Choosing to shower before or after the gym isn’t as easy as one may think.
On one hand, you’re going to get super sweaty and other people there probably won’t mind. And on the other hand, you don’t want to stink up the place. And on your (third?) hand, you don’t want to have to shower multiple times a day, as it’s time-consuming and bad for your skin.
So- should you shower before or after your workout? Well, it depends on your hygiene. If you sweat a lot while you sleep or stink already, you should shower before. However, if you don’t really stink or anything, you can probably put it off until after your workout. (Just remember to wear deodorant!)
Let’s explain this and help you figure it out- even if you’re still on the edge. Here’s what we will cover in this article:
- We will discuss exactly what factors determine if you need to shower or not before a workout.
- We will talk about general gym hygiene practices.
- We will discuss how to reduce your smell in the gym.
- We will also cover some general skincare stuff.
- And we will go over a ton of frequently asked questions (questions you probably have!) about showering before or after going to the gym.
So, let’s get into it!
#1 – It All Depends on Your Hygiene, It’s Different for Everybody
Some people don’t EVER shower before their workout and nobody notices. In fact, I’d say MOST people don’t shower before their workout- especially if you’re someone who is working out at 4AM/before work or school.
When I was doing that, I mean- I don’t think ANYONE showered. And honestly, nobody really noticed or minded.
However, there was one exception- there was one guy who just STUNK. I mean, it was literally unbearable. And, if you’re new to my website, I work on an ambulance and in healthcare- I am used to dealing with super stinky people beyond your wildest imaginations.
I have no idea what was going on with this guy, but it even seemed if you were multiple feet away from him you couldn’t even breathe. I felt like a bear under the effects of bear spray!
In that instance, he is definitely someone that needs to shower before the gym.
Likewise, when I was back in high school, tons of people worked out after school- even though they had showered like 9-10 hours earlier and had gotten sweatier throughout the day. That stuff doesn’t really matter.
What we need to objectively look at before we determine when we are showering is:
- How bad do you normally sweat?
- How stinky is your sweat/body odor?
- How manageable is it?
- How bad does it affect other people?
Let’s think- How Bad Do You Normally Smell?
I know some people that just sweat a TON- but they don’t really have a smell or odor with it.
If you’re one of those people, I mean- it doesn’t really make sense to shower before the gym. You don’t really smell or affect other people.
I am that way. Whenever I sweat really bad or exercise- I don’t really emit much of an odor. Sure, there’s always some body odor, but I can be dripping head to toe in sweat and you won’t really smell me.
However, I have a very intense skincare routine due to eczema- and most people won’t have this.
Say you just slept for 8 hours, how bad do you normally smell when you wake up? Some people can get up and not smell at all, and others will REEK.
Assess yourself and think- how bad do you smell after those long periods of not showering? Think of when you sleep, or go to work- how strong is your body odor?
If you have a very strong body odor, it’s probably best you shower before the gym.
But, if you’re not one that has much of a body odor at all, you can likely skip the shower before the gym.
Is Your Smell Manageable?
This is another one I’m sure many of us have learned as we grew up and started going through ‘that phase’- you know, armpit hair, et cetera.
We all start to develop funky smells, and we usually manage it with things like deodorant, perfume/cologne, clean clothes, and a good bathing routine.
- Read: Find yourself always sweating from the armpits no matter what? Try this deodorant found at like literally any grocery store that will get rid of it overnight.
That brings us to another point- is your smell manageable?
For most people, I’d find it hard to believe if you’ve gone 10+ hours without showering you wouldn’t have some sort of smell going on.
But, if you reapply deodorant- will most of it go away?
Most guys at my high school would reapply deodorant before we did wrestling practice or before they went to work out. And it worked wonders, it basically got rid of most of the smell instantly.
And likewise, many people that go to workout in the gym in the morning apply deodorant before they go- and it works wonders.
Hopefully, you’re always applying deodorant before you go to the gym…
So, even if you have a little bit of a funky smell- is it manageable? Will a quick swipe of deodorant fix it? Will changing into gym clothes fix it? Will taking some hygenic wet wipes to your arm pit/sweaty regions fix it?
If you’re able to fix it with methods like that, I’d just do that. The shower is almost overkill and showering that much is bad for your skin.
