Exercise apparel is not the answer to all your insecurities

Exercise doesn’t have to be a fashion show. You’re working out for your health—or at least you should be—and all that GymShark merch is just an added expense. 

Exercise apparel can be implausibly expensive at times; a single pair of name-brand sweat pants could cost you well over a hundred dollars, at this point.

And it begs the question:, why? There’s no sex appeal in exercising. In fact, it’s quite vile when you think about it. Sure, the clothes are tight and everyone is glistening, but come within eight feet of anyone who’s just finished a workout and you’ll want to vomit.

I might not be the best person to speak on overpriced gym clothes—I dress like I’m headed to some sort of strange, all-male Mardi Gras during my monthly jaunt around the block—but I would like to think I can speak on not giving a shit.

At the end of the day, getting some well-needed exercise isn’t about the aesthetic or the deafening tone of an upper thigh; it’s about your health.

It’s also quite true that the gym crowd is not my usual forte. For about 11 different reasons, I avoid gyms at all costs. So, take my opinion with a grain of salt. If some goddamn headband is what makes you happy, by all means!

However, gym culture has, and always will be, an utter mystery to me. Ideally—and logically—your entire gym outfit should cost no more than $40 dollars, provided you own a washing machine.

So, let’s break this down from head to toe, just to make it that much easier for everyone.

If you don’t own a pair of shoes, cancel that gym membership and sort out your priorities. Why anyone would ever buy a second pair of shoes solely for the gym is beyond me. 

I don’t think I’ve ever bought a pair of gym shorts in my life. Throughout my mildly athletic childhood, a pair of gym shorts was always my consolation prize for making the team yet never catching a touchdown.

However, any of your local retailers should have a pair of inexpensive gym shorts, averaging around $10 a pair.

You don’t need some special underwear to work out. You don’t. Sure, Saxx are comfortable as all hell and keep the threat of chafing at bay, but by no means are they worth that price tag of $34.

Just wear something comfortable. As long as it’s not riding up your tuchus or performing a premature circumcision, there’s no good reason not to exercise in whatever you’ve got on right now.

(However, this does not apply to bras of any kind. Although-as my scale knows-I’m getting there, I really can’t speak to these just yet.)

I’m more likely to internally judge a person wearing a sleeveless “Buns and Guns” t-shirt than someone wearing no t-shirt at all—okay, fine, both options are terrible.

T-shirts are cheap and chances are you already have plenty. That nine-year-old Mötley Crüe concert tee you stole from your father during your pubescent grunge phase will do just fine. 

When it comes to accessories, just no.

But as we all know, there’s immense social pressure during these public periods of physical exertion. We want to look good and attractive. There’s nothing more deflating than being the most visibly exhausted person in a room of weights and ellipticals.

So, really, just do what’s best for you. Of course, you don’t need expensive gym apparel, but if it makes the experience that much easier for you, I will always encourage it.

I dress like a sick Norwegian fisherman, so cheap t-shirts from Old Navy tend to fit my lifestyle with relative ease, but my judgy, hypercritical opinions on exercise clothing are by no means applicable to everyone.

Just wear whatever you’re comfortable in—both physically and socially—but feel just as free to ignore everything I’ve said;, God knows I won’t be there to judge.

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