Gym Confessions: Girl, You Stink


deodorantWe all have those days. You know, the really busy ones when you start your period, haven't shaved in a week, and you can't remember if your last shower was before or after President Bush left office.

On those days, please, please, please don't stand next to me at the gym.

During hip hop class--we're doing Closer by Neo--I kept messing up. I smelled some powerful body odor, and I kept thinking: Girl, you stink.

It's great to get funky, but someone was getting really funky, if you know what I mean.

I don't claim to be a picture of body odor perfection, sometimes my stuff stinks. And I forget to put on deodorant all the time. So often, that I keep some in my purse. And if there's none in my purse, I dab soap from the ladies' room under my arms. With this trick, I can usually pass the sniff test until I get home. My DH will let me know if a problem develops

But some people--especially at the gym--just totally smell. I think it's mainly because they're not washing their workout clothes. I see it all the time. Girls will show up to class in the same outfit they had on the day before. I don't care how cute that shirt is if it's growing it's own legs and learning how to walk.

According to WebMD, sweat itself doesn't smell. But the bacteria that live and breed in our sweat produce that tangy, musty odor. Yes, sweat is natural and normal. It's just that it stinks. Here are tips for controlling BO while exercising:

  1. After washing with soap and completely drying, immediately apply an underarm antiperspirant. Remember, deodorants do not prevent sweating. They mainly mask the smell of the bacteria on your sweaty skin. Antiperspirants are chemical agents that reduce sweating. Many antiperspirant preparations also contain a deodorant, which helps to mask the smell. Check the product you use to make sure it contains an antiperspirant. Use an all-natural product if you like, whatever works for you.
  2. Keep your underarms dry. Bacteria have a hard time breeding in dry areas of the body.
  3. Try a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water to fight body odor. Use one teaspoon of peroxide (3%) to one cup (8 ounces) of water. Wipe this on affected areas (underarm, feet, groin) with a washcloth. This may help destroy some of the bacteria that creates odor.
  4. If sweat from working out is your #1 cause of body odor, wash your workout clothes often. Sweaty gym clothes are a bacteria-breeding ground.
  5. Change your diet. Sometimes, fatty foods, oils, or strong-smelling foods like garlic, curry, and onions, can seep through your pores and cause body odor. (Always see a doctor or dietitian before making drastic dietary changes.)
  6. If you have excessive sweating (called hyperhidrosis), talk to your doctor. There are many treatment options for those with more severe sweating who desire more permanent treatments. Also, certain medical problems can lead to excessive sweating. Your doctor can make a diagnosis and prescribe treatment.
  7. Shaving your underarm regularly will help prevent the accumulation of bacteria and can reduce sweat and odor.

True, in some societies, body odor is acceptable. But in New Jersey, it's not. And don't even get me started on women who wear maxi pads but don't change them often enough. My nose is sensitive, and I know when that's going on. Mix that stank with body odor, and it's enough to make me start dancing around without any music.

Today, at the gym, I was finally able to ignore whoever-it-was with the wacky smell. I'm not brave enough to say anything about it even if I knew exactly who it was.

Do you notice people smelling like BO? Do you do anything about it besides holding your nose?

bad habits, body image, exercise, time for you, weight loss


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fluud7 fluud7

when i work out, i am stinky. if i'm just at home, i maintain a pretty decent smell. i was at the gym a few months ago and was on the elliptical next to this guy who SERIOUSLY need a shower or SOMETHING! i was so relieved when he finished up!

callm... callmeann

My husband used to use typical antiperspirant but he worked outside as often as he did at his desk, so in the summer, his BO was so bad, there was a teeny hint of it even as he stepped out of the shower.  He is very sensitive about it and washes thoroughly every chance he gets.

When he got that famous email about antiperspirant causing lymphoma and breast cancer, he chose to believe it because he had a fatty tumor the size of an orange removed from under the muslce under his arm.  I don't necessarily believe that antiperspirant causes cancer, but that's not the point of this.  My point is that ever since he switched to using a deodorant-only product, his body odor has let up trememdously.  He can often wear a shirt twice before washing it, if it isn't hot weather or he only wore it for an hour or two.  I think those products have an antibacterial component that just addressed his particular brand of skin-beasties.

mommy... mommyoftoddlers

Thanks for sharing this 1st of all some people just need this info, I sweat when i work out and My armpits are ones to smell but I put a heck load of it before I go work-out. I do not use my gym clothes back to back I agree on that they need to be washed often and with some type of bacteria killer. I have encountered some stinky people at the gym and man oh man did I want to run away.

mlreg... mlregalado

I was my clothes after every run, sometimes I will wear my bottoms over again but not often. I used to put on deodorant 2-3 times a day because I used to stink really bad. I guess I grew out of it. One thing I can't stand is exercising with someone who smells like a gym bag, or sour laundry, I would never do that to someone else.

mehamil1 mehamil1

As a sociologist, I just want to point out that this is a cultural thing. Smelling BO isn't harmful. In many parts of the world there isn't enough clean water to properly wash, that's why the smell is acceptable. While yes, smelling good is more acceptable to smelling bad, I just have to share that many people have allergies to the chemicals in many deodorants and perfumes. I myself would rather smell a bad case of BO than someone who put on way too much perfume. I use a natural deodorant that's a salt water mixture. I can't stand the fact that they put so many needless chemicals in deodorants. I have never been putting them on the thinnest part of my epidermis where those chemicals are immediately absorbed into the skin. The long term effects of these chemicals are not known. However, I would rather someone be healthy and smelly than cover everything up through artificial means.

AmaliaD AmaliaD

sticky people make me want to vomit (i am pregs) but i hate that!!  good post... wash your arses ladies!

JuLiA... JuLiAnSmOmMy317

hahaha...i am the type that will tell them they stink... lol... not to be mean but to just let them know.... thats kinda nasty imo....

omg i would die if someone told me that...buts that why i make sure i wouldnt ever be put in that situation....

i only have a couple workout outfits but as soon as i get back from the gym or even when i do my own thing at home..they go right in the washer!!

Erika... Erika_Steele

damn, this post grossed me out. Body odor (shivers) Ick.  I never thought about putting deordorant in your purse.  I often forget to put it on.

nonmember avatar sheri

Just to let some folks know who are shall we say...less informed, there is a disease called trymetholaminuria or tmau that MANY people suffer from. It causes one to emit a constant odor ranging from garbage to fecal odor. It has NOTHING to do with poor hygeine and the # of baths one takes will not help those who suffer from this disorder. So if any of you know of someone who seems to have a bad odor about them on a regular basis, this may be the problem so have a little compassion for what it must be like to walk a mile in their shoes...

nonmember avatar AGH

I have very good hygiene habits...I also have a hormonal imbalance and don't wear my workout clothes more than once between washes...after 45 minutes I smell so bad...and sometimes I leave the gym because I'm like "I really stink"...I have to use antibacterial soap to shower and prescription strenth deodorant...but when I sweat it's over ya'll!!! I think the bacteria feed on the hormones and emit a mightier stink...give some of us a break on being stinky - it is a gym and the smell isn't because I or my clothes are dirty...

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