Should Gyms Even Have Dress Codes? Planet Fitness Strikes Again, Booting Pregnant Lady for Too-Small Top

by Charlotte on April 29, 2014 · 49 comments


Earlier this week a pregnant woman was booted from a gym for not sufficiently covering up her bump. Planet Fitness’s bizarro dress code strikes again! The gym manager asked her to leave since her tiny tot-tent was ever-so-slightly showing thanks to a tank top that was riding up and was therefore in violation of the company’s “no midriff” and “no string tank tops” policies. This makes sense since last month a woman was asked to cover up her “intimidating” crop top or leave, before that a Muslim woman sued when they kicked her out for refusing to remove her religious headscarf and then a teen was told that her full-coverage tank top was making other patrons “uncomfortable” and she needed to change or get out. So at least it’s not just pregnancy discrimination?

It would be so easy to laugh at Planet Fitness and their silly, strangely enforced dress codes. But, little known fact, most gyms have a dress code policy. It’s not often enforced except for extreme cases but any gym big enough to have a legal department usually has a few rules about what constitutes appropriate workout attire. And all the policies sound a little weird, frankly.

From the LifeTime Fitness membership contract:

- “Bathing suits, tank tops for men, and shirts that show the midriff for women are not permitted. Shirts are required at all times. No ragged cut-offs.” (Note: It didn’t say anything against midriff-showing shirts for men! Go nuts, gents!)

- For yoga “no shoes, perfumes, or heavy jewelry.” (Makes sense but I’m more than a little entertained that “no heavy jewelry” had to be spelled out. Lil’ Bow wow would like his money back.)

24 Hour Fitness has a “no jeans on the weight floor” policy as well as “no cutoffs allowed in the pool” rule. Amen, bros.

From the Anytime Fitness membership agreement:

- “Please do not wear blue jeans or other clothing that has external metal parts and rigid seaming since this can cause damage to the upholstery on the equipment.” (I should make this same rule for my house! Just got a rip on the couch from an overly embellished back pocket on jeans.)

- “Your clothing should be kept to a modest style since both men and women use the club.” – but no dictation of what “modest” is. Not sure if that is progressive or lazy.

From the Bally’s Gym membership contract:

- “We reserve the right to deny use of the club to any person whose attire we do not consider to be appropriate in connection with the public image of our club.” (Um, have you been in a Bally’s lately? Not knocking them at all but they seem like the gym least likely to worry about the public image of their club.)

- “No ragged clothing, cut-off or cut-down shorts or pants, half-shirts, curlers, swimsuits or sandals are allowed in the exercise or aerobic area.” (Okay, what are cut-down shorts/pants?? Also, half-shirts are so 80′s. Let’s at least go a decade better and call them crop tops. Lastly, it took me a full two minutes to stop trying to picture what item of clothing “curlers” are and realize they mean HAIR curlers. Which, yeah no.)

- “No profane language or slogans on any attire in the club is permitted.” (Does this include Big Johnson t-shirts on the weight floor? Pleasesayyes.)

I could keep going but you get the point: pretty much all gyms have rules about what you can and can’t wear and some of those rules are really weird. Which begs the question: Should gyms have dress codes at all?

Clearly the line between what’s appropriate and what isn’t is quite subjective and it seems like having rules that hard to understand and enforce would just be a pain for everyone involved. Plus there is a lot of room for interpretation. For instance, the whole “shoes are a must” policy that most gyms have seems reasonable… unless you are into barefoot workouts. I went through a phase where I only wanted to run barefoot on the treadmill and I got several severe talking-to’s. Wouldn’t it be nice if gyms could just treat us like the adults we are and trust us that we’ve mastered the skill of dressing ourselves? I think the vast majority of people are very reasonable and the few who aren’t probably wouldn’t bother with rules anyways.

On the other hand, gyms have a right to set the rules for using their property and some dress codes have legit safety reasons. Plus anyone who’s ever had to watch a man do an entire spin class in nothing but tighty-whities and knee-high black dress socks (like I have) knows that there will always be somebody who will push the edge of reasonableness and  if you don’t have an actual policy in writing then you won’t have a legal leg to stand on. And there has to be a line somewhere, preferably before “no naked.” If we’ve learned anything from Miley Cyrus it’s that people + no rules + thong leotards = anarchy.

