CrossFit Outfits… Explained.

SO… better late than never, right? Let’s just say this post has been in DRAFT mode since January 13th. Yup. It’s been sitting here unfinished for 5+ months. Nice. Anyhow, something I overheard Coach Justin say to the On Ramp class at the box tonight reminded me of this, so I’m finishing it. The cabernet burgers that I was going to post for you will have to wait.

I really like workout clothes. Fun patterns and neon colors. One morning (5 months ago), I was rocking a particularly snazzy new compression shirt and some wide receiver gloves with what I consider a slick paint scheme on them. I felt like a badass.


Then, I got to thinking about socks. You know, THOSE socks. The crazy colored patterned knee high socks that are ubiquitous in the world of CrossFit. At first I was hesitant to purchase any, mainly because I thought they looked stupid with my capris. (I love my capris to the tune of owning 8 pairs of the same style.)

Does anyone else feel like there’s a bit of stigma attached to them? At first, I certainly did.

Take a look at a group of CrossFitters. You’re bound to wonder who’s just wearing them to fit in, and who’s got 10 pairs because they care enough to protect their shins from rope burn, dead lift scrapes and the dreaded botched box jump?

Welp, here’s something that’s going to blow the minds of those who have yet to drink the kool-aid. WE NEED THIS STUFF.

What You Think is An Obnoxious Gym Outfit… Explained.


Why you think this looks silly: It’s big. It covers half my forehead. If you’re not used to wearing more than glasses on a daily basis, wearing something this big sticks out like a sore thumb when you scope yourself in the mirror.

Why I wear this: My hair’s not perfect… I’ve got flyaways going in 14 different directions. Instead of putting palms full of gross hair gel and bobby pins in, I pull my hair back and put on a headband. Keeps my hair out of my face when I’m doing things like burpees and throwing myself upside down against the wall doing handstand pushups. It also keeps the sweat out of my eyes. My 20 minute WOD gets me hot and sweaty. Your 20min stroll on the treadmill does not.


Why you think this looks silly: They look like those leather cuffs that all those hipster punk rock indie musicians wear. I am not a hispter punk rock indie musician. Hence, silliness.

Why I wear these: Ever look at a horse and wonder how its skinny ankles hold up such a giant body? Compared to the rest of my body, my wrists are tiny. So while I’m slowly working up to the ability to throw my body weight up over my head, I need a little reinforcement. I’m not looking for a stress fracture because I didn’t take the proper precautions before lifting heavy. Why do people reinforce the windows of their houses before hurricanes hit? SO THEY DON’T BREAK. Why do CrossFitters wear wrist wraps? SO THEIR WRISTS DON’T BREAK.


Why you think they look silly: I’m a girl. I’m not Jerry Rice. Nor will I ever be. WHY is a girl wearing something from the football section? This girl does not play football! She only drinks beer, eats wings and watches it every Sunday during NFL season.

Why I wear them: Rope climbs. Kettlebell swings. That awkward stage where your calluses go away and you can’t hold on to the bar without ripping them apart after 2 reps of anything. Also, with all the chalk and dirt from gymgoers day in and day out, your hands can get pretty grody when you’re doing things like pushups and burpees. The fun sticky gloves help protect me (and my manicure) from all those things!


Why you think this looks silly: They’re skin tight. Why can’t this girl put some more modest pants on?

Why I wear them: There are waaay too many awkward positions you find yourself in at the CrossFit box that could get weird real fast for both you and your WOD neighbors if you don’t have everything covered. Your baggy shorts and gravity don’t mix when you’re up against the wall. People may see… *ahem* …things. They also run the risk of getting caught in the slide on the rower. Can’t get a full range of motion because the crotch of your basketball shorts hangs too low? You can thank your teenage dream of becoming LeBron James (that you refuse to let go of) for that. In 2003, I was conditioned by my stint as a collegiate rower that baggy shorts have no place in a boat or on an erg. Ever since then, loose shorts have no place in my workout wardrobe. Chub rub while running? No thanks.


Why you think they look silly: Snooki wore them to the beach. So did NBA players in the 80’s and Britney Spears.

Why I wear them: I like to wear skirts and pretty dresses. Skirts and pretty dresses show off your legs. There’s nothing like scrapes and rope burn to ruin an otherwise cute look. Not to mention, that rope burn stuff HURTS! I had such a patch of rope burn after my first trip to CrossFit last year that people kept asking me “EEKS WHAT HAPPENED” for weeks after. I prefer not to do that again.


Why you think they look silly: Wide toe boxes. Duck feet. The fact that it seems like everyone has them.

Why I wear them: Have you ever tried to stand on your bed and hold steady while trying to squat and keep your balance while holding something heavy? Yeah, me neither, but today’s running shoes are just too darn squishy. All the stability is gone, because people have conditioned themselves to run by slamming their feet down heel-first. That -ish hurts. So what do shoe manufacturers do? They make shoes that feel like pillows on your feet! Great for slippers, not so great for stability. You want the path of least wobble between you and the ground when you’ve got triple digits of weightlifting in question. Yes, running shoes are better for running, and oly shoes are better for olympic lifting, but they are (what I consider to be) a really happy medium. I’d rather run in Nanos than oly shoes. I’d rather lift in Nanos than running shoes.

Did that whole pillow/bed metaphor really work? Probably not.


So… before you brush off everyone in the CrossFit community as a koolaid-drinking exercise nut who has nothing better to do with their money than accessorize with as much crap that you never see anyone wear at a globo gym – chew on this for a sec.

We aren’t just wearing all this stuff to make a fashion statement. (I use the term ‘fashion’ loosely… this is coming from a girl who thinks more about her gym outfits than her work outfits.) Wearing socks to protect yourself from rope burn means you’ve got enough strength to climb up to the ceiling. Scraping your shins on DLs means you’ve got proper form. Botching a box jump means you’re challenging yourself with a box that’s high enough.

Having been on the inside of the CrossFit world for a good amount of time now, I get it. People on the outside in think things like socks, compression sleeves, headbands, gloves, wrist wraps and tape are just for show. Average Joe catching the Games on television doesn’t get it.

For some athletes, this gear is necessary. I wear headbands to keep my bangs and sweat from getting in my face when doing burpees. I wear them in fun colors because I can. I don’t do it to be a diva. I wear wrist wraps for stability when I’m jerking 135lbs up over my head, not because I think they look cool.

Stop judging my spandex.

Okay, so judge this outfit all you want. That obnoxious color combo was chosen for comedic effect… not to ever venture out in public in. Then again, I just posted it on the internet… which reaches a lot farther than the 40ish people I’d have seen in one trip to the box. I guess the joke’s on me.


    • Thanks Aimee 🙂 Your post was great too! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who puts this much thought into my gym outfits…


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