Smelling at the gym is a necessary evil. While it might not be appealing to those around you, it’s actually the body’s way of keeping you cool as your temperature rises and riding your body of the toxins you produce on a regular basis. When the body sweats in produces acid in various sweat areas. This acid is secreted and when it makes contact with the air and dries is produces a sour smell. Sweat is also considered a food source for bacteria living on the skin; thus, when it reaches the top layer of your skin bacteria begins to feed off of it producing an unappealing smell (http://www.medimanage.com/my-worries/more-articles/do-you-sweat-excessively-here-are-the-solutions.aspx).
Obviously we are not going to prevent sweating, especially for those who make exercise a regular practice; however, there are steps to take that help mitigate smell.
Practice Good Hygiene: It goes without saying that showering on a regular basis is critical for controlling smell. Many people underestimate the value of using a loofah when showering. A loofah exfoliates and removes the outer layer of dead skin. Its added benefits include increasing circulation and making skin softer, smoother and cleaner. Loofahs can be purchased at any local drug store and should be replaced every 3 months for optimal effectiveness. Wearing a deodorant designed for high activity levels is imperative. Consider trying Degree Men’s Sport Deodorant.
Care for Gym Clothing and Equipment: Always wear clean clothing to the gym and wash items as soon as possible after exercising. The best way to clean exercise clothing is by washing in extra hot water with a sport detergent (Consider Pro Wash Active Wear Detergent). In addition, adding a cup of baking soda to the wash can help rid gym clothing of smells. Keep your gym bag smelling fresh by leaving it open every night to air out and using products such as Febreeze Sport Extreme Odor to help prevent smells. An effective way to control odors from tennis shoes is by placing fabric softener dryer sheets in them after your work out. Caring for your gym bag is essential and investing in a washable bag is helpful. If you change clothing after the gym, particularly if your clothing will sit in a gym bag for any length of time, placed soiled items in Ziploc Sports Bags to control the smell from seeping into your bag.
Focus on Lifestyle: Diet plays a major role in body odor. Certain food, particularly spices such as garlic and curry, can produce ill-smelling sweat. In addition, certain studies indicate caffeine consumption can actually produce sweat and increase excessive odor (http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-edge-newspaper-2009/aug-28a.html). Consider what you consume and how you might regulate that. Stay hydrated and avoid consuming high levels of alcohol. Finally, wear clothing made of natural fibers such as cotton and silk to prevent sweat from being trapped against your body.
Keep in mind that you are less likely to smell your own odor and women are actually better at recognizing body odor (http://health.infoniac.com/top_amazing_facts_about_your_body_odor.html). There is nothing worse than being next to someone at the gym who smells bad. Using the tips above will help you keep yourself clean and fresh. If you have taken steps to control body odor and are still suffering consider seeing your doctor or dermatologist. Sweat and body odor, while normal, in certain cases can be indicative of illness or vitamin deficiencies.
Kimberly Miller is Commercial & Fitness Talent, Writer and stylist. You can view her website at www.KimMillerStyle.com, visit her AZ Republic Fitness Column at www.azcvoices.com and listen to her podcast at www.theproexposure.com