Yesterday, my Blisstree associate, Hanna, wrote a gym rant about women who don’t wear enough workout-appropriate clothing to the gym. She expressed her disdain and frustration about women who show too much skin and don’t cover up while on the treadmill or in the weight room, thus turning a workout scene into more of adult film scene at times. I see her point, but would like to provide a counter-argument here in support of wearing less–not more–clothing (and, by the way, it’s perfectly cool that we have friendly debates here at Blisstree to keep things interesting and offer different perspectives).
Hanna started out her piece by saying:
Women in the workout space, I applaud the fact that you are proud of your bodies. And, apparently, your booties, which you are making damn sure we all get a good look at. But the fact is, we don’t need to see all of your assets when you hit the gym. This is the weight room. It is not your pole-dancing-just-for-funsies class, nor is it a photo shoot for a gentleman’s magazine. Please wear real, butt-covering, breast-supporting clothing to the gym.
She then closed her rant by stating:
Put on a t-shirt and some yoga pants like the rest of us. We promise you’ll still be sexy.
Let me first say that I agree that women should wear workout-appropriate attire (hell, we should wear appropriate attire all the time and stop showing so much skin, if you ask Tim Gunn). I love my body and respect it for what it can do and the enormous power, strength and potential it has. I work hard to maintain my physique, not for other people to gawk at, but for my own health and performance in athletics. And when I work out, I wear as little as possible.
On my bike ride this morning, I wore a tight-fitting jersey with a zipper front that I had only half-way zipped. Then when I got back and changed to go for a run, I pulled on some short shorts, a sports bra and nothing else (I have no issues running down the main street of town half naked). And tonight when I go to yoga, I will wear my usual tight black shorts and a tank top. Why do I do all of this? To show off my body? Definitely not. I do it because it’s comfortable and it allows me to move and really work. Plus, given the fact that it’s 90 degrees still here in Florida, it’s the only way I can survive. Although, even if it weren’t hot, I would never wear yoga pants and a t-shirt to workout because it would make me feel frumpy, and I like to feel tight and together when I run, bike, lift weights or do yoga. Plus, I need to be able to see my body and how it moves (and there’s no denying that a well-placed mirror can incent you to work harder).
Likewise, I have no issues with other women wearing what they want to wear to the gym or on the road. That’s probably because I’m usually so busy focusing on my own workout that I rarely look around to notice what other people are doing or wearing. I can totally see Hanna’s point though about how some women use the gym for the wrong reasons and wear revealing, inappropriate, non-supportive clothing just to garner some undeserved attention. That is probably not cool (and can hardly be comfortable to exercise with all your lady parts bouncing around).
For me, the bottom line is: Dress so that you are comfortable and can have a good, kick-ass workout, and forget about trying to impress others with skimpy attire if that’s the only reason you’re wearing it.