you from getting things stuck in your feet like splinters and nails. They are to keep from getting hurt when you drop things on them. They are to provide support when needed. As a “big dog” with skin problems though I can tell you that lack of ventilation can be just as evil for the feet as any of the above hazards. Unlike many people I sweat profusely from both my feet and my head (hence the hats). The best protection from dropping 45 pound plates is my steel toed Red Wings which I LOVE (I have two pair). Trouble is, even though they are leather, the sweat just cant escape fast enough and they cause skin problems for me unless I am very diligent about powdering them and airing them out constantly. Anyway, a normal tennis shoe is fine for most. Those toed shoes do not offer sufficient protection from dropping objects but if you are not worried about that, use them. I personally train barefoot at home or in sandals if I am training at a gym. Boots are fine at a gym too and I have worn those but people look at you funny. Really, just wear what is comfortable and will minimize injury for you.
In my opinion, grey tops always make you look good in a gym so you cant go wrong with grey. As I mention, I am quite fashion impaired so my color advice is only for the color impaired like myself. If you are a fashion pro then what the heck are you doing reading this page??? Rule number 1:
2 colors and only two colors
If you dont know what you are doing with colors, like me, then stick to two colors. Not one, one is bad. All brown and you look like a potato, all blue and you look like a blueberry, all yellow and you will get the nickname “banana-boy”. No, you need two colors but not more than two. The clashing technicolor effect hurts everyones eyes and makes those with hangovers throw up so dont be tempted to throw in lots of bright colors. Unless you are a pro at color matching, make sure one of the two colors is grey or black – anything goes with grey or black then the second color can be anything you want so chose your favorite color, bright red, bright blue, or whatever. Basic white black or grey shoes are awesome, stick with those – the fad today is those obnoxiously technicolor glow in the dark shoes – please help send that ugly fad to the fashion graveyard!
PS: The following are not acceptable gym fashion accessories:
- a gallon jug of water you never drink
- a gym bag you drag around everywhere with you for people to trip over
- stocking caps
- small yapping dogs
- a lifting belt you keep on the entire workout
- an entourage