I used to wear my street clothes to the gym. True story. I’d walk in, scoff at the men who’d plunked down who knows how much for a pair of nylon workout shorts, beeline to the treadmill without stepping foot in the locker room (to change into what? Pfft, waste of time!), and run about a mile in a T-shirt, skinny jeans, and Vans. If you’ve ever seen that guy and wondered, “Who the hell is that guy?”, well, that guy is me. Or at least he was.
Much has changed since that time. I’m older and wiser, and, on the advice of my extremely intelligent wife, I now reserve an entire drawer of my dresser for workout clothes that are actually appropriate for working out.
Until recently, I thought I had finally sorted out all the clothing and accessories I needed to succeed in my journey to a slick, sexy body. Then something came out of left field and totally changed the way I exercised. A hat. That’s right, I now wear a hat to work out at the gym. And you should too. Here’s why.
It started off innocently enough: I bought a New York Giants hat hat I really liked and I couldn’t stop wearing it. I’d wear it to work, I’d wear it at home, and I’d wear it pretty much everywhere short of in the shower. As I walked into the Crunch near my office one evening, an idea flashed into my brain that altered my life from that moment forward: What if I kept my hat on during my workout? It’s probably my greatest idea since the talk show I came up with where the host and guests are all covered in bees. I call it “The Morning Buzz.”
I typically exercise right after work, meaning all the thick hair goo I use to maintain the illusion of a full, lush head of hair melts directly into my eyes the moment I start sweating. This causes my eyes to itch and burn, which causes me to run to the locker room to grab a towel to wipe the sweat away, which distracts from the workout and totally ruins my mile time. Also, it’s really, really painful.
I had worn sweatbands before, but found them to be uncomfortable and, honestly, just not my style. But the hat fit perfectly and stayed securely in place while I was running on the treadmill. Now, instead of pouring directly into my eyeballs, the sweat was absorbed and actually transported away from my face by my hat’s breathable, space-age technology. Do I know how it works? No! Does it free me from the acidic burn that previously kept me from working out and simultaneously, you know, seeing? Hell, yes!
Now, one might think that a hat would prove to be a distraction at the gym. That it would get in the way while I’m lying on a bench or machine, or earn me unwanted attention for being the Hat Guy. In fact, it’s been just the opposite. Maybe I feel more comfortable in headgear, or maybe I just really like showboating for my favorite teams. All I know is, since I started wearing a hat while lifting weights, I feel less self-conscious than ever at the gym. I feel like people aren’t checking out my chicken legs or uneven eyebrows, but instead focusing on the one thing that matters: my preference in New York sports teams.
To this point, the hat also serves another purpose: enforcing the strict yet unspoken rule of “don’t talk to anyone at the gym” by blocking all possible eye contact. Ironically, it occasionally has the opposite effect: I’ve found myself engaged with my fellow workout neighbors who either love, hate, or feel personally attacked by my hat—and I’ve enjoyed the conversations.
Will this eventually lead to a meaningful relationship with a new lifting and/or tailgating buddy? Only time shall tell. In the meantime, I am happy to report that I cover my head when stepping into the temple of gainz and I’m never going back. Gone are the days when I had to pause my workout to mop up the sweat drenching my face and putting my eyes through hell. I thank my hat for that, and soon, you will too.