Gym hygiene and etiquette – Part Two – BO and Sweat

How do you know that you sweat a lot? When the buddy that you’ve been clinching with for a few rounds, has prunes for fingers.
True story, but it brings us to today’s topic of discussion. Sweat. To be more precise, excessive sweat, and Body Odour (BO).


Two rounds after clinching with the sweat monster. KO by pruney fingers

Now that Spring has arrived, it`s time for some spring cleaning and part two of our JAI Hygiene series – you can read part one here. It goes into more detail about some of the topics covered in part one. How much is too much detail? Not enough, if you’re on the receiving end.

There’s no doubt that Muay Thai and sweating go hand-in-hand.
No problem, sweating is just your body`s cooling system working to keep you ventilated. Just keep a towel handy if you’re a sweater.  While it’s great that you’ve got proof of your hard work,  having your training partner’s hard work sprayed all over you is not fun with every punch and kick.

By towel, we don’t mean those squares of cotton that come together with your towel set in fancy hotels. No, using a corner of your t-shirt does not count either. For those of you who grab wads of toilet or tissue paper to mop yourself with here this: White bits of pulp allover your face look like a bad eczema rash, not to mention the fact that they don’t really do the job. A big thirsty towel works best, for efficiency and convenience. And it means you don’t have to go and wring it out at the sink every few rounds. Besides, slipping in a pool of sweat while executing an otherwise 10/10 roundhouse is not only humbling. It’s downright painful.

Rather than wringing out the clothes you’re wearing every break you get, why not bring extra tops or shorts to change into. Hey, Mariah and J.Lo make a costume change ever 10 minutes, and we’ve never heard anyone complain of their BO. Besides, we’re asking you to keep cool, not look picture perfect.


Meet your new training partner

On to Body Odour. Which may or not be a by-product of sweating. In large public places you can usually steer clear of it. In a confined area, for example a gym, we’ll compare it to say, multiple sets of burpees in class. You know it won’t actually do any long-term damage to you, but it feels like death at the time. Even though you can’t run out of the gym screaming, you really really want to avoid it.

BO is also a bit like having the X-Factor. As soon as you walk into the room, everyone notices. They try not to make it obvious, but you can tell by their body language, they’re on sensory alert.

And because there aren’t any visual queues – often the person in question doesn’t even know they have it. How exactly do you tell someone they smell without hurting their feelings? Take matters into your own hands and ask a near and dear friend, or play on the safe side and avoid smells by following our tips.

Fresh sweat doesn’t usually smell. If you’ve been sweating before your arrival – either due to working outdoors, with deadlines, or dealing with small children or animals, you probably should shower before training. It’s when that sweat has time to mingle with the naturally found bacteria on your skin that things start to get a little well… funky.

It may seem counterproductive to take a shower before starting to sweat again, but a quick 5 minute shower is a small price to pay for an hour of sweat smelling sweat. And believe us, your fellow students will thank you for it by not suddenly running for the hills when it’s time to partner up. Please note that a quick shower does not mean a soap-less shower. A bit of lather to the hot and sweaty regions of your body (as well as your feet) will do the job nicely.

To help you out, we have some heavy duty antiperspirants displayed prominently in the toilets. Feel free to use liberally, but don’t mistake it for the aftershave or EDT, which only makes matters more funky.

In Thailand, we’ve seen some of the foreign students take what they called a “French Shower”. This was essentially, after two hours of training, spraying themselves in a copious amount of strong smelling deodorant before crashing out to sleep. Masking the smell of BO, even with the most seductive or expensive fragrance does not serve any purpose other than to create an even more offensive smell. We’re sorry, but neither Tom Ford or Hermes can make rotten feet smell like flowers.

Stale sweat also lingers on clothes. So if your body is fresh, but the stuff on your back isn’t, you might as well be walking around wearing BO from your last training session? This goes for your training gear as well. We’ve seen guys pull out their unwashed wraps from inside their gloves, where they’ve been sitting since the last time they used them – with the stink to prove it – ewww.

Sometimes people ask us if we reuse our hand wraps. Well, would you reuse your socks after a long run in soggy sneakers? Cos we don’t know about you, but our hands sweat like crazy after an intense hour-long session. If you just have no time, at least, put them out in the sun to dry. Nothing like carrying around the smell of stinky feet on your hands for the next few hours. Same goes with ankle guards and oh my lord, shin guards. You may not be able to throw them into the washing machine, but a good stint in the sun and generous spray of disinfectant will make people happier receive a kick in the face from you.

Ok, rant over. It’s amazing how heated up someone can get, when they talk about a sticky subject. Time for a shower.

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