When I first moved to New York, I wanted to work out in a space that catered to gay men.  David Barton Gym (R.I.P.) was a shrine to gay culture.  Pulsating house music, dim nightclub lighting, and the occasional guest appearance from Amanda Lepore.  As I stood at the entrance in my ratty graphic tee and oversized shorts, I was in awe of this over-the-top gym I’d just joined.  However, it didn’t take long for me to feel out of place. 

There were guys in gold lame spandex, sequined shorts, and neon-colored high top sneakers.  The fitness floor was more like a Jeremy Scott runway than your typical weight room. I quickly realized my fitness fashion needed an upgrade.  My workout gear had to change if I wanted to honor the vibrant culture of the gay gym.

Now, I find myself working out amongst a sea of heterosexuals at CompleteBody in the Financial District.  But I always make sure I’m dressed to perfection.

Gay workout outfit

Running Tights

Running tights are becoming gay men’s very own yoga pants epidemic.  Once a guy develops his quad teardrops, he thinks his tights are suitable pants for public workouts.  I’m a firm believer that running tights alone are for running.  Unless you’re trying to show off your naughty bits to all the other gym goers, it’s best to layer them under shorts.  I live and die by this rule. 

I love Nike’s compression tights.  They fit me perfectly (not a common occurrence at 6’3”).  And they’re sleek and sophisticated.  Not to mention, they make my legs look pretty sick.

Gay workout clothes

Moisture Wicking Shirts

I hate the feeling of being weighed down by sweat, and I sweat a lot.  After 20 minutes of solid activity, I look like I’ve just had a bucket of water dumped on my head.  I love a cotton tank top but the material retains all the liquid.  During a cardio session, my shirt starts slapping into my stomach with the force of a 10-pound dumbbell.  Not desirable.

Moisture-wicking shirts are the perfect solve for the problem.  They whisk the sweat away from my body and keep me from feeling like I got caught in a thunderstorm.  Like the running tights, they work wonders for muscle enhancement (even when it’s not really there).

Gay workout gear

Short Shorts

When I say short shorts, I don’t mean the kind that you’ll see at next month’s Pride parades.  I mean shorts that hit above the knee and show a little bit of thigh.  For starters, who doesn’t want to see their hard work on leg day.  But also, slim cut, modern gym shorts allow me to move freely throughout my workout without any restrictions.  Back in my early David Barton Gym days, I wore basketball shorts that hit a little below the knee.  They were baggy and uncomfortable.  These days, I prefer my gym shorts cut the same as my everyday shorts.

My gym style has evolved dramatically over the last 10 years.  Just as I’d suit up for a special occasion, I feel it’s necessary to dress for success in the weight room.  If you’re in need of a gym style upgrade, don’t hesitate.  You’ll be amazed at how it can change your workouts (and you might get a number or two).