So the gym might not be the sexiest place on earth. But, who says that it can’t be one of the most social? However unlikely, SPAC, Blomquist and the Evanston Athletic Club are some of the best places to meet guys on campus. Yes, The Keg or a fraternity party would be obvious choices, but those get old quickly. Guys flock to the gym from all corners of the university and, like it or not, they could be on the prowl.
“She looks good, is the first thing I think of,” Weinberg sophomore John Boarden said about his first impression of a girl in the gym. “I think it's good that girls take care of their bodies and that they’re not afraid to go into the gym where there’s guys lifting heavy weights and stuff.”
And he’s not the only one looking.
“Honestly, I think ‘nice,’ you like to keep yourself in shape and that’s a good quality,” Weinberg junior Mykel Beygel said. “But my first impression, I guess, depends on what you’re wearing. You know, some girls go to the gym to be seen.”
However, not all girls want to be checked out when they’re beet red and sweaty, but it certainly helps to be prepared for it.
“Sometimes I’m like, ‘ew, I’m gross’ when I’m working out,” Weinberg freshman Audrey Pelfer said, “but I’m not really embarrassed about it. Being in cute workout clothes helps with that.”
So, how can you look cute at the gym? At a time when function can override fashion, it is possible to make the SPAC track a workout runway.
Try a bold sports bra. Most of us absolutely need to wear a sports bra when we work out, so we might as well own it. Target’s exclusive C9 by Champion line makes sports bras in multiple cute (but still supportive) styles. “The colors are really fun,” said Pelfer, who especially loves the fluorescent ones. Whether solo or peeking out of a t-shirt, the gym is the only place where a visible bra isn’t skanky—take advantage.
Go for a technical top. Non-cotton materials help to whisk away sweat, rather than absorb it and leave you with unattractive sweat stains. Graduate student Michelle Marcus, who works out every day, said she gets hers at Old Navy, although their selection can be hit or miss. Forever 21 also carries a variety of solid, striped and brightly-colored tanks sure to be noticed for as little as $8.80.
Comfortable shorts are key. Although they can be pricey, Nike’s "Tempo" running shorts (or any other brand’s variation) are really the way to go. “I love my Nike shorts,” Weinberg freshman Eleanor Jacobs said. They’re loose on the leg, which flatters any body (or booty) type. Also, with conveniently built-in underwear, they’re perfect for those who are more comfortable commando. Jacobs pointed out an added perk, “When you run out of underwear, you can still wear them.”
Caution: camel toe. Leggings are an excellent choice for the colder months or for those who choose to ride stationary bikes in the gym. However, they must fit correctly or you could be risking an embarrassing camel toe. Designer activewear brands like Lululemon and Lucy carry stylish leggings that can be fit for you in the store, but cost up to $98. For a slightly cheaper version, Gap Body’s leggings are practical with cute and colorful accents.
Some accessories are necessary. To avoid distracting flyaway hair sticking to your forehead, Lululemon’s "Slipless Headband" has a rubber grip on the inside to keep it in place. To stay hydrated, carry a Bobble water bottle. It comes in every color imaginable and filters your water with every sip.
Even the body-conscious should show off. If you’re still not sold on the idea of dressing up for the gym, a big t-shirt can bring even more positive attention. Wear one that represents a student group, sports team or charity organization to show your true colors and offer an easy conversation starter.
Don’t be that girl. “You can tell when a girl is trying too hard,” Medill sophomore Antonia Cereijido said. “They’ll wear no clothing and walk on the treadmill rather than actually getting a workout. They just look kind of silly.” Remember ladies, health is important, so when at the gym you should still be the number one priority.
Editor's note: The original version of this article said Evanston Athletic Center instead of Evanston Athletic Club.