Plus, the reality is- most people don’t care about a tiny smell at the gym. A really bad smell is the problem, and I think using deodorant and in general, good hygenic practices will eliminate most of the ‘really bad smells’.
Most People Ultimately Don’t Mind You Being Kind of Smelly At The Gym
Look, the truth is- we are all crammed in a small, poorly air-conditioned place where we are working our absolute hardest for hours. Most people won’t care about you having a little smell to you.
Furthermore, for the most part- people don’t workout directly next to one another. We usually keep some distance in between because it’s polite and well- culture haha? It’d be kind of weird to be in someone’s personal space bubble 24/7 when you don’t know them.
Because of the distance and the fact we are all sweating, most people don’t really worry about the smell. In fact, they’re probably more worried about themselves smelling bad than others.
And I haven’t really ever noticed someone’s smell in the gym other than that one guy in particular- but that was really like a freak accident, he was definitely working 10 hours of hard labor and not using any deodorant or anything.
And honestly, when people do smell a bit- it’s very limited as they often move to a different part of the gym or you do too.
And again, if you’re going to a gym expecting it to smell all minty and fresh- you’re in the wrong place. Gyms smell bad and that’s normal, don’t expect it any other way.
#2 – Try and Wear Deodorant and Take Hygenic Steps Every Time You Go To The Gym
I touched on this a bit earlier, but remember guys:
We are crammed into a room, with poor air conditioning, with a ton of sweaty smelly people, for HOURS.
Let’s try to wear deodorant, and take other hygenic steps. Here are some things you can do to help:
Wear clean clothes to the gym.
- Many people reuse gym clothes for months at a time- this is a big no no. Clean it people!
- Apply deodorant before you go to the gym. And try to apply anti perspirant the night before if you have sweating problems. I had serious armpit sweat problems and it was resolved using Certain Dri, which I bought at Target for cheap.
Use hygenic wet wipes in the armpit, and other sweaty areas if you’ve been sweating.
- It’s simple as that. Take a wet wipe to your pits or other areas before you workout- it will work wonders.
Keep your distance.
- No need to workout RIGHT NEXT to someone- in fact, many people might get angry and aggressive at you if you try to do so. So, keep a fair distance from others to keep the smell away- it’s the courteous thing to do anyways.
#3 – Recap – Shower IF You Stink A Lot, Don’t Shower If You Don’t Stink
So, let’s wrap some of that up.
If you’re able to manage your hygiene a bit with some deodorant, perhaps some wet wipes- don’t shower before the gym. You’re fine, people expect some smell anyways, and it’s normal.
However, if you smell really bad, it’s probably best you shower before.
#4 – It’s Bad to Shower Multiple Times a Day, Avoid It If You Can
Most of my readers are men, so I have to share this. I’m sure my lady audience has heard this endless times but:
Showering multiple times a day is REALLY bad for your skin, and you should avoid it if you can.
There are many health risks associated with it, generally including:
- Causing severely dry skin
- Causing severely irritated skin
- Causing rashes, marks, acne, etcetera.
- Ruining our skin’s natural bacteria that keeps it healthy.
If you find yourself having to shower multiple times a day, it is important to have a good skin care routine.
If you’re looking for a good lotion to use after a shower, most simple things at your local grocery store will work.
Are you like me and have severe eczema and sensitive skin? Try Vanicream lotion, it will change your life. (I wrote that review a few years ago, and I had a reader that had her whole life changed around from it, she went from having horrible skin rashes all day to having a normal life again!)
The point is, avoid showering multiple times a day if you can. This is why we ideally want to be clean enough to workout without having to shower, for the sake of our skin.
But, if you have to- which far too often happens with work, school, et cetera- have a good, simple skin care routine to take care of yourself.
#5 – Some People Workout Better When They Shower Before They Workout, Psychologically
Some people just prefer to shower before their workout as it helps them perform better psychologically.
For real, some people just feel ‘cleaner’ and more ready for the gym when they are clean.
So, if that’s you- by all means do it. Just remember, as we stated above, keep your skin in good shape if you’re doing so.
#6 – Frequently Asked Questions
Shower Before or After Morning Workout?
Most people don’t shower before their morning workout unless you stink really bad. To take good care of your skin and save time, it’s fine to shower after your morning workout as long as you don’t stink bad.
