6 embarrassing workout questions, answered

Flickr/Nottingham Trent UniversityThe more you cycle, the more your body will adjust to ‘saddle sore.’
  • Exercise can bring up some embarrassing questions for athletes of all levels.
  • Smelly workout clothes, gas during class, loads of sweat, and saddle sore are normal – and can be managed.
  • Exercise can cause breakouts, but so can your post-workout brunch routine.
  • You don’t need to wait until you’re in shape to go to the gym. Even the most regular gym rat started as a beginner.
  • View INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

Exercise produces a lot more than endorphins. It also stirs up a variety of questions – some more embarrassing than others. And whether you’re new to working out or you hold the record for most consecutive days at the gym, you’re bound to have a question or two you’re afraid to ask.

That’s why we’re here. Experts answered six of your most embarrassing workout questions.

Why do my workout clothes smell so bad?

You’re getting dressed for the gym and, as you pull your shirt over your head, you get a whiff of something so foul it makes you wonder if a creature is living in your dresser.

Don’t take it as a sign that you stink. “Odor doesn’t come from the sweat itself; it comes from the bacteria that break down the sweat,” said Katie Horwitch, a New York City-based trainer with Aaptiv, an audio-based workout platform. Those bacteria have had “a field day” if you’ve stuffed your sweaty clothes in a bag after you wear them or even throw them in the hamper when they’re still sweaty, she added.

If you can’t wash your clothes right away, Horwitch said to hang them to dry before you throw them in the hamper so the sweat can evaporate. She also recommended adding a quarter-cup of white vinegar to your laundry to help deodorise it. Wash your clothes inside out, too, since sweat and bacteria accumulate on the inside of clothes.

Read more:
This gym bag cleans your sweaty workout clothes

Why do I fart when I exercise?

The lights are dimmed, the mood is set, and you’re gracefully moving into child’s pose when, out of nowhere, you rip a big one. Yes, passing gas happens – and especially during exercise.

But why? According to Horwitch, when you’re moving, jumping, and twisting, your organs are moving, jumping, and twisting right along with you. The good news, she said, is you can minimise your gas by avoiding carbonated beverages and gas-producing foods like cruciferous veggies, wheat, and dairy before a workout.

Why do I sweat so much?

If your excessive sweating is limited to your workouts and not something that happens 24/7 (in which case it could be a condition called hyperhidrosis), “congratulations, you’re a normal human being,” Horwitch said. That’s because sweat is your body’s way of cooling you down. In fact, you can think of it as your built-in air conditioning unit, she said.

Still, some people sweat more than others, based on a variety of factors including genetics and how fit they are. “Fitter people will actually start sweating sooner in their workout, when their body is at a lower body temperature, because their bodies are more efficient at turning their internal AC unit on,” Horwitch explained.

SweatWerayuth Tes / ShutterstockIn general, fitter people begin sweating sooner in workouts.

Does exercise cause acne?

If you’re ready to abandon your workout because of the massive breakout on your face or chest, you’re not alone. Exercise can cause a variety of breakouts, including acne, contact dermatitis, heat rash, and folliculitis. in some people.

But before you point the finger at the hour-long sweat session you did the day before, consider that the real culprit could be your insistence on wearing your cute activewear out to brunch afterward.

“While you might look good, all that bacteria is forming in your clothes and on your skin to help break down your sweat,” Horwitch explained. That’s why you need to change out of sweaty workout gear as soon as possible, and ideally, take a quick shower.

Horwitch also said it’s a good idea to carry around a pack of cleansing towels to clear off any makeup residue before your workout and to wipe the sweat away afterward.

Do I need to get in shape before taking a class?

If you think the ripped exercisers in the front row of the 5 a.m. spin class have always been that fit, remember: Every expert was once a beginner. That’s why Tony Carvajal, a certified CrossFit trainer with RSP Nutrition, a sports performance supplement company, told INSIDER there’s no reason to feel intimidated or overwhelmed. “Just show up and take it one day at a time, and slowly you will start seeing improvements,” he said.

It can also be a good idea to go early, introduce yourself to the instructor as a first-timer, or tag along with a more seasoned friend.

Is saddle sore a real thing?

Cyclists know that being “sore down there” after a workout is a real thing. In fact, Horwitch said most people feel some sort of discomfort their first time on an indoor cycling bike. “It’s a new exercise and a small seat, so finding the most comfortable position that also feels natural is going to be about trial and error,” she said.

If you continue to feel “saddle sore” beyond your first class or two, you might need to check your bike setup since the saddle isn’t one-size-fits-all. To find the proper alignment for you, make sure you’ve got a very slight bend in your knee at the bottom of your pedal stroke, Horwitch said. “Your leg should be straight enough that you can reach the bottom of the pedal stroke without bouncing on the seat, but not so straight that your knee locks or you feel like you have to rock side to side to get your feet to go full circle,” she explained.

If the problem persists, consider buying a padded seat cover or even padded leggings. Consistency is key, though: The more you cycle, the more your body gets conditioned to it.

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