How To Dress For The Gym

A gym is not just the place where you grunt, sweat, and peacock like a modern-day Narcissus. It’s another spot where you might meet the love of your life.

Having already achieved that, I can’t join in your pursuits. But I can offer a two-step program. I sculpted it from years of observing the mating rituals of fashionable people who workout in downtown Toronto.

First rule: Don’t ogle. Follow your glance with a smile and maybe you’ll earn some suction with the cute girl on the stair-climber. Anything after five seconds is loitering and punishable with scorn. Never ever let a woman see you eying her up with your tongue drooping from your mouth like an overstimulated bulldog. Especially at the gym, where a good workout will leave your tongue drooping from your mouth like an overstimulated bulldog.

Rule number two is simple. Throw out the paint-stained jogging pants and droopy basketball shorts. I can still wear mine because I’m accounted for. Find a shirt without a wacky mascot belonging to a high school you never attended. Trash that t-shirt with Stevie Wonder and the words “Have A Wonderful Day”.

With that in mind, here are a few ideas on what to wear to the gym if you want to impress and maybe pick up. As a bonus, you might shrink your sweat problem, cloak your man funk, and enhance your workout. All good outcomes if you ask me. Because, after all, what kind of man seeks love in a room full of mirrors and nubile women in yoga pants?

Start with your upper body

Under Armour is one of the most recognizable makers of workout gear. But some of their gear offends the eye—just look at this Superman compression shirt. For those with brawn, and the desire to show it off, consider the somewhat understated Heatgear Sonic Compression Short Sleeve ($34.99).

If you’re still sculpting, choose the Men’s UA Tactical Tech Short Sleeve T-shirt ($24.99). You get moisture protection and its looser fit lets you move without restriction.

Most guys believe Lululemon looks best on ladies. But the Open Air Tank ($58) is inconspicuous and engineered to fight chafing during your workout or morning run.

Moving to the lower torso

Respect Your Universe is a newer player in the field of fitness and training. Their Warrior Training Pant ($110) is optimal for cold- or dry-weather workouts. It also wicks moisture from your body. Feed your need for green consumerism with the pant’s blend of organic, recycled, and renewable materials. Just don’t eat the pants.

Craving a more basic pant? Go with Nike’s Club Oh Fleece Pant ($50). More athletic than baggy, it’s lined with soft fleece and comes with an elastic waistband and drawstring. You’ll need to cinch these pants tighter as the inches melt away.

Winter is coming but until then can also try RYU’s Gladius Training Short ($25). Sporting flat seams, it’s made to reduce chafing and irritation incidents.

It goes without saying, but . . . 

You need a good pair of running shoes or cross-trainers. I won’t hold your hand on that one. Just visit your local sporting goods store and tell them how you plan to use the sneakers. While you’re there, purchase a set of Nike Dri-Fit Cushion No Shows ($15.99 for six).

Now you’re ready to grunt, sweat, and peacock. But it looks like you give a shit. And that matters. None of the options I’ve shared will guarantee that you secure love in a sweatshop. But they just might keep you in the game.

Pierre Hamilton is a freelance writer from Toronto, where some of his best friends describe him as an acquired taste. He enjoys bourbon and scotch, but craves craft beer, overproof Jamaican rum and great non-fiction. He has a very limited style knowledge but knows what he likes. He also produces a monthly music podcast called Sound Considerations. Follow him, but not too closely, on Twitter.

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