But it’s not just aesthetics that are at play here. How we dress reflects not only our fashion taste but also things like socioeconomic status, moral standards, gender and religion — all of which can be fraught in public spaces. Would you punish someone who couldn’t afford official “exercise clothing” and shows up in street wear? Would you tell a trans-woman she has to follow the male dress code? Would you force a conservatively religious woman to wear something she considers immodest? All to conform to your rules?

I remember at my old gym there was an on-going controversy about what the ethnic Somali refugees, most of whom were Muslim, could wear. As the women often wore long, loose robes over long pants and shirts with full head coverings (even in the pool), some worried their clothing was a risk for drowning, contamination, over-heating or getting caught in machines. (Although to my eyes it just looked uncomfortable but far be it from the Mormon girl who’s covered from knee to clavicle even in 110 degrees to question anyone else’s religious strictures.)

The controversy got so heated that for a while people were talking about actually banning people that wore traditional full coverings, even children, since they were breaking the dress code rule about “no street clothes” and “appropriate swim attire”. Gym integrity or religious discrimination? One YMCA in my old stomping grounds solved the problem by starting a swim class just for Muslim Somali-American girls. In addition to allowing the girls to wear their clothing, the Star Tribune reports that other measures were taken to ensure compliance with their religious and cultural requirements. “During the hourlong swim practice, all other swimmers are cleared out of the pool. The men’s locker room is locked. Female life guards are brought in. The pool, which is on the building’s third floor, has no windows so they don’t have to worry about prying eyes from outside.”

Were some people inconvenienced by the new dress code and other rules? Probably. But did a bunch of girls who likely would never have gotten in the pool learn to swim? Definitely. And I’d call that a huge win.

In the end, the whole point of gyms is to help more people work out more often (okay, and to help the gym owners make more money), right? So it seems that any policy that would allow more people to come exercise would be the best, both practically and financially. Do we really want to be looking for reasons to tell people to stop exercising?

What do you think – should gyms even have dress code policies anymore? What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen someone wear at the gym? What’s the weirdest gym rule you’ve ever seen?


Because I don’t ever want to work out in a gym where this isn’t allowed.


{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Michele April 30, 2014 at 4:04 am

Bare feet in the gym (as in stores and restaurants) is a hygiene issue and a safety issue. Running on a rubber treadmill track on feet that are certainly damp with sweat is A) disgusting, and, B) unsafe.

Planet Ridiculous’ recent clamp-downs on clients seem silly but remember we’re only hearing the clients’ sides of the stories. None of the policies of other gyms you copied/pasted seems out of line with public behavior but of course all are open to interpretation and the point is, these are private, paid membership establishments and can make whichever rules they want. That said, those are all “clubs” targeted to those who rarely work out and don’t take exercise seriously – i.e., a clientele who do need it explained to them why jeans aren’t proper attire.


Charlotte May 1, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Very true that the gyms are private establishments and have every right to establish their own results – and probably the most convincing argument for having dress codes, honestly. And of course they can always say that if you don’t like the rules, take your money and business elsewhere. That said, I think bare feet in the gym are less of a hygiene issue than people think – after all, yoga & pilates studios are almost entirely barefoot and I don’t think there is any higher incidence of foot fungus;) If anything, shoes might be grosser since you bring in all the stuff you track in from outside. As for safety, I can see that point and I will certainly abide by any restrictions put in place at the gym I go to (I always put my shoes back on if they asked me to) but for me personally I felt like I could feel the treadmill belt (or floor or step or whatever) better under my feet and could therefore better keep my balance etc. Plus, no tripping over shoelaces;)
I also find this point very interesting: “That said, those are all “clubs” targeted to those who rarely work out and don’t take exercise seriously – i.e., a clientele who do need it explained to them why jeans aren’t proper attire.” Hadn’t considered it from that side!


kfg May 1, 2014 at 7:31 pm

” . . .don’t take exercise seriously – i.e., a clientele who do need it explained to them why jeans aren’t proper attire.” ”

Does that mean I have to give back my bicycle time trial course records that I set while wearing jeans – - along with either ropers or sandals?

Perhaps I need it explained to me. Oh well, there are always tailored suits to fall back on.


