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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Lindalu2 Lindalu2

Wow- I don't think there have been any stinky people at Yoga or Pilates or even on the treadmills where I go .

But that was a valuable piece you just shared. I can't imagine thinking its okay to wear dirty workout clothes or not taking a shower every day. Its just yukkkky to stink. I don't like myself when I haven't washed up. ;-)

lizma... lizmarie1975

When my SD was here last summer she was at the very beginning stages of puberty.  I could be in a car with her with windows wide open and still smell her.  I asked her if she was wearing deodorant and she said no.  We stopped at the nearest store, bought deodorant, and she applied it then and there.  I couldn't take the smell.  I explained to her that at her age kids are mean and if she didn't start wearing it regularly kids would start teasing her.  It was a struggle to get her to remember but it's been 6 months since we've seen her so I can only hope that her hygiene habits have improved.

I wear deodorant every day and keep an extra at work for those hot, humid, sticky days.

Azure Azure

I don't shave my armpits or legs, and I don't stink, so I think that last tip was a bit off the mark. Seriously, if hair under the arms were such a huge source of body odor, men everywhere would reek. And most of them don't.

Momma... MommaTasha1003

I love mud-holes & all things tomboy... BUT I cannot stand being dirty-stinky! I HAVE TO take a shower every night If I try to skip, I just pay for it cause I will wake up at midnight & wont be able to sleep again unless I shower!

Im very sensitive to smell. so i cant wear perfume or lotion & it took me forever to find a deodorant that didnt give me a migraine.

babyg... babygirlsofmine

I envy those who don't need to use deodorant.  My husband rarely ever smells except after a really hard workout at the gym, then  he would be asked to wear deodorant.   My Father and girlfriend never use deodorant.  If they do emit a smell, it's a very faint musky smell...not like the really powerful ones that are overwhelming. I, however, have to shower and use deodorant every single day otherwise I can't stand to smell myself.   I haven't yet encountered smelly women at the gym but at places like school, library or public can be quite poweful.

zachy... zachysmommy04

OMG my friend in high school had the WORST smell when she had her period. One day in class I actually went to the bathroom 2 times just to get away from the smell so I could breath.  I held my breath as long as I could for 45 minutes till class was over. Just thinking about it makes me ill.

MomOf... MomOfJandM

I know just what you mean, back in High School there was a girl that smelled so bad.  We had to play volleyball and rotate positions....  NO ONE wanted to rotate into her old position, because she smelled so bad it would linger in that spot for a long time. 

sherr... sherryhysell

You dont have to be brave to let someone know its time to schedule some basic hygiene into their day. We had a girl in our highschool class who was poor and didn't have money enough for supplies nor inside plumbing. I collected money from most of the classmates and gave it to the teacher who bought everything she needed and saw to it she was allowed to come early to school to use the shower room. I saw her years later and she thanked me for that and she had always known it had been me who had started the whole thing. And i was glad to see (and smell) she had very good bathing habits as an adult.

coke2pep coke2pep

I agree with MamaTasha and Sherryhysell!

RanaA... RanaAurora

One thing to keep in mind is some women, especially at a gym trying to lose weight, may have hormone issues.  That has a unique (and not pleasant) smell that honestly is REALLY hard to control.

While it sucks, body odor can be from problems that are NOT lack of personal hygiene.

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