Just remember to apply deodorant and wipe down your pits and other smelly areas.
Cold or Warm Shower Before Workout?
Jocko fans will yell at you screaming to take a cold shower, and people like me will just say take whatever.
Personally, I think a cold shower is better as it wakes you up, gets you ready for a workout, and has some health benefits. But, I LOVE a warm shower before a workout as to me it’s therapeutic.
Really, you can do whichever one you prefer- you can’t go wrong either way.
Should I Shower Before Workout?
It depends! If you have a strong body odor or have sweat a lot, it’s best you shower before a workout. But, if you haven’t sweat much or don’t stink that bad, you’re okay to wait to shower after.
Cold Shower Before or After Workout?
It can be a good idea to take a cold shower before a workout as it can help wake you up before a workout. There are some health benefits, but ideas around if cold showers boost muscle growth is still very controversial and not supported by many scientific studies.
Should You Shower After Working Out?
Yes, you should shower after working out. All of that sweat and stink really smells bad after a workout- and it only gets worse. The more sweat, the more bacteria grow, the list goes on.
Furthermore, depending on your workout, you might get bad skin diseases if you DON’T shower. For instance, if you play a contact sport, or do any exercise that involve other people- you could get nasty rashes or things like ringworm!
It’s best to shower after a workout to clear yourself of any bad bacteria, smell good, and get ready for the day.
Although, I used to workout at night right before bed, and I didn’t shower after that. I did get a really bad skin disease once- impetigo- but that’s very rare. I won’t judge you if you don’t shower before bed, but if you’re going to work or school, please do us all a favor and shower.
Is It Ok To Shower Before a Workout?
Yes, it is okay to shower before a workout! In fact, it is welcomed- especially if you stink or smell really bad.
Are Hot Showers Good After a Workout
Yes, hot showers are very good after a workout. They relieve stress, tension on the muscle after working out, and help clean the sweat off better.
What Happens If I Don’t Shower After Exercise
If you don’t shower after exercise, you’ll just stink pretty bad and be very sweaty- for the most part. Sometimes, you can invite bad bacterial diseases like ringworm to grow across your skin, causing huge rashes and bumps.
This happened to me, I didn’t shower after a wrestling meet once and got impetigo everywhere on me. It is VERY rare, but it is a complication of sometimes not showering after exercise.
Remember, we are all being sweaty and gross and sharing equipment- tons of germs will spread around.
It’s best you shower after a workout, but- when I was younger I just didn’t have the time for it because I worked out right before bedtime- so, your mileage may vary.
Should I Shower After A Workout If I Didn’t Sweat
If you workout and didn’t sweat- you should still shower. Truthfully, any workout will cause you to sweat and stink, you probably just didn’t notice it. Especially if you’ve been working out for a while, your body adapts and seems to sweat ‘less’- but it still stinks. You’ll usually always find sweat in your armpits or nether regions.
I’d say the exception is if your workout was something like 5 push ups or less than like 5 minutes. But really, any workout will make you sweat.
The issue is- the sweat that ‘matters’ is the sweat you usually don’t feel. When you think of sweating, you probably think of forehead sweat, but that is like the ‘good sweat’- it’s the sweat that stinks the least.
The sweat you don’t really notice is the bad sweat, because that sweat usually builds up in the stinkiest areas of your body- namely the armpits and nether regions. This sweat stinks the most and you don’t really notice when you sweat down there.
So, really- after any workout it’s good to shower, even if you don’t think you sweat.
But, there are always exceptions to the rule. If you weigh very little and did something like yoga, you probably don’t stink. But, if you did something like running, there’s probably more stink there.
#7 – Conclusion of Should I Shower Before or After My Workout
Well, that was a surprisingly complicated topic.
The point is, if you have a little bit of smell- that’s okay and normal. Gyms aren’t known for smelling great, they smell bad as everyone smells and is sweating in a tight confined area.
But, remember to apply deodorant and come in clean clothes to minmize your smell and be respectful to others.
However, if you do smell REALLY bad- it’s a good idea to shower before.
It can be very rough on your skin to shower multiple times a day, so if you have to do so- apply lotion and take good care of your skin, it’s really important.
Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send them below.