Darwin May 1, 2014 at 11:06 pm

*applauding kfg*


Redhead April 30, 2014 at 4:45 am

The only rule I remember seeing posted at my gym is no jeans or other pants/shorts with metal rivets (since they damage the machine seats), and a reminder to please wear deodorant and lay off on the cologne.
There’s probably more of a policy, but I don’t know that it’s enforced. I saw a girl in Ugg boots and leggings on the treadmill and another girl in what I REALLY hope was a swimsuit bottom and not underwear in yoga class. That was interesting.
I think you’re probably right, that a lot of it is about having it in writing in case legal issues arise. IE, if you drop a weight on a bare foot (or mangle your bare foot on the treadmill), they can claim contributory negligence from you violating their policy, or something. But Planet Fitness seems a little… Overzealous in enforcing theirs.


Charlotte May 1, 2014 at 1:24 pm

I’ve totally seen yoga bottoms (usually in a hot yoga class) that are basically bikini bottoms! I think it’s a Thing!


Jennifer Hudy April 30, 2014 at 5:08 am

That’s one thing that I have grown to love about my Crossfit gym; no one cares at all what you are wearing, but it’s also about form and function so you wear what is most appropriate for working out. I have never seen someone strut in the box with jeans on,though it’s more than common to see men or even women, without their shirts on.

I think PF is a great starter gym, but hoping those that are in violation of their policies for one reason or another can find a happy place working out somewhere else where they are more accepted.


Charlotte May 1, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Totally agree with this: “I think PF is a great starter gym, but hoping those that are in violation of their policies for one reason or another can find a happy place working out somewhere else where they are more accepted.”! As for CrossFit gyms, any place that encourages knee-high socks is my kind of place;)


J May 4, 2014 at 8:53 am

Amen to that! As a CrossFit’ers we typically perform movements you won’t see in the “typical” gym, so dressing for functionality is important. I am guilty of being one of the guys who takes my shirt off quite regularly; not because I think I’m ripped, but because I get hot very easily and it is a way to cool down while working out, as well as it is less restricting while performing the movements. Fortunately, most CF’ers don’t care, and are right there with me. Heck, watch any CF competition and see how many guys are wearing shirts, and how many women are dressed in minimalist clothing.

I will disagree with you on PF being a “great” starter gym…PF is nothing more than in the business of making money, and unfortunately, NOT fitness (this is from knowing a PF franchise owner who coincidentally is a CF’er). PF’s marketing is actually quite impressive though, in that their target clientele are those who need to lose some weight and are comfortable paying $10/mo, even if they don’t use PF on a regular basis. PF actually counts on these customers to not use their facilities, but continue to pay the $10/mo fee since continued use of equipment brings wear & tear and requires maintenance.

I have personally witnessed PF promote “pizza day” and “donut day” in their “Judgement-Free Zone” marketing efforts. I hate to sound “elitist” in any way, but I cannot take PF or any other gym seriously when they reward membership with pizza and donuts.


Kevin April 30, 2014 at 6:19 am

Arnold Schwarzenegger lifted weights barefoot.


Charlotte May 1, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Which may be the only time Arnold and I ever get compared. AWESOME. ;)


Stephanie April 30, 2014 at 6:38 am

I think the weirdest thing I saw in my short-lived gym experience (I personally find it intimidating to be working out with a gazillion other people at the same time and in the same room – back to home workouts for me), was a guy who had apparently forgotten his gym bag but was so dedicated (?) to his workout that he was using the weight machines – ones right out front – in his dress shoes, dress pants and his white (under) t-shirt.

Three questions came to mind: why not go to the Target across the street and pick up some basketball shorts at the least? why not go home and work out for just.this.once? and last but not least…are you really going to be able to use those dress pants again as actual dress pants?

Oh well, it was more comical than anything else, so I guess I don’t care. Strange, though, that he was breaking a rule by working out in something other than athletic shoes and surprisingly PF didn’t crack down on him for it. :)


Charlotte May 1, 2014 at 1:32 pm

I think your three questions are perfect! And I want answers too hahah! Especially #3. Maybe he wasn’t sweating much?


kfg May 1, 2014 at 7:45 pm

“Especially #3. ”


There are, in fact, strength training facilities where clients typically arrive in their suits, sometimes three piece, and don’t do anything more than take off their jackets to do a workout that would leave most people in tears. Tracy Anderson it ain’t.

And then they may just go back to work, although they’ll be a bit wobbly for the rest of the day. The suits, not having to deal the whole lactate cycle thing, maybe just a bead of sweat or three, don’t really seem to mind it all.


