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‘Shirts On’ or ‘Shirts Off’ While Training?

Video thumbnail for vimeo video The Rx Review News Wrap: April 9, 2013 [VIDEO]

Shirts on or shirts off? Jason Khalipa and Rich Froning during the 2013 CrossFit Open

When I dress to workout, I think not only about comfort level, but also what I might inadvertently  subject others to during their WODs. After all, the only kind of muffin top anyone should have to see first thing in the morning is with blueberries…mmm, or chocolate chips (and we come full circle to my body issues, ahem).

However, the ‘keeping-covered’ rule I’ve adopted for myself is not top of mind for all male CrossFitters out there. Count down to a WOD, and shirts start flying like a scene from Magic Mike (fine print: I’ve actually never seen the movie, but I feel I’m safely assuming here). Before you know it, there are a lot of glistening upper bodies–of all shapes and sizes–battling their way through time, reps, and rounds.

I’m not quite sure how I feel about this, so I thought I’d do a Facebook shout out to my girls to get their takes. I figured the comments would come back as: “For those with six packs, take it off! For those with kegs, keep it on!” And while those were present, my ladies had more to say.

Hot Stuff

Maybe Nelly sang it best with his lyrics: “It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes”. Kicking ass in any workout, you’re bound to get warm (and if you’re not, you’re either outside in Wisconsin, or you’re simply not trying hard enough). With warmth comes sweat, and that’s where us ladies have to draw the line. None of us want your sweat on us. “In a gym where we are all using the same equipment and area, I want to see something at least making an attempt to trap the sweat,” says Rene B.

The girls were all in agreement on this. And if I may borrow a line from Judge Judy: “Don’t [sweat] on our shoes and tell us it’s raining.” (She uses “piss,” but you get it.)

Body Type

Like I mentioned, a little eye candy goes a long way. But truth be told, most of the girls weren’t opposed to the ripply (as opposed to the ripped) removing their shirts. “The shirtless version of the previously stated doesn’t bother me as long as the dude is busting his ass, working hard, fatigued, and getting shit done,” says Kirstin C. “I have much more respect for any man (shirtless or not) who is pushing himself as hard as he can than the dude who is lolly-gagging around, staring at himself in the mirror (insert cut, shirtless man here) whilst doing arm curls and socializing.”

A few ladies were even inspired by the guys going shirtless–regardless of how they looked. “It doesn’t bother me, in fact if they look decent it pushes me a tad bit, like picturing myself with a little half shirt as I am banging out [my workout],” says Elisha H. And if the body is out of shape? “Then it pushes me even more thinking, ‘Lord I want to wear that halfy, but not if I look like that!’”

Chris Spealler at the 2013 South West Regional (Image Courtesy of CrossFit Games Facebook Page)

Chris Spealler at the 2013 South West Regional (Image Courtesy of CrossFit Games Facebook Page)

Bottom Line

If you’re a human faucet, or as Theresa M. said it best, “a human slip ‘n’ slide,” no matter what you look like, keep the shirt on–or workout by yourself. It’s a social level for which none of us are ready. However,  if you’re can keep the sweat to yourself, and you’re going to bust ass, take it off!

  • Matty

    I’ll admit I am one of those guys who trains topless…I first started doing it because I would get so overheated I’d almost throw up…I still do overheat…but I don’t sweat so much I am dripping sweat as I walk stand still.
    Also what do women think if as myself after the wod I go and clean up any mess I’ve made from sweating (like v-ups or push-ups, etc)

    • carrieg777

      While I can’t speak for all women, I say so long as we’re not having to touch the sweat, it’s all good. So feel free to sweat and clean up, just don’t do it in a rounds WOD where we might have to use equipment after you before the wipe down can happen. Obviously, some of that isn’t preventable, but do your best, and we won’t bitch (about that anyway!).

  • Dustin

    not shirts off kinda guy, yet. That’s why I’m going to crossfit though. There are a couple guys, who probably weigh a little more than me that go sans shirt, but I’m still too shy or something, lol. But, 15 more pounds and some more tattoo work and I’ll feel a little more confident 😀

    • carrieg777

      Shirt or no shirt, keep up the great work!

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The Rx Review is an independent fitness website, reporting on the Sport of Fitness, functional fitness news, The CrossFit Games, health and diet related information, and also provides reviews on sports performance products.