Some men seem not to understand there’s a dress code when working out, and it’s there for a very good reason. Poor fitness apparel sense can lead to injury, reduced technical form and generally displays a lack of etiquette. When it comes to dressing for the gym, try to keep things neat and simple. Gyms are social hubs and any public space has a code of etiquette.

The Essentials

T-shirt: Always opt for moisture-wicking tops. Moisture wicking tops are designed to keep the perspiration away from your body by drawing sweat away from your body to the outer surface. Wicking or performance fabrics are generally made of polyester and Lycra blends. They last longer, dry faster, and keep you more comfortable than the average cotton shirt. Avoid wearing heavy-weight cotton t-shirts, they tend to hold on to moisture, making your workouts an uncomfortable experience

Shorts: Go with knee-length athletic shorts; make sure to choose a well fitted short providing good mobility without being too baggy or revealing. Those who pound the treadmill or jog regularly should try shorts slightly above the knees as they’re a generally better option for leg mobility. Denim shorts will cause chafing, it’s best to avoid them at the gym.

Tracksuit bottoms, a.k.a. sweatpants: If you’re working-out indoors, tracksuits aren’t mandatory unless you choose not to show your legs. Outdoors, they’re more useful, especially in cold weather. Remember, keep it plain and simple – bright orange sweatpants with purple zig-zags are still a reckless decision!

Trainers/Sneakers: You need solid support around your ankles and feet while exercising – the key implication being trainers or sneakers are the only way to go. Wearing properly fitted shoes gives you traction and prevents you from slipping. Avoid flip flops. The only time you should be wearing flip flops or sandals at the gym is after your workout. In the locker room.


Here are a few more pointers:

  • Cut down on the perfume/cologne: Do use some perfume but not so much. Fragrances tend to linger and carry in closed environments, such as your local gym. Your perfume spiked sweat is most likely inducing headaches around the gym. It is inconsiderate, especially to women who have a keen and more sensitive sense of smell.

  • No jewellery. Rings and chains will only get in the way during workouts or fall down the drain in the shower room. Leave your favorite accessories at home.
  • Towel down the equipment. No one wants to work out in an ocean of your sweat. Once you’re done with your chosen machine, always give the seat (and handles) a quick wipe down for the next person.
  • Don’t forget to wash your kit. Gyms aren’t the most hygienic places; don’t add to the bacterial stink by wearing sweat-stained apparel. Put your gym sweatshirts and shorts through on a hot spin-cycle regularly.