The number one priority for most guys in the gym is working hard (and it should be). Unfortunately, this usually results in style taking a back seat. In fact, for many guys what they wear in the gym is of little importance.
This needs to change.
The following is a list of 10 commandments that every guy should follow if they want to look good while they are breaking sweat.
1. Thou shalt not wear any clothing with obvious rips, tears, or holes.
Years ago I was notorious for wearing old, ratty clothing to the gym. I didn’t care if my clothing had rips or tears in it. After all, I was at there to train hard, not look pretty.
I have since learned the error of my ways.
I understand that the main reason you’re in the gym is to train but that shouldn’t be an excuse to look like you’re homeless. Wear clothing that is intact and put the same kind of consideration into how you present yourself in the gym to how you would present yourself anywhere else.
2. Thou shalt invest in compression gear.
Most of you know first-hand that warming up (and staying warm) in the winter time is a bit of a pain in the ass, regardless if you are training outside or inside.
Fortunately, compression clothing can help you with that problem.
Compression gear is basically items of clothing (e.g. shorts, shirts, sleeves etc.) that can improve performance and recovery by increasing blood and lymphatic flow to various parts of the body.
In fact, you’ll find that a lot of athletes wear compression clothing these days.
Personally, I’ve got a pair of Under Armour (no affiliation) compression shorts that I wear in the winter time when I’m running outside. I’ve also got a long sleeve compression shirt that I found great to wear when I was training for kickboxing.
I highly recommend looking into some compression gear if you are looking for an easy way to boost performance and comfort in the gym.
3. Thou shalt not wear cotton.
I know what you’re thinking, “What the hell is wrong with cotton? I wear cotton all the time!”
While there’s nothing wrong with cotton per se, it’s just that it’s not the greatest material in the gym, especially when you have so much awesome dri fit gear available these days.
My experience with 100% cotton shirts is that they hold on to sweat. This is likely due to the weave of traditional cotton fabrics than the material itself.
Fortunately, companies have figured out a solution to this problem and now produce a whole line of products that can actually wick away sweat and keep you dry (dri fit, clima-cool, performa etc.). Most of these products are made from polyester that is weaved in a special way to making it breathable and moisture wicking. I highly recommend you avail yourself of this technology.
4. Thou shalt wash thy training gear regularly.
This pretty much goes without saying but wash your training gear regularly. It is incredible how many guys either forget or just don’t care. Consider it a common courtesy to others and a part of proper gym etiquette. Seriously, nobody wants to smell your funk in the middle of their work set.
5. Thou shalt wear appropriate training shoes.
You know those ratty, old pair of sneakers you wear when mowing the lawn or doing yard work?
The ones with the grass stains on them?
Yeah, don’t ever wear those to the gym.
Instead, invest in proper training shoes. For example, my favourite training shoes right now are the New Balance Minimus cross trainers:
These shoes are perfect for not only doing things like squats and deadlifts in the gym but they are also perfect for running hill sprints outside.
I know that some guys are huge on converse sneakers (Chuck Taylor’s) for deadlifting and squatting. These can also be a great option.
However, if you’re really serious about wearing the right kind of footwear in the gym, then I recommend looking into some kind of Olympic lifting shoe such as the Nike Romaleos:
While you won’t be running hill sprints in these things, they are the perfect shoe for squatting or doing Olympic lifts. You won’t be disappointed.
6. Thou shalt dress with colour.
Just because you’re in the gym doesn’t mean that you have to play it safe with colour. I understand the affinity for black clothing in the gym but don’t be afraid to branch out, especially with the power colours.
You have a lot more leeway for coloured clothing in the gym so be sure to take advantage of it.
7. Thou shalt not wear thy basketball shorts (unless playing basketball).
This is a personal pet peeve of mine. If you’re in the gym (re: not basketball court) then wear shorts that you can actually move around (re: squat) in. Basketball shorts just don’t cut it.
Instead, I recommend a pair of quality running shorts (or any pair of shorts that hit you above the knees). Not only will they be more comfortable to move around in when doing things like squats, lunges, deadlifts etc. but they will also give you an opportunity to show off a little bit of your quad development (and that’s never a bad thing).
8. Thou shalt not wear tube socks or tennis socks.
Instead, opt for a pair of “no show” or ankle socks. They are infinitely more stylish and many companies are now making them specifically for athletes with moisture wicking capabilities.
Baggy gym clothing was all the rage in the 90’s.
Well, that’s not the case anymore. Guys have traded in their Hammer pants for a pair of sleek joggers and exchanged their oversized t-shirts for form fitting compression tops. It’s about time to for you to get with the program.
Even if you are not carrying as much muscle as you like, or if you’ve got a few (or a dozen) extra pounds to lose, avoid baggy clothing in the gym for all the same reasons you would avoid it at any other time. It’s just not flattering, period. Wear clothing that fits!
10. Thou shalt carry a gym bag.
Style isn’t just about what you wear. What you carry is also important too.
But whether you go with a backpack or duffel bag doesn’t really matter. Just look for something that can carry all of your gear and isn’t emblazoned with a bunch of obnoxious logos or designs. My favourite affordable duffel bag right now is from the Herschel company (no affiliate):
They make simple, stylish bags that you can use for the gym, work, or travel.
Just because you’re in the gym doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t care about your appearance. While hard work should always be your number one priority in the weight room, it’s also important that you consider what you are wearing, both from a performance standpoint and an aesthetic sense.
These days we are fortunate enough to have an abundance of highly stylish and functional gym apparel readily available. Combine that with these commandments and you’ve got yourself guideline that will no doubt take your gym style to a whole new level.
Here’s to staying fit and looking sharp!