Darwin May 1, 2014 at 11:14 pm

Right! No need for a workout “costume” for peak performance…

…including your bicycle time trial course records in jeans and ropers or sandals, kfg!

*applauds again*


JLVerde April 30, 2014 at 7:05 am

I’m not part of a gym so I have no “people are weird” gym stories (which makes me sad). But at the yoga studio they did have to send out a reminder that when you’re upside down your clothes will also go upside down. So, men, please to be wearing shorts with snugger legs so your Wee Willy is not giving everyone a quick “namaste”. Then they also mentioned not wearing strong scents (just so men wouldn’t feel picked on for accidentally flashing).

I think the one guy missed the “strong scents” memo, though. The last class I shared with him, he peeled off his shirt (a few minutes in) and the room was quickly filled with headache inducing B.O. It wasn’t “fresh” B.O. either. It was bottom of the laundry pile B.O. It was bad.

As for dress codes at gyms, I can see where guidelines are necessary since the general public can be pretty dang dumb and if you don’t put it in writing they’ll do it then (rightfully) claim they didn’t know better when they get scolded.


Charlotte May 1, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Well you can borrow my “people are weird” stories anytime;) Also, this is the best sentence I’ve read all day: ” please to be wearing shorts with snugger legs so your Wee Willy is not giving everyone a quick “namaste”. ” Awesome.


Nicole April 30, 2014 at 7:38 am

I have a friend who is Muslim, and while she doesn’t wear a headscarf and does wear jeans, she is always in pretty loose clothing and very covered up. She wanted to learn to swim but was having a really hard time committing to it because she was not comfortable wearing a bathing suit. Her first swim class I think she wore a swimsuit under a t-shirt and track pants, because there were no swim suit options that covered her up enough. I think she eventually ended up on a combination of leggings and shorts (or possibly just leggings) that covered her up enough without making her sink. My other Muslim friend who DOES wear a headscarf just can’t swim. I think the idea of women- only swim classes is brilliant and more places should take it up.


kim May 1, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Actually Nicole, you should have your friend Google “Muslim swim wear” because there are lots of choices, even on Amazon.


Nicole May 1, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Yeah- she’s knows about that but we’re in canada so between the cost of the swimsuits plus shipping she didn’t want to spend that much money when she had no idea if she’d even like swimming.


Charlotte May 1, 2014 at 1:39 pm

I agree – I think the women-only and even Muslim-women-only swim classes are a great option. One of my bestest gym buddies from Minnesota, Krista, is Muslim and I remember when we did our “pool workout” photoshoot for Shape, she wore a full-coverage swimsuit (kind of like the ones Kim linked to but I think that she put together herself) with a swim cap and it got such a great response on Shape’s site.


Megan @ Meg Go Run April 30, 2014 at 7:56 am

So many things to say….

1. I know I always say this, but at the Planet Fitness I go to, no one has ever been kicked out for wearing certain clothes. There are women who wear full length dresses (for religious/cultural purposes I am sure), a woman who wears a sports bra only on the cardio machines, a dude with an AWESOME t-shirt that has a huge wolf face on it, and a guy in Tweety Bird pjs. When you go at 5:30am, like I do, all the interesting folks come out! I wish Planet Fitness as a whole wouldn’t get such a bad wrap BUT that’s what happens when some of the franchises act ridiculous and make someone put on a tshirt because their shirt is riding up!

2. The only problem I see with the full length gear (which includes baggy tweety bird pjs) is that it could get caught in the equipment and possibly hurt you or break the machine. One time, the staff at my PF hung a ripped up long sleeve t-shirt on a hanger on a treadmill (which said out of order) with a note that read, “This is what causes $200 worth of damage to a treadmill. Please do not hang your clothing on a treadmill, put it in a locker.” This made me gasped because I have taken off a long sleeve T before and tied it around the handle of the treadmill. But it could cause serious damage. I feel like long baggy clothes could do that as well… (Not that I think they should be banned, I just think it could possibly cause problems!)


Charlotte May 1, 2014 at 1:44 pm

I’m so glad that you do have good stories of PF to balance out the neg coverage! Since they’re a franchise owned by individuals there is a lot of variation and I’m so glad yours is such a fun place! (Tweety bird PJs!! Wolf shirt!! Love!!!)
And I love they hung up the shirt on the treadmill – that is hilarious and a perfect warning for what can happen. I’ve seen several things (towels, shoe laces, an earring) get sucked into the belt. Thankfully no damage was done but it’s definitely a good thing to be aware of!


