Is This A Gym … Or Glamour Shots?

I heard an interesting conversation on the radio as I was driving to work the other day, and after seeing my favorite real-life example of it again today, I was reminded that I wanted to address the topic of discussion on the ol’ blog.

Apparently, there was a study conducted that found that women who go to the gym “made up” are less likely to have a good workout than those who, frankly, don’t really give a crap what they look like. I’m not sure how they went about collecting their data, but I can tell you, as a girl who has a class or two full of people staring at my sweat-covered, make-up free face on the weekends – and only wears make-up to the gym during the week because it’s still on my face after spending all day in a professional work environment – this study was a waste of time. As is taking the time to look good at the gym.

Here’s the thing: I do care about the clothes that I work out in, but it’s not necessarily from a fashion standpoint as much as it is a function and comfort standpoint. I wear cute little knee-length spandex and fitted tanktops because they aren’t going to get caught in a machine or I’m not going to have to tug at them my entire workout, not because I want people looking at me. Quite honestly, I assume if anyone is looking at me, it’s for one of two reasons: either they think I’m disgusting, because I’m usually dripping in sweat, or they are impressed by my badassness (I’m pretty sure it’s #1, but I’d like to think it’s #2). And if I catch them … unless I know them, they probably get a “what are you looking at?” look.

But the reason I wanted to bring up this topic is not just because I thought the study was (not) interesting – it was actually because I saw my #1 offender tonight. I happened upon the woman I … uh … lovingly? refer to as “makeup lady” – occasionally “the hot mess” – this evening (side note: I ran into my friend R.J. a few weeks back, and he pointed her out, saying that she looked like the skeleton from “Nightmare Before Christmas.” Sadly, this was a frighteningly accurate description). I’ve actually seen this woman caking on MORE make-up before she goes to hit the gym floor. The thing I fail to understand is what she’s trying to hide. She has a nice body. She isn’t a young woman, but she’s probably in her 40s – young enough to not have too much that needs covered up (heck, my mom is in her mid-50s and I think she still looks pretty good with little make-up. I can only pray that I look as young as she does when I’m her age). And I almost feel bad for her knowing that if she is, in fact, attracting attention, it’s certainly not the kind I’m sure she hopes to receive.

Don’t get me wrong … I want to look cute as much as the next girl. But the gym is not necessarily the place to make such an effort. After spending all these years in a gym, more often than not going straight from work to workout, I still laugh every time I run into a friend on my way into the gym, still sporting my work clothes. The reaction is always the same: “Wow, you look really nice today.” As is my response, “Well, you know, I don’t think they’d look too kindly upon my showing up to work in sweatpants…” I guess I just feel like, as with anything else in life, there is a time and a place for everything. And “gym” and “cute” are not typically synonymous. At least not if you are working hard to make your workout bring real results.