Should You Shower Before You Hit The Gym?
Here at GQ Middle East, we aim to provide answers to all your burning questions of both the fitness and personal hygiene varieties. We now present a few helpful answers on the rare crossover topic: Should you take a shower before you work out?
Before you work out? Are you insane?
Listen, man. There's no nice way to say this, so I won't waste your time trying to find one: you really, really stink. The most recent shower you took before your morning workout was after yesterday's morning workout, which means that for the past 22 hours, you've been gradually building up a titillating aroma composed of equal parts stubborn body odour, lunchtime to-go burrito, hot summer temperatures and occasional cloud of second hand smoke. This might not offend people who briefly and casually come within your orbit, but if you suddenly take this potent concoction into a weight room and start sweating profusely? Disaster. Be courteous to your fellow gym-goers. They don't deserve to suffer because of your passively accumulated rancidity.
Oh, but I shower at night, so I'm already clean before I head out in the morning.
Fine. You know how bleary-eyed and terrible you feel when you fumble clumsily to snooze your iPhone's alarm clock and stagger out of bed in a state associated more closely with the sentient undead than with functional adult humans? Why go into your workout like that? The pre-exercise shower doesn't have to be a full-on affair, with shampoo and conditioner and two rounds of body wash and a shave and whatever other ablutions in which you typically engage. Taking an extra two or three minutes in the morning to rinse off the cobwebs will help you feel alert and energised – especially if you're brave enough to handle a cold shower. Since you're already voluntarily getting up at the crack of dawn to put your body through the wringer, you should be taking every available opportunity to make that process less intolerable.
Are there any scientific benefits to taking a pre-workout shower?
There are! A hot shower can help to raise your body temperature, kick-start blood flow, and loosen up stiff muscles that have been lying dormant overnight – think of it as a warm-up routine for your warm-up routine. If you can handle a cold shower, studies indicate that "pre-cooling," especially before cardio sessions, helps to increase the body's capacity for prolonged exercise at higher intensity levels. If you've come to dread those sweltering summer morning runs in sticky, stuffy, how-is-it-this- -hot-already temperatures, a little pre-cooling can help take the edge off.
I remain unconvinced.
Do you want to look good at the gym? Do you? Great, except your raging bed head makes you look like an aspiring boy-band member desperately trying to grow out a faux-hawk before next week's audition. Rinse off next time. You'll be glad you did.