Darwin April 30, 2014 at 8:33 am

First, as a back up to Kevin, yes…Arnold Schwarzenegger lifted weights barefoot.

Second, part of the wonder and unmitigated joy of BARBELL DENIM is the pleasure of being able to not only do splits but SQUATS in them!!!!

Third, the last gym I was in was not only a “regular” gym, but it had a specialty of catering to people recovering from accidents…i.e. chiropractor and physiotherapist and massage therapist at the ready…while they did their exercise to recover.

As did I.

Few of these people had exercise clothes. A great many wore jeans.

No accidents. No damage to equipment.

(Although I was sorry to hear about your couch Charlotte! Sympathies!)

Third, I used to play basketball barefoot.

All the time.

It was MUCH better traction.

I could leap higher.

Move faster.

LESS sweat (as in no shoes or socks) equals LESS stink.

And if you have no funky foot fungus, there should not be a problem.

In all those years, nary an injury.

Plus, I once got a paid acting role in part due to my ability to play basketball barefoot.

At the audition, we were subbing on and off the court in random rotation (casting people whim) and the shoes I had were bugging my feet and cramping my style, so the next time I stood off to the side of the court I took them off to give my feet a break.

Casting person saw this and thought they would possibly make some point? Embarrass me?… by calling me back onto the court immediately.

I walked out on court without my shoes or socks.

Suddenly they backtracked. “It’s okay! WE can wait!”

“No need.” I replied.

Feeling like me again, I moved faster, leaped higher and scored.

I got cast.


Joemama April 30, 2014 at 8:35 am

That’s pretty amazing that your old gym helped a whole sector of the population, who normally wouldn’t be able to do so, learn to swim in a comfortable atmosphere. My faith encourages modest dress as well, and I can appreciate how difficult it is to find workout clothing that is modest, yet comfortable. (I don’t know how those gals do it in head coverings! They are way more dedicated to working out than I would be. I have to have nothing on my head, not even a headband, or I get exercise-induced claustrophobia…Kudos, exercising Muslim gals!) I love running tights or capris with a running skirt over the top: comfy and modest. I gotta have a wide-strapped, not too form-fitting tank, though. My pits need to breathe!
I never saw anything too weird at my old gym. I was just always amazed that some gals could work out in big, heavy T-shirts and baggy sweatpants, but that’s just due to my personal squickiness of excess, sweaty fabric slapping around on me while I work out. I’m a princess when it comes to workout gear. It has to be juuuust right, or I’m all complain-y and uncomfortable.


Joemama April 30, 2014 at 8:37 am

P.S. That gif at the end! I GOL’d (guffawed out loud)!


Charlotte May 1, 2014 at 1:48 pm

First, you KNOW how I love me a running skirt over capris! And this: ” I have to have nothing on my head, not even a headband, or I get exercise-induced claustrophobia…” is so me too! Apparently we are sartorial sisters;) I too am a princess when it comes to my gear hahah!


Azusmom April 30, 2014 at 8:38 am

My first thought on reading this was that Planet Fitness does seem to be targeting for violations. But the corporate office can’t always control what the franchise owners do.
And, yes, most dress codes are for legal purposes. Because the things that people will sue over…
I once belonged to a gym in which no tank tops were allowed. I HATE working out in short sleeves, so that was a bother. I didn’t last long there. And it certainly wasn’t that big a deal, in the grand scheme of things.
I guess the most uncomfortable thing I witnessed was the woman who wore a thong bikini at the JCC pool, with dozens of kids running around. She was quietly asked to cover up.


Azusmom April 30, 2014 at 8:40 am

That should be “targeting women.”


Charlotte May 1, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Excellent point about it being a franchise operation and so there is a lot of variation from place to place. And I agree, there are some workouts that short sleeves really are problematic. Yoga, for me, requires my arms to be free free freeeeee!! And wow, a thong bikini in a family pool…


Jen April 30, 2014 at 10:02 am

I think dress codes with regard to the safety of the patrons or equipment make sense. If you’re wearing jeans and have one of those chain wallets hanging out (90′s trend alert!), maybe it could get caught on something, maybe it could damage the fabric on a weight machine or bike, etc. But other than that, I don’t know that they’re necessary. The gym I have most frequently attended is filled to the brim with retired folks, so they pretty much always wear jeans, even though I’m pretty sure the policy at the gym doesn’t allow them, simply because I don’t think they own fancy yoga pants, you know? It would be silly for the gym to kick them out for not being Lululemon patrons.

