Maintaining a commitment to the gym can feel about as doable as bench pressing twice your bodyweight. Even if you’re among the lucky ones who actually enjoy working out — most of us have to drag ourselves there — you still have to carve out the time for a gym trip.
An hour at the gym can feel like a luxury, so we realize many of you — especially the busiest among you — will roll your eyes and readily dismiss the argument we’re about to make for tacking on another 15 or so minutes at the end your workout for a shower.
But just hear us out. A gym shower offers an array of critical benefits. It can be good for your skin, good for your muscles and, ultimately, it can be good for those around you as it protects them from your funk. After we make our case, we’re pretty sure you’ll reconsider your anti-gym-shower stance and realize that the right body wash is indeed among the gym bag essentials for men.
Without further ado, let’s examine why when you truly analyze the payoff, showering at the gym is really a no-brainer.
It Keeps Your Acne at Bay
Sure, you probably realize that you should wash your face after a sweaty workout — when you let sweat and bacteria linger on your mug, you’re inviting breakouts. But too many people fail to realize that the same applies from the neck down.
If you’re a regular gym-goer who routinely battles body acne, you need to take a look at your exercise routine. Something is almost certainly lacking. Are you wearing gym garb for multiple workouts between washes? Do you fail not only to shower at the gym, but eschew post-exercise cleanup altogether? Or worst of all, do you work out in already nasty gear and then hang out in said nasty gear for a while after you work out?
If you struggle with body acne and you see yourself in any of these descriptions, you need to step up your clean-up game. At the end of your workout, you’re covered in potential pore-clogging, acne-generating gunk. To make matters worse, the friction — your workout gear rubbing against your body — irritates your skin, making it more susceptible to breakouts.
You’re Covered in Bacteria
There’s no way around this. After a workout, you’re pretty much covered in bacteria. How do we know this? Well, studies show that gyms are bacterial hotbeds. It’s gross, but it’s true. Nah, there’s no shortage of bacteria at the gym, so you can be certain that plenty of it manages to make its way onto your frame while you exercise.
Do you really want to take that home with you? We didn’t think so. The thought alone is enough to make a man reach for his charcoal body wash right now.
Reduces Likelihood of Eczema Flare-ups
If you’re an eczema sufferer, you need to be especially careful with your skin during a workout, as a good sweat can be a bad, bad thing for eczema. As the National Eczema Association (NEA) notes, when sweat evaporates, “the skin dries out and is left with a salty residue that can irritate eczema skin and bring on the itch.” Among its recommendations, the NEA touts working out in loose clothes, blotting away sweat as you go and taking a lukewarm shower immediately after a workout.
Helps Your Body Recover
If you spend a few minutes showering after you work out, you’ll be able to bounce back quicker for your next session at the gym. As Healthline lays out, showering after you hit it at the gym “can get lactic acid, the natural chemical reaction that causes soreness, out of your muscles.”
And if you can handle it, a post-workout cold shower has been shown to reduce swelling and tissue damage.
It Can Be the Polite Thing to Do
Apart from all the health benefits, it’s kinda the mannerly move. This is especially true if you’re squeezing in a lunchtime workout before heading back into the office. You don’t want to develop a reputation as that stinky, sweaty dude.
And don’t forget the bacteria every gym-goer invariably totes away from the gym — that is, if they don’t shower and change into some fresh duds. So this isn’t merely about doing your fellow man a solid in terms of olfactory appeal — it’s about doing what you can to avoid spreading gym funk all over your workplace and home or wherever else you might venture after that invigorating gym session.
So if this fact pattern still isn’t enough to persuade you to pack a silicone body scrubber in your gym bag, there’s probably no getting through to you. But if you absolutely refuse to shower before bouncing from the gym, at least do yourself a favor and clean up as soon as you get home. At the very least — the absolute minimum — change out of those sweaty-as-hell, bacteria-laden clothes and slip into something clean.