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What's Causing Your Odor at the Gym?

Fitday Editor

Sweating at the gym is normal and an essential part of any workout. Working out raises your heart rate, makes you breathe faster and elevates your core temperature, all of which helps to get you fit and healthy. When you start to heat up internally, you start to sweat. This is your body's natural way of cooling down. Sweating prevents you from overheating, and some even say it helps to release toxins.

Sweat itself is odorless, but the moistness of it acts as a breeding ground for bacteria, which can make you stink. While a little body odor with your workout is normal, excessive body odor might become offensive and make you uncomfortable. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to minimize the amount of negative smells you produce at the gym.

Check Your Personal Hygiene Products

The products used on your body before and after a workout can help prevent or reduce odor during your workout. Body washes containing essential oils, such as tea tree oil, have anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties to help reduce bacterial growth on your skin. Antiperspirants can help to prevent you from sweating, which reduces moisture and the potential for bacteria to grow. Deodorants containing essential oils can also help reduce the chances that odor-causing bacteria will form.

Watch What You Eat

Sweat is typically odorless, but sometimes, depending on what you've eaten, your sweat might be what's causing you to smell, not bacteria. Certain foods release enzymes that become odorous when you sweat. Foods like garlic, onions, broccoli and cabbage can all cause your sweat to stink. To reduce odor, try not to eat these foods the day of or evening before you work out.

Your Workout Gear Might Be to Blame

Before you start your workout, smell your workout clothes. Do they have any odor? If they have even the slightest odor, it will only multiply once they become damp with sweat. To prevent odor on your clothes, wash them immediately after your workout. If you can't wash the smell out of them, try a sports-wash laundry detergent, or soak your clothes in vinegar and baking soda before you wash them.

Try Clothing Made for Sweaty Workouts

Special wicking fabric is made for sweaty workouts. Wicking fabric draws sweat away from body and absorbs it. The less sweat you have on your skin, the less bacteria will build up and start to smell. Your clothes might be soaked and even a little smelly, but your skin will stay drier and less odorous.

Reduce Your Body Hair

While hair is not the culprit behind body odor, it can make it worse. Hair is porous, meaning it will absorb both sweat and bacteria when you work out. If you want to minimize odor, try shaving or reducing body hair on areas that get extra stinky during your workout.


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Jessi Andricks isn't just passionate about healthy living, she's made healthy living her life. Through her training in Health Coaching, Yoga and Fitness, she is able to blend together the best of all worlds, creating innovative online wellness programs and Detox Yoga Workshops, as well as teaching daily yoga, barre and fusion fitness classes. Jessi uses her knowledge to help others live healthy, happy lives. Look for her upcoming book, Detox 101, and check out more at

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