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.


27 thoughts on “Is This A Gym … Or Glamour Shots?

  1. I love reading honest posts like this.

    If I head straight to the gym after work, I have makeup wipes and attempt to get most of my foundation off. I am a huge sweater so it would just come off anyways?

    The amount of sweat you produce does not necessarily equate to the effort you put in…but if I had a cake face then why would I want to work hard with the threat of it melting off?

    As for cute gym clothes….I look for comfort as well….and it helps that there is a lot of variety in sports clothes now so yes….I might look a bit fashionable some times but comfortableness will always come first.

    Great post


    • Yeah, let’s just say I’m beyond glad my gym has towel service. And I can usually tell just how much make-up is still on my face … because it ends up on the towel within the first 20 minutes.
      I think most athletic clothing companies have done a good job of keeping things both functional and fashionable – as a sweater, the more wicking the fabric, the better. I won’t even look at anything that’s made of cotton anymore, because I know it’ll be a wet hot mess in no time.

  2. It makes perfect sense to me. If you are putting on makeup to go to the gym you probably aren’t intending to work hard enough to smudge and smear it with sweat. I’m with you. The only time I’m in make up at the gym is from work. (And sometimes I don’t wear makeup to work just to avoid that!)

    • I just don’t see the point – I walk into the gym and I start dripping. But I also don’t see the point of going to the gym if you’re going to do little more than walk around and flirt 😉

  3. I tell customers that those Sketchers Shape Ups really aren’t good for you. [I’m sure the company isn’t too happy I tell people that.] Wearing make up isn’t too great for your skin either. Aw, thanks little girl for the compliment. I inherited “Immature genes.”

  4. I may just be a “make up lady”. Haha :)… I get showered and dolled up before hitting the gym every day. (My make-up consists of bare minerals concealer/powder combo, blush, mascara and eyeliner.)

    I do it because I like to, I’m not trying to impress anyone, and I’m definitely not slacking. The truth is, my face hardly sweats!! My upper lip gets beads of sweat and my forehead just gets damp. That’s all. Now, my lower back, tits, and neck SWEEEEAT!!!

    I usually have plans after visiting the gym too. So, I’ll just use my handy dandy white towel and dab off my face. Then I go on my way!

    I may not get the grungy, going hard look to me, but you’ve seen my blog.. im busting my buns!!

    On a side note, I HATE when I see people chatting on their phone while “working out” !! GET OFF!!! Or when people stand infront of a machine chatting… Gosh!

    • If you can get through a tough workout and not be dripping … I’m jealous! I do see how far you’ve come, so clearly you’re working hard (and you are super cute, too, by the way – love all your pictures showing off those bright blue eyes!)
      I’m with you on the phone issue. I don’t see it as much as I used to, but I still don’t see how people think it’s okay to sit on the machines like it’s a table at Starbucks or something. Get out of the way and stop annoying the people actually there to work, for sure.

      • Aw, thank you!!

        I am guessing once MN can stay above the 40’s I will be sweating, but right now in the air conditioned gym with the freezing outdoors I am dry lol.

        I want to sweat, damnit!!! 🙂

  5. P.S. I loved this post. I’m definitely not offended just offering up my reasoning for my full face of make up 🙂

    • They crack me up – especially when it’s a story like this one. And yes, you definitely know who said lady is … she disappeared for a while, but she’s been back more recently.

  6. You’re so right! I’m glad I’m not the only girl who leaves her workout a hot mess – sweaty and tired – and doesn’t care! I’m not at the gym to meet people, I’m at the gym for my workout, which is all about bettering myself 🙂

  7. Nice gym clothing and gear motivate me a lot and as soon as I wear my Nike top and shorts or my LesMills BodyCombat pants and tops, I can’t help but workout and push hard!

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