And as a nine-months pregnant woman, I have to say I would be seriously annoyed if I got kicked out of a gym for showing a little belly. At this point it’s hard to keep the thing covered!


Charlotte May 1, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Oooh my first boyfriend had one of those wallet chains!! His skateboard was his exercise machine of choice though;) (Ah the 90s!!) And I totally smiled at your mention of the retired folks! Since I work out at a community rec center there are lots of older people too and there are a lot of elastic-waist khakis with turtlenecks going on! It works for them though:)

PS. By 9 months not even maternity clothing covered my belly all the way. The only thing I could wear were my husband’s basketball shorts and huge t-shirts. Good times;)


Jen May 1, 2014 at 2:59 pm

My first boyfriend had the wallet chain, too! And we went to a concert one night (Rage Against the Machine with Wu Tang Clan…why???) and they wouldn’t let him in with the chain because it could be considered a weapon! He didn’t want to bring it all the way back to the very far away parking lot so he buried it outside of the venue! Those were the days, lol.

Yup, the gym I frequent is also the community rec center. It’s where the retired folks gather!


Erin April 30, 2014 at 11:36 am

I seem to recall that the rec center in college had a no-sports-bras-only policy but otherwise I can’t remember any of my gyms having a specifically spelled out dress code. Of course, I never really read the membership contracts all the way through so I suppose there could have been one but I never saw it!

Although, I have to say the LifeTime Fitness dress code saying no tank tops for men? That seems a little over the top!


Charlotte May 1, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Doesn’t it though? Considering I saw a ton of men in tanks at LifeTime I’m guessing that one isn’t enforced;) And yeah, I never read the contracts through all the way either… that’s probably going to bite me in the butt someday!


Hannah April 30, 2014 at 3:31 pm

My crossfit box has a no shirts off policy – for two reasons. One – less sweat that gets flung around and Two – it can be intimidating to newcomers and my box wants to make sure everyone feels comfortable to be there. I know that I appreciate it. While it would be nice to see some of the guys sans shirt – I do feel much more comfortable that everyone isn’t pulling off their shirts mid-workout if not mid-warmup! I am sure a lot of it has to do with the Owner being a competitive rower which is considered proper etiquette to be covered. And actually they just put up a post about how rower bet shirts (men anyway) and that it was the losing team who would give their tanks to the winning team – aka only losers take their shirts off! :) We did have a cross box competition with another local box where we started at our box, did a workout and then ran to their box and did the second workout. They immediately yanked their shirts off during the warmup and the puddles of sweat under these guys was disgusting IMO. Kudos to those who feel comfortable to do that but it is definitely not for me.

I have seen a woman in full Jane Fonda 80s workout gear – and have seen jeans when I used to go to Bally’s many years ago. Unfortunately I recall the Jane Fonda look more because of how extremely thin/fragile she appeared and when I got on the treadmill next to her she had already been walking for an hour. When I left an hour later (after doing my weight circuit too) she was still there walking. I was more concerned for her health then her clothes as walking on a raised treadmill for 2+ hours seemed way too disordered.


Charlotte May 1, 2014 at 2:14 pm

So interesting about rowing culture and the t-shirt thing – I had no idea! I know what you mean about those huge, icky sweat puddles though! I know some people can’t help it so as long as they wipe it up after (do NOT leave it oozing on the ground!) then I try not to worry about it.


Jody - Fit at 56 April 30, 2014 at 7:56 pm

I think there are certain things that need to be put down. Bare feet in a regular gym is not a good thing – safety & I agree with above – hygiene too. I have seen what gym members do & those bare feet & where they may land so I think closed shoes are a must. Shorts on! Many members do not follow the rules of towels & again a sweaty body against a machine you might use & cross contamination so.. I think within reason we need rules. I have seen way too much crap & especially at weird hours when there are only a couple people working so it can’t be monitored…


Charlotte May 1, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Ah good point about all the sweatiness! People should def wipe up after themselves!


Matt April 30, 2014 at 8:46 pm

I’m all for lax dress in the gym, but a part of me likes the idea of tightening things up a bit. Putting on a set of clothes that are meant to be worked out in turns a mental switch in my mind that says “okay we’re putting on the ass kicking clothing now so now it’s time to do likewise.”

