I was lifting weights last night and, being the deplorably vain man I am, was eyefucking my handsome self in the full-length mirror (read: “vintage” sliding closet doors in my 80s condo). I was wearing a V-neck gray cotton t-shirt I bought in a three-pack at Target and a pair of cotton shorts I bought at Kandahar Airfield in 2007. After lifting I went out to 9th Street to do a series of HIIT sprints. Same clothes, though I added a pair of cotton ankle socks and a pair of based New Balance runners I bought on sale at DSW.
Did I sweat? You bet I did. It would have been pointless if I hadn’t. But my workout went fine and I was perfectly comfortable in my cheap old cotton clothes. A few secrets for you, fellas:
You’re not going to bench press or deadlift more because you’re wearing a sleeveless “dry weave” shirt made of a blend of unpronounceable synthetics.
You’re not going to run faster if you slide into some skin-tight go-fast “moisture wicking” underwear.
The thing that matters is that you work out.
Exercise clothes matter way out on the margins. Technical t-shirts might make a minor comfort difference for people who run marathons or triathlons, but for 95% of us they’re just a scam that keeps UnderArmor and Nike in the black. Yet a lot of people feel like they have to look like a fitness guru or personal trainer to even set foot in a gym or run a piddly little 5K road race.
Before I put in my little “home gym,” I worked out at a fancy fitness center in downtown Phoenix. You might know it if you’ve been here. It’s the one built into Chase Field. It’s a nice place. I’d always show up in my boring, cheap, cotton gym clothes and run through my workout. Guess what? No one gave a shit what I was wearing. The real lifters were all too consumed with chest day, arm day, or leg day to give a damn about what I was wearing. The guys who are always on jaw day – you know, those guys in every gym who show up just to be seen and run their mouths – might have given me a glance and a chuckle. But why would I give a fuck about those guys?
I don’t care what people think about my gym clothes, and I’m certainly not giving Nike $80 for a shirt they had made for slave wages in a sweatshop in Indonesia.
I am a deplorable consumer.