Since last spring, I’ve been going to Body Pump classes a couple of times a week at my local gym. And, by golly, I love Pump. I love the daggy music, especially the bicep track to a dreadful cover of ‘Eye of the Tiger’. I love that my local gym is run by the YMCA, and, as such, is a bit more budget than other gyms I’ve gone to in the past. I love that there are no mirrors in the group fitness room (seriously, I do not need to see myself from all possible angles as I tone). I love that I can feel my body getting stronger and that, after that first ten minutes, the endorphins kick in and I’m having a blast even though muscles I never thought I had are aching. I love the smug feeling I get when reading health recommendations regarding physical exercise, because I’m Just Do(ing) It. I love the sexual-political innuendo that Pump instructors slip in (tee hee) – yes, I can go deeper, can you? YES, OH, YES, WE CAN.
What I don’t love, though, is gym fashion. It’s the (sweaty) pits. I personally can’t do the Lorna Jane esque work out outfit – a singlet in a pastel colour, motivational slogan optional, and a pair of three quarter length leggings. Which, incidentally, become transparent when sweaty – your call as to whether you want the person behind you to know far too much about you after you’ve shared a deep and meaningful squat track together.
Some people can get away with the cute gym girl look. Specifically Elle Woods. Others can’t. Specifically me, although Elle and I share a lot of other commonalities (a subject for another post). See the problem is, I’m no gym poser. When I go, I go hard (tee hee). So, I get hot. Really hot. And Sweaty. Really sweaty, and sweaty everywhere, even, bizarrely, my elbows. It’s like they’re crying little tears of sweat. That cute pastel outfit? It’s soaked and clinging two minutes into the squat track. Me? I’m just a hot mess (and not in a good way).
So what I’ve been wearing of late to the gym is my around the house outfit - Gasp – because it is comfortable and I don’t have to be distracted by it during my workout. I can instead concentrate on perfect form, and that bead of sweat about to drip from the end of my nose. I’m OK with the bottom portion of this outfit, namely my country road grey marle track pants – they’re cotton, so they breathe, and they’re dark enough to not show sweat. They’re also rather flattering, if a pair of track pants can be called such. (Next winter I’m buying myself three pairs: one for home, one for gym, and one for those visits to Costco or greater Queanbeyan when only your best going out trackies will do).
On top, though, is where the real problems begin. I’ve been wearing my grey marle ANU tee shirt. Which I love to bits, like all my ANU tee shirts before it. It’s big and baggy, which means I’m deliciously cool and comfortable in it. It’s also long, which is great for my longer torso, particularly as I don’t want to share my belly with everyone in class during overhead lifting sets. It’s also got a super high crew neck, so I, and my Pump classmates, are safe from accidental boob flashes (I have seen this happen A LOT at gyms. I refuse to let my nipples become a pair of bouncy statistics)
Problem is, though, it’s the most singularly unflattering garment in all creation. I honestly feel the need to walk around each member of class after we finish, and explain to them that, actually, I’m normally pretty stylish, and, actually, yes, I have a waist, a real one, under the overhanging outcrop of my bust, and, actually, no, I’m not a swamp creature, and, actually, yes, I do dress in colours other than grey marle. Although, to be fair, most people, myself included, are so thoroughly Pumped out that they don’t give a damn about style, waists, busts, swamps and grey marle. Just get me a hot shower and some tiger balm, stat.
Maybe this whole ANU tee shirt thing is a good learning exercise for me, proving that yes, I can look like a total dag, go out, in public, with other people, and still have a great time. But I still think (to use a Pumpism) that I ought to BRING IT a bit more in the style stakes at the gym, without compromising the physicality that is, after all, the aim of the game.
So this week, in between setting exams, grading papers, and writing thesis, I’m going in search of Gym Tee Shirt Perfection. And I’m going hard. Because, OH YES, I can.