Another thing is I often consider clothing a type of equipment. I used to race my bike in basketball shorts and t-shirts but then I wised up and learned that the spandex biker clothing I snickered at was far more comfortable and that comfort improved my performance. It might not be right, but when I see someone in the gym with a button down shirt or jeans my mind jumps to the conclusion that their workout can’t be that serious or that they aren’t all that serious about their workout either. Sure some folks are just taking a stroll around the track, but I really do think the cloths say something about how you workout.


Darwin April 30, 2014 at 10:36 pm

I would have to respectfully disagree.

Biases. Assumptions.

Some are taught to us or we are manipulated into believing: i.e. the good guy wears a white hat ergo the guy in the black hat is bad.

Theater, radio, movies, television and other media have been doing this for years.

Some we develop ourselves.

What gives you a psychological boost in wearing certain clothing to work out, means nothing to my personal work out.

I kick butt no matter what I am wearing.

I do not need a workout “costume” for peak performance.

Its like wannabe tough guys copping an attitude and wearing sloppy clothes and silly hat – an ensemble that often reminds me of Elmer Fudd – and thinking that makes them tough.

ACTUAL tough does not require a costume.

It is there 24/7, no matter what the clothing.

Bruce Lee would still be Bruce Lee in a uniform and hat from McDonald’s.

One time at a church dance, a group of guys in their late teens picked up one end of a car first, then the other end, and manipulated it onto the church lawn as a “trick” played on a man they did not like.

The silly gigglers were shocked when they followed him out to see his reaction, only to find that his car was placed back exactly where he had left it. So he had no idea they were trying to make a rude statement.

I moved it back all by myself.

I didn’t go home to change into workout wear first.

And picking up one end of a car and sliding it over alone is a VERY serious workout.

Especially when you have to do the front end as well.

And the intensity did not change simply because I was in a three piece suit and dress shoes.


Laura P. May 1, 2014 at 3:02 am

Good for you!
I’m impressed.


Darwin May 1, 2014 at 9:34 am

My humble thanks, Laura P.

(It bothers me when other people are treated rudely or nastily.)


Charlotte May 1, 2014 at 2:20 pm

I think this is one of the best arguments I’ve heard yet for gym clothes! Sort of how they tell people who work at home to get dressed for the day and not stay in their jammies, to be more productive. I can see how in a gym workout setting it would be helpful to draw that line and say “I’m not at work now. I’m not at school now. I’m working out now and I’m going to give it 100%”! Also this: ” I often consider clothing a type of equipment.” is so true. Maybe not for walking on the treadmill or some light weight lifting but it is easier to get a good workout in if you are able to move freely and comfortably.


Darwin May 1, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Charlotte…This sounds like a page out of your…”I too am a princess when it comes to my gear hahah!” (from your comment to Joemama)

Even with my LIFELONG passion for the martial arts I never had a “gi” until I was in my 40′s.

Always something better to spend the money on.

Guys are generally not so princess-y.

Thus we mostly do not need the full ensemble of gym clothes to achieve our goals.

Again MANY people have better things to spend the money on. But less rich people should be allowed to work out also without others getting all judge-y as to the quality of their workout because they lack “clothing as equipment”.

Kind of elitist. Perhaps snooty even.


Laura P. May 1, 2014 at 3:12 am

Some of the above comments make me more convinced then ever to never go to a gym.

Also, why is it so gross for shoe-wearing patrons to be bothered by shoe-less folks? If they are wearing shoes,they shouldn’t be concerned about getting contaminated by foot-sweat on the treadmill, right?

Or am I missing something here?


Charlotte May 1, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Hahahah my thoughts too Laura! I actually think shoes might less hygienic since you’re bringing in whatever you stepped in outside!


Kim May 1, 2014 at 10:35 pm

I love that the Y almost anything (except showing private parts) goes. Makes it more fun to go work out. My sense of eye candy is whatever makes me smile. But that’s me. I’d also prefer to chat with kooky friendly strangers on airplanes, than dull crabby travelers.


Mary May 3, 2014 at 12:54 pm

I saw a women at my gym riding a stationary bike with a thong on. Nothing underneath. I’m all for “anything goes” at the gym, as I really don’t care much what people wear, but that was just too much for me.


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