You kept your New Year’s promise to hit the gym.
Water bottle in hand, wearing your old sneakers with the worn-out color, the freebie T-shirt you got from your favorite radio station’s promo tour, and black $5 tights. Your confidence is high and the thought ‘I did it, I’m in the gym’ enters your mind as you walk out of the locker room onto the main floor that greets you with the scent of bleach and the feeling of determination.
As you make your way to the treadmill, you observe the floor. The men are all in their mirrored corners lifting weights, the Yogi’s are heading towards their next yoga class, and the mature adults are riding the seated recumbent bikes. As you get closer to the treadmills, you begin to second-guess your workout attire. Your confidence begins to waiver step-by-step.
On the treadmill boulevard, there is nothing but a barrage of colors and patterns. From bright neons to sexy leopards, those who grace the treadmills look more like models on an urban catwalk rather than a gym. Already sporting a coke-bottle shape with full-figured hips, high butts, and miniature waists, one begins to wonder if they are there to work out or to style on you. If you don’t believe us, just take a look at all their Instagrams.
The world of fitness is far from the days of old gym sneakers. On any given day, you can scroll the explorer section of IG, and see a hoard of images of women at the gym in fashionable leggings, bra tops, booty shorts and even in some cases, posted up with some weights in a thong.
So we at xoNecole want to know if women feel pressured to look sexy at the gym.
We asked 9 women who regularly get their workout on if looking sexy was important to them and here are their responses:
“I don't feel pressured to ‘dress’ sexy. To me, 'sexy' is being confident in whatever you are wearing. Sexy is seeing the results of working hard. When it comes to working out, it's about comfortability over anything else. I am not a workout guru that goes to the gym religiously. I dance A LOT. So that is mostly my workout and in rehearsals, I wear Ivy Park because it is stylish and very comfortable.”
Saidah N., @Saidahnairobi, International Dancer for Beyonce's I Am... and Formation World Tours
“In the beginning of my transformation, I didn't want to feel sexy. I didn't want to look sexy and I didn't want to attract any attention at all because I was at the gym to work out and go hard, for me. I wanted to see if this time I was actually going to accomplish the goals that I have set for myself. It's already a mental battle, I just needed my physical to follow the mental when I said ‘GO’! Yet, I did notice the more fit I got, the more I wanted my outfits to match and I cared about what I was wearing. But it wasn't to look sexy, but to feel good. It wasn't for anybody else, it was for me. So, it depends upon your definition of ‘sexy’. Showing too much skin - that's not sexy, that's being revealing.”
Toshamakia A., @ToshaMakia, Radio Personality at 102 Jamz in Greensboro, NC
“Not only do I NOT feel pressured to look sexy at the gym, I don't feel pressured to do anything. Now that I am 40, I realize that I've wasted too much time caring about things that just ain't going to make a difference in anything, anyway. Bottom line is if I'm feeling myself and decide to get sexy and go to the gym, then I'll be sexy at the gym that day. But if I don't and I just throw on some old rags and get my workout on, then I'll be in the gym that day looking raggedy. To me, ‘sexy’ is more of an attitude than a look, and feeling confident about who you are regardless of whether others like or approve of it is the sexiest thing EVER!”
Samiyyah S., @experienceanasa, Business Owner
“Honestly, when I go to the gym I am a good in-between. Definitely not sexy, but definitely not a mess. I wear a slicked-back ponytail and a tank with workout pants. I feel as though if I get too sexy, I will be more worried about keeping up with my appearance than working out. It makes me feel good to get a good workout because I know my end goal. I usually go to the gym late because I find that it is less distracting.”
Raven R., @robinsonandco, Publicist
“After losing 100 pounds, I have completely changed the way that I dress at the gym. Initially, I wore loose fitting, oversized t-shirts and shorts or pants. I did not care about the brand or how it looked and sometimes I didn’t even care if it matched. I vividly remember a point during my weightloss journey where I told my best friend that I didn’t want to go to a particular gym because it was just a ‘fashion show’ and everyone was just ‘trying to be seen’. Looking back, I think I was just so insecure in myself that I didn’t want to be around these super-fit women in spandex. Nowadays, you can catch me brand-whoring in the gym, covering only my private parts, because everyone’s going to see this body I worked for!”
Cookie M., @CookieMiller, Certified Personal Trainer
“I have been on a fitness journey for about 6 years and, in the beginning, my gym clothes were super boring, but once I changed my lifestyle completely and started rewarding myself with workout clothes instead of food, I saw a big change in my gear and desire to want to workout! I don't feel pressured to dress sexy at the gym but I feel motivated because once upon a time I never wore my sports bra without a top over it, and now that's the only way I workout! I think dressing nice at the gym gives you that extra PUSH you need to start and remain healthy! I lost 100 pounds naturally and want people to see that the struggle is real and worth it!”
Donesha B., @Training4MyLife, Educator in the ATL
“I always wear form-fitting clothes to work out at the gym, tight-fitting tanks and leggings or shorts. This is not to be sexy, but to be able to check that my form is on point with each exercise. You can't do that in a baggy shirt and loose sweats. I feel empowered seeing myself lifting with perfect form in the gym mirrors. If people think I'm sexy, that is just a happy byproduct.”
Danielle F., @thedanifaust, Lifestyle Blogger
“I've always been shy of a lot of unwarranted body attention because I got these curves at a pretty young age, so I do intentionally play it down at the gym. I do like to shower right before the gym and add a light layer of mascara so I'm not the walking dead. That's pretty much the best it gets. I live in a very ‘young community’ and everyone in my neighborhood looks good. I purposely chose a family gym to alleviate myself of all responsibilities of having to look like ‘anything’ while working out. I like to look messy - I feel like I go harder. I wear leggings, although I do have a strict stretch/firm requirement. All my workout shirts were once "real" shirts that are just past their prime. I cut off the sleeves and I'm headed to the gym. My sports bras aren't that cute because I have big boobs so there's only a certain amount of cuteness available past a D cup. Also, I'm pretty curvy, so anytime you add spandex to that it instantly turns into a music video look.”
Janelle C., @icurenudity, Costume Designer
"When I go to the gym, I dress as if I'm going to put in work. I'm comfortable and covered, not dressy but surely not messy! My brows are filled to perfection just so I can feel some sense of pride when I see the look of exhaustion come across my face. At least I can say, ‘You cute, tho!’ I have to make sure all of my rolls and waves are covered up nicely because sweating already isn't a pretty sight! I wear an old pair of Nikes, sweats, and a tee. Just when I get in my groove, a skinny chick comes in wearing a matching Nike ensemble and turns the treadmill up to a 20 incline, and I immediately want to eat a Snickers. Other than that, I feel quite alright. The gym is my place to better me, not for others to get a better view of me."
Maleeka H., @officialmaleeka, Author
Do you feel pressured to look sexy in the gym? Share your thoughts below. No matter your style, we wish you good health and wealth in the New Year!