While studies show that people who exercise in the morning are more likely to stick with it, the logistics of early morning workouts—like finding the time to shower before work—can be a headache.
Gym or yoga studio showers are packed in the morning, and going back home to shower isn't ideal. So we got in touch with nutritionist Carolyn Brown, OB/GYN Shannon Clark, and two dermatologists—Jill Javahery and Cybele Fishman—to get the scoop on how to get away with not showering after the gym.
The good news? It is possible. It just takes some strategizing. Here's what they had to say.
1. Eat the right foods.
According to Carolyn, certain foods can make you smell a lot worse than others. "Onions, garlic, and coffee change the smell of your body odor," she tells mbg. She also cautions that avoiding carbs can cause a specific (and not great) stench, so keep that in mind if you're skipping the shower after you workout.
Drinking enough water is another great way to avoid bad post-shower smells.
2. Know which areas to wipe down.
As you're already aware, certain areas are more prone to produce odors than others—most notably, the armpits and groin area. "There are two kinds of sweat glands, eccrine and apocrine," says Cybele. "It is the bacterial breakdown of apocrine sweat that usually causes stinkiness—you have apocrine glands in the armpits and genital regions, so those are the key places to try to clean if you don't have time to shower."
Additionally, not taking proper care of your skin after the gym can lead to breakouts and acne.
"To avoid acne and fight off bacteria, use a cleansing wipe on your face, chest, and upper back immediately after working out, especially if you're prone to acne in these areas," says Jill.
As for cleaning up down there, Shannon recommends using an unscented wipe to wipe down the armpits, vaginal and buttock areas, neck, chest, underneath the breasts and abdominal folds. "Women with thick hair can carry damp workout sweat with them for several hours, so be sure to wipe around your hairline, especially at the back of the neck," she adds.
3. Change your underwear.
Here's an easy one from Shannon: Change your underwear. Even if you work at a legging-friendly office and prefer workout clothes that double as work clothes, packing an extra pair of underwear isn't exactly a heavy lift, and it will help you avoid odors and infections.
Jill also suggests avoiding clingy fabrics on showerless gym days and opting for cotton, as your skin will breathe more easily this way.
4. Use the right products.
Now that you know which areas to pay special attention to, make sure you're stocked up with the right products. "Simple Radiance Cleansing Wipes can be used on face or body," Cybele says. "I also love the Herban Essentials towelettes. For the face, I would stick to the lavender as the peppermint, lemon, and orange may irritate the face. You can also use these in armpits and groin, and they are individually wrapped. These are great for using as a natural hand cleaner as well when you don't have a sink. M-61 Power Glow Peel pads are great for acne-prone or oily skin after a workout."
Now that you know you don't have to shower after a workout, you can conquer all your